Youth-Led Initiative Focuses on Anti-Bullying

Speeches Shim

Friday, October 21, 2022
Youth activism is making a change
Global Communities for USAIDKosovo

The results of a 2020 USAID Up to Youth sponsored Community Mapping exercise with youth from Kacanik found that approximately 60 percent of respondents stated that bullying is one of the most troubling social problems in their municipality. Thanks to an initiative driven by high school students, this might be about to change.  

The anti-bullying initiative in Kaçanik/Kačanik initiated by local young people with USAID support has opened a new community conversation about the cruelty and dangers of bullying.  Floarsa Berisha, the leader of the “No Bullying” initiative, outlined how the problem festered due to a lack of public awareness within her age cohort.  “Youth don’t really talk about bullying much. They probably think it makes them look ‘weak’ if they say that their feelings have been hurt.” 

Floarsa and her fellow initiative members recognized that addressing bullying required bringing more attention to its prevalence and its harms. They worked with their school psychologist Lejla Koxha to organize a range of activities including awareness raising sessions for students in primary and high schools and the establishment of peer support groups as a “safe network” for discussion of bullying. 

“Most of them (youth) hesitate to talk about bullying, including myself. The sessions and the Peer Support Group I believe have at least raised some awareness among us that hurting others even jokingly, is not OK and must be stopped, ” said a member of the youth initiative. 

“In the past, only a few students would approach me in my office to talk about their troubles. Cases were not reported, and students often remained silent, accepting harassment, or bullying as a ‘society norm’ or as a joke among teens in a small community,” Lejla stated. It is encouraging that young people now have more resources designed and implemented by people their age. She measures the impact of the campaign by the number of visitors she now receives.  “Things have slowly started to change, especially in the last year. Students knock at my office and are willing to talk about their concerns more. I see this as a positive development.”    

To date, three youth-led initiatives have implemented activities that raise awareness of bullying in primary and high schools in the municipality of Kaçanik, Mitrovicë Jugore/Južna Mitrovica, and Vushtrri/Vučitrn. Youth-led initiatives are one component of USAID’s efforts to provide youth with skills and opportunities for youth-led solutions to the needs of communities in nine targeted municipalities.

Last updated: November 25, 2022

Share This Page