We Did It, Kosova!

USAID/Kosovo Mission Director Maureen Shauket leads the troops into battle
USAID/Kosovo Mission Director Maureen Shauket leads the troops into battle.
Victoria O’Hara USAID/Kosovo

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Jeremy Faber

On May 24, 2012 the people of Kosovo turned out in huge numbers - an estimated 70,000 volunteers for a nationwide environmental cleanup advertised as “Let’s Do It Kosova” Day. It was Kosovo’s first contribution to an annual one-day global cleanup organized by a consortium of NGO’s with the support of businesses, corporations and international donors.

In Kosovo, the volunteers were organized into teams and dispatched to different areas of the country to pick up the bottles and bags and general garbage that litter the landscape and ruin the aesthetics of public spaces. USAID was out there with them. About half of the USAID staff, (not counting drivers, who were needed to transport the volunteers) drove out to Lake Batllava just outside of Pristina. The lake winds through the surrounding hillsides, and it is a favorite get-away spot for people in the city.

When we arrived, the lakeshore, hillsides and surrounding woods were littered with the remains of thousands of picnics – cans, paper plates, dirty diapers, and the ubiquitous plastic bottles that are such blight on the Kosovo landscape. The USAID volunteers donned gloves and masks, picked up garbage bags and went to work.

The team fanned out through the woods and along the lakeshore. In steep spots, the staff linked arms to form a human chain down the hillsides to reach the garbage. The contractors who work to implement many of USAID’s Kosovo programs were out there as well, with their foreign and local staff.

What was especially impressive was that USAID galvanized the Green Clubs that it helps to organize at schools around Kosovo to join in the effort. Some 450 young environmental activists hit the streets, parks, playgrounds and forests for a great lesson in the value of civic participation.

The rain held off most of the day, which allowed the cleanup to proceed without too much interruption. As you can see from the attached photos, it was hard work, but the results were worth it. Check out the shoreline of Lake Batllava when the USAID staff called it a day!

Last updated: September 15, 2014

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