Building the Foundations of 4-H in Kosovo

July 14, 2017

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” –Sun Tzu

Çlirim Sheremeti is a youth delegate at the Global Summit this week who only found out about 4-H about nine months ago. In fact, he thought it was an organization unique to Finland. He ended 2016 exploring the long-standing Finnish 4-H Federation that has 3,000 clubs all over the Nordic country.

By February this year, he had established 4-H in war-torn Kosovo for the first time.

“I saw how 4-H prepares youngsters for working life and ensures they have the skills to be active citizens,” said Sheremeti. “I knew I needed to bring this opportunity back to my country.”

Almost six in 10 of Kosovo’s young people cannot find a job and half the population is aged under 28. Sheremeti represents a new generation born after the 1999 war ended. Tens of thousands of his peers are abandoning the Western Balkans in the face of rampant unemployment, corruption and low wages, looking for better prospects elsewhere in Europe or North America.

For those who don’t know much about Europe’s youngest nation, Sheremeti tells us that Kosovo is a wildly beautiful and inexpensive destination with delicious Balkan cuisine and a population that rivals Canada’s in politeness.

“During a time when we aren’t likely to receive the support we need from the government, I can find opportunity in the large number of young leaders who are eager to move forward,” said Sheremeti. “I see 4-H as part of the long-term solution.”

He has already integrated 4-H into two primary schools in the capital of Pristina, with 15 members in each club. He’s using program templates shared with him from 4-H Finland, with a focus on leadership, team building and exposure to different career options.

The interest in expanding 4-H into high schools and rural areas is overwhelming. Sheremeti has filed the paperwork with a government Ministry and 4-H is on-track to launch officially in Kosovo in the coming weeks. His goal at the Summit is to learn more from his peers about how he can scale up 4-H to meet the needs and demands back home.

“I wanted to study abroad now that I’ve just finished high school, but I don’t want to leave this incredible momentum building for 4-H in Kosovo.”

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