Centre for Equality and Liberty of the LGBT community in Kosova (CEL) was established in July, 2013 with the aim to empower the LGBT community in Kosovo.
CEL prevents the discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, raise awareness of the general population on LGBT rights and advocate for equal rights and nondiscrimination of the LGBT community in Kosovo in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Kosovo. CEL was created in response to the continued discrimination, stigmatization and prejudice of society against LGBT persons and the protection of LGBT people in Kosovo.
So far, CEL has sought to become a driving force for the creation of a progressive, diverse and tolerant society in Kosovo towards the LGBT community; a motivator for changing traditional social construction and a support system to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all. CEL has also sought to strengthen the legal framework for LGBT people in Kosovo, as well as to increase the participation of LGBT people in relevant international and regional mechanisms and projects and projects beneficial to the community and society at large. Despite being a very young organization, CEL has managed to become one of the leading organizations and driving forces for empowering the LGBTI community in Kosovo by promoting and protecting LGBTI rights and working towards the creation of an inclusive society that protects equality and recognizes and respects diversity.
CEL’s highest governing body is the board of directors which is composed of ﬁve members. In addition to the core staﬀ which is directly involved in the implementation of programs, CEL outsources a number of external consultants and has a wide network of LGBTI activists and volunteers that are directly involved in CEL’s programs and initiatives.
LGBTIQ+ communities and individuals are extremely diverse and face a number of shared and distinct health and social inclusion issues. Hence, CEL understands that members of the LGBTIQ+ communities may need support when facing a wide range of potentially overwhelming circumstances and emotions.
From issues surrounding coming out and discrimination to bullying, violence, anxiety, depression or other health concerns, abuse and other crises, CEL aspires to provide the support that LGBTIQ+ people need.
Thus, through the Support Program, CEL works to ensure that LGBTI+ people have access to a safe and non-judgmental space, are understood and have access to psychosocial support and legal aid services including: one-onone support, support groups individual counseling, family and allies support groups, drop-in discussion groups, free legal aid, shelter and other community resources. In addition to its range of activities CEL within the support program, CEL provides aﬃrming support and connects LGBTIQ+ people to build a support network for sharing experiences. Likewise, the support program acts as a pathway into many of CEL’s programs and initiatives.
All the way through the Capacity Building Program CEL, works with the LGBTIQ+ people to increase their skills, knowledge and self-conﬁdence. The capacity building program in the course of a transformative learning experience empowers LGBTIQ+ people. By oﬀering programs, coaching and mentoring, and engagement opportunities where they can acquire essential skills, including soft and leadership development skills, LGBTIQ+ people can become active contributors to vibrant LGBTIQ+ communities in Kosovo and elsewhere. Moreover, through empowerment of LGBTIQ+ people, we are able to develop communities and inﬂuence policy processes. CEL also works in partnership with others to build strong, cohesive and inﬂuential LGBTIQ+ communities. In addition to work with the LGBTIQ+ people, CEL conducts programs and works with other non-LGBTIQ+ youth and stakeholders to increase their understanding about LGBTI issues and rights. CEL trains social service providers, government agencies, law enforcement oﬃcials, and others to help them better serve the diverse LGBTIQ+ people.
The Advocacy and Activism program highlights eﬀorts across country to educate, train, challenge and inspire citizens of all genders to grow as compassionate voices for change and supporters for the LGBTIQ+ communities. By mentoring and developing a new generation of LGBTIQ+ activists, we are strengthening the LGBTIQ+ movement while we educate the public about LGBTIQ+ issues, mobilize communities, advance policy initiatives and laws, and work with political leaders and decision-makers throughout Kosovo to improve the legal framework, promote equality and justice for LGBTIQ+ people.
Through its work in advocacy and policy making processes, CEL particularly seeks to make LGBTIQ+ people voices heard and play key role in shaping and inﬂuencing policies and laws that aﬀect them. In this frame, CEL works and collaborates with relevant institutions and stakeholders to ensure that all LGBTIQ+ people rights are protected so that LGBTIQ+ people can lead meaningful lives.
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