Women in the Yugoslav successor states provide new leadership in grassroots initiatives for peace, human rights, refugee assistance, democracy, and sustainable development amid wrenching ethnic conflict, war and economic dislocation. The STAR Project of Delphi International was formed to support this new network of independent women whose leadership will be central to future reconciliation and democracy in the region.
Under a three year cooperative agreement with the US Agency for International Development, the STAR project builds working partnerships with organizations in Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Macedonia. Technical assistance and training is offered in four areas: conflict resolution, to train women who will work within organizations, and at the community and the regional levels; communications, through electronic mail and the strategic use of radio, print media and television for public policy advocacy; micro-enterprise development, to foster economic self-sufficiency for women and NGOs through small business development; and, women's health, to encourage public awareness and advocacy on a broad range of women's health issues. A small subgrants program will support pilot projects in each of the three countries for each of these areas.
The STAR project is based on the principle that the most fundamental democratic experience is the formation of a non-governmental organization. Links among groups with similar interests and peaceful interaction with those of different viewpoints gradually help to build the infrastructure for democracy. STAR's technical assistance, training and resources are available to women leaders and women's groups in the region that demonstrate a commitment to and a record of working across state and ethnic lines. STAR helps to link these groups with women's organizations in the US and worldwide. The experience of these women from the former Yugoslav republics in conflict resolution and in rebuilding shattered communities offers priceless lessons that transcend all borders.
The vision for the STAR project grew out of a meeting in February, 1994 of women leaders from the Yugoslav successor states and their US counterparts. Participants included the Zagreb Women's Lobby in Croatia, Medica Zenica in Bosnia, The League of Albanian Women and Women's Union in Macedonia, Mikya in Kosova and Women in Black in Serbia. These and a number of other groups which advocate for the status and advancement of women are now involved in the STAR project.
STAR is co-directed by Jill Benderly and Lael Stegall. Ms. Benderly, an area specialist and speaker of regional languages, is the STAR field director in Zagreb. Ms. Stegall is based in Washington, D.C. along with Claudia Crawford, Delphi International's manager of the STAR project. With a small group of US and regionally-based consultants, the team brings to the project long experience in nonprofit group management, conflict resolution, philanthropy, and social change work in multicultural communities.
For additional information, contact: Claudia Crawford, Project Manager Tel: (202) 898-0950/Fax: (202) 842-0885 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jill Benderly, Field Director
Tel: (385) 1-413-848/Fax: (385) 1-413-490