Children with coloring books

Children were enthusiastic upon receiving the coloring books during the Court Open Day visit at the Skenderaj/Srbica Municipal Court. Photo credit: Mustafa Komoni, NCSC.

Submitted by Xheraldina Cernobregu, USAID/Kosovo

Children in Kosovo are now Learning About Justice thanks to over 17,000 coloring books that have been distributed to primary schools in rural and urban Kosovo since the project’s launch in June 2010. The coloring books, published with USAID support, have been in high demand throughout the country.

“Learning About Justice” coloring books are a new approach for teaching students about the judicial system, government institutions, judges, and citizens’ responsibilities. The coloring books include pictures of the people who work in the judicial system, including a judge and a policeman, each with a brief caption describing their jobs. Other illustrations describe individual rights and civic duties, such as helping to keep your neighborhood clean.

The coloring books are printed in Albanian, Serbian, and Turkish languages and were originally distributed in the municipalities where USAID is establishing Model Courts. In response to additional requests, “Learning about Justice” coloring books have been distributed throughout Kosovo, expanding the reach and impact of the program.

Individual Americans have become involved in this project as well. In addition to USAID providing support for the coloring books, more than 500 supporters in the United States have made private donations of nearly 7,500 boxes of crayons to accompany the books and to strengthen the partnership between the courts, schools, and USAID. Each crayon set is labeled with the American flag and the following message of support: “These crayons are a gift from friends in the U.S. who support your learning of the justice system and the law. Color your dreams, for as you dream, so you will become.”

The “call for crayons” was advertised online through social networks and the Kosovo Justice Support Program. The program is continuing the call for crayons to support the book activity as the Model Courts Program expands.

Rule of law is key to Kosovo’s further development and USAID is working to address the issues that are hindering that development.  Other projects include improving court administration, case backlog reduction,  and the establishment of ten Model Courts, which in the long term will serve as models for the rest of the judicial sector. All these efforts will help increase public awareness and public’s trust in the rule of law.