U.S. Ambassador Visits MFK, Underscores Support for MCC-backed Activities in Kosovo
On July 19th, U.S. Ambassador Philip S. Kosnett and Deputy Chief of Mission Nicholas Giacobbe visited Millennium Foundation Kosovo (MFK) headquarters to learn more about ongoing MFK initiatives and meet with several women beneficiaries representing diverse Kosovo communities. During the visit, Ambassador Kosnett was briefed on MFK’s steady progress under the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Threshold Program.
While at MFK, Ambassador Kosnett expressed his full support for MFK pilot projects that will accelerate Kosovo’s transition to sustainable and renewable energy sources, address climate change, promote gender and social inclusion, and support good governance. Ambassador Kosnett congratulated MFK CEO Petrit Selimi and his team on their resiliency and efficacy over the past year, and met two women entrepreneur recipients of MFK’s Women in Energy grants program. In total, approximately 200 women-owned businesses have already received grants through Women in Energy activities.
Sarah Olmstead, MCC Country Director for Kosovo, highlighted the excellent cooperation in recent years between MCC and MFK teams in implementing complex and innovative programs. Olmstead also indicated that the successful progression of the Threshold Program has helped Kosovo in qualifying for potential greater support from MCC in the form of a Compact agreement, which is currently being negotiated between the two governments.
MFK CEO Petrit Selimi thanked the Ambassador for his support, highlighting that “MFK is now at the peak of its implementation of the projects. Only a year is left of the extended Threshold Agreement and we look forward to concluding projects that will enable Kosovo institutions to understand the best ways to reach energy efficiency and support transparent governance.”
During his visit, Ambassador Kosnett talked with entrepreneurs Aida Kumnova and Ivana Grbic. Both expressed their gratitude to MCC and MFK for the technical assistance and financial support from the Women in Energy Entrepreneurs program, which has allowed them to make their businesses more energy efficient. Ms. Kumnova and Ms. Grbic are confident that MFK’s support will enable them to expand their operations.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, MFK has continued with its activities. To date, thanks to the support of the U.S. Government, these are some of the activities MFK has implemented or is currently implementing:
- 26 young women received their degrees in energy-related fields after studying for two years in the U.S.
- Over 100 women interns have started or will shortly begin their engagements with leading companies and organizations in the Kosovo energy sector.
- Approximately 200 women-owned businesses have already been awarded financial and technical support as part of MFK’s Women in Energy Program, with more applicants currently being evaluated.
- Works have been initiated for the retrofitting of up to 2000 houses and 25 Multi-Apartment buildings as part of the “Subsidies for Energy Efficiency in Kosovo-SEEK” Program
- Air Quality Monitoring Stations throughout Kosovo have been updated with new hardware and software so that they deliver real-time data to citizens, news agencies, and institutions.
- 100 girls from Kosovo, the broader region, and the U.S. have participated in the first ever STEM summer camp in Kosovo: WiSciKosovo.
- Over $1 million in grants has been disbursed to civil society and private sector organizations for innovative open data ideas to achieve greater government transparency through the DigData Open Data Challenge.