Activities and Trainings
The year 2011 marks the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV).
IYV+10 was launched at UN Headquarters New York on 5 December 2010. The overall goal of marking IYV+10 is focused on promoting greater global recognition of the contribution of volunteerism to society and to achieving peace and development. UNV is designated as the focal point for the 10th anniversary.
To launch the IYV+10 activities in Albania, UNV organized two trainings aiming at inspiring and raising the capacity of young people, organizations and institutions to engage and organize volunteer activities in support of youth and community issues. Both trainings involved youth leaders, community workers, local, national, and international organizations, local government officials/representatives, volunteer involving organizations, journalists, and experts.
- “Volunteering for Environment Protection” in Berat on 22 February 2011. This activity was organized in cooperation with the Municipality of Berat and the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV).
- “Volunteering to prevent dependencies, drugs (and not only) among young people”, in Tirana, on 28 February 2011. The activity was implemented in cooperation with Community Emanuel Albania organization.
“Youth 4 Action” Training
"Youth for Action" a four-day training on capacity building for volunteers and community workers to competently work with youth and deal with ambiguous situations. The activity was a partnership between Tamam Albania, Office of the Council of Europe in Tirana, and UNV. The training was held on 20 – 23 October 2010 and its objectives included: raise awareness and capacity on volunteerism promotion; prepare participants with skills and abilities to competently tackle challenges in their work with youth and effectively work in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-faith communities; establish a pool of expert-volunteers able to organize and implement projects/volunteer activities. 23 participants from different youth and volunteer involving organizations attended the training. Ms. Ingrid Charlotte Baken, UNV Programme Officer opened the activity highlighting the role and importance of volunteerism and youth participation in development. Mr. Olsi Dekovi, Director of the Office of the Council of Europe in Albania presented the priorities of the Council of Europe in the youth field. The training was conducted by four trainers from different countries: Blerina Gjeka from UNV Albania, Alma Cullhaj, TAMAM Albania president and trainer, Ryan Vidos and Brett Gravlin from Creative Learning. A special guest Mr. Simon Walker PHD, UN Human Rights Adviser in Albania was invited to deliver a presentation on Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination in Albania. For more information and the agenda of the training click here.
Training “Volunteering for the Environment” in Korca
Korca, on 8 December 2010, UNV in cooperation with U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers and World Vision branch of Korca organized a training on volunteerism and environment protection. Around 40 participants from different NGOs, Public Institutions and the Media attended the training. Discussions, debates, role plays and work is small groups were some of the activities of the training which contributed to raise awareness on volunteerism and its individual, social and economic benefits. Another result of the training was related to the possibility of raising volunteer campaigns on environment protection. Presentations, exercises and debates were organized related to climate change and environment protection in the everyday life and as part of our work. For more information, please click here.
Human Rights in Practice Training
A four day training course on Human Rights in Practice was organized on 10-12 November 2010, in Tirana, Albania. The training was a cooperation between UNV and JEF Albania. It aimed at developing capacity on human rights and dealing with ambiguous situations in their youth work. 26 youth workers, NGOs, volunteers, human rights activists, state institutions and community workers from different youth NGOs attended the training. The results of the training, which was delivered by two trainers Ms. Paola Bortini as the main trainer, and Ms. Blerina Gjeka, from UNV Albania, were: Prepared participants with skills and abilities to effectively tackle challenges, intolerance, discrimination and other human rights issues in their work with youth; Raised participants’ capacity in working with vulnerable groups and in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-faith communities; Enabled participants to advocate and act as multipliers of Human Rights education activities; Facilitation of networking and further cooperation between participants and their organizations for human rights education. For more information and the agenda of the training, please click here.
“Life Skills and Creative Learning” Trainings
A series of trainings on Life Skills are being organized in Marqinet Community with youngsters and volunteers from this community and Tamam Albania organization. This is an ongoing cooperation between UNV and Tamam Albania starting from October 2010. The training sessions include different topics: Decision making skills, Communication skills, Resisting peer presure and dealing with conflict, Drug abuse prevention, etc. The methodology of these trainings are based on the principles of Non Formal Education and different types of activities and creative learning exercises are organized in order to support participants in raising awareness, building capacity and being able to multiply these activities in their reality, school and community.
Workshop “Promoting Volunteerism through Positive Practices”
UNV in cooperation with Sanus and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports organized a workshop on volunteerism development through the exchange and discussion of best practices in this field. The workshop took place in Tirana, on 20 May 2010 and aimed to exchange experience among NGOs, State institutions, University students on the best volunteer practices implemented and lessons learned from practice. Different guests, participants and volunteers discussed the main features and benefits of volunteerism as well as challenges and opportunities by providing successful examples and best practices. Ms. Ingrid Charlotte Baken, UNV Programme Officer highlighted the importance of the establishment of a legal and social infrastructure in support of volunteerism in Albania. For more information, please click here.
Corporate/Private Sector Programme in Albania (CPS Missions 2010)
UNV continued the support of Small and Medium Businesses, NGOs and Public Institutions this year through its CPS programme. This scheme offered experts from different fields: tourism development, economics, management, human rights, education, agriculture, urban planning, food industry, and quarry and mine development providing support and advice in short term missions of one to two weeks. These missions are financially supported by the Italian Government. The beneficiaries of this year were the following: Municipality of Permet, Geri S.R.L., Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tirana, JEF Albania, Alboem, Centre of Agriculture Services in Elbasan, Directorate of Gjirokastra Museum, GMN Sh.P.K., Velecik-Milk S.R. L., Daullja ShPK., Acquila Kelmend Sh.P.K. and the Albanian Society for all Ages – ASAG. We would like to thank in particular our partner Italian partner organizations Voluntari Seniores Profesionali Italia (VSP) and Seniores Italia for their support and cooperation, as well as all the volunteers who contributed with their knowledge and expertise: Ms. Ilaria Mignani, Ms. Paola Bortini, Mr. Vittorio Baracca, Mr. Renzo Grimaldi, Mr. Paolo Mosca, Mr. Roberto Belluci, Mr. Vincenzo Pocasi, Mr. Arrigo Borin, Mr. Pietro Neotti, Mr. Franco Ballone, Mr. Gianmaria Scapin, Mr. Mauro Cavani, and Mr. Fulvio Sussig.
"Empowering Youth through Volunteerism" project (2009 – 2010)
Based on its findings and recommendations of a research study conducted by UNV in 2009 UNV in cooperation with World Vision, Peace Corps Volunteers, CAAP and Change Begins with you Movement implemented the “Empowering Youth through Volunteerism” Project. The project targeted youth groups and youth organizations in remote, isolated and rural areas in the country: Shkodra, Lezha and Kurbin. The recommendations of the study included among other suggestions, the preparation of educational tools and implementation of activities to help not only promote volunteerism (which suffers from negative connotations derived from the communist dictatorship period when volunteerism was forced, often applied in extremely difficult conditions and misused to punish those against the regime); but also build capacity in organizing community activities and projects in order to support development and youth participation. However, the research also shows that 83% of Albanian Youth would be enthusiastic to Volunteer, and due to promotion of Volunteerism among Youth, creating Volunteer positions and ensuring capacity building and other resources for Volunteers, the above mentioned challenges could be overcome and Youth participation in civil society due to Volunteerism can be increased. In this light the project supported ten youth groups and NGOs from the target areas with a series of trainings and small grants to implement community volunteer projects at local level. A Training Manual on Volunteerism for Development was prepared by UNV Albania, and the main chapters of this manual were piloted in these trainings, adopting it to the needs and ideas of the trainees and their context. Participants were also provided with written and referring materials from this Manual, and with templates and sample forms for projects, action plans, needs assessment, working with the media, budget forms and narrative reports which are part of this manual.
Empowering Vulnerable Communities in Albania
Many Roma and Egyptians living in Albania are politically, socially and economically marginalized. It is estimated that as much as 80% of the Roma community live below the poverty line. For these vulnerable communities, poverty is multidimensional, extreme and chronic. Drawing upon the organizations strength in community empowerment and mobilization, UNV Albania is working with UNDP, UNRC, Regional Environmental Center, Terre des Hommes, Tirana Legal Aid Services, Albanian Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross and local and national Government to respond to the needs of these minority groups. The current two year project “Empowering the Vulnerable Communities of Albania: Support to the Implementation of the National Strategy for Improving Roma Living Conditions” runs from April 2008 to April 2010 and has a budget of 846,438 US Dollars. The programme is supporting the Government of Albania in the implementation of the National Strategy for Improving Roma Living Conditions and its inclusion within the region wide Decade of Roma Inclusion (2005-2015). Implemented in the regions of Tirana, Elbasan and Fier, this project is the pre-cursor to the joint One UN programme that will partner UNV and UNDP with UNHCR, UNFPA and UNICEF.
The current project aims to empower vulnerable communities in Albania to become active citizens and works with local authorities and the communities themselves to improve basic service delivery and local living conditions. UNV volunteers are sharing their knowledge and expertise as Local Community Development Officers and are partnered with Community Exchange Workers in each of our three project areas. The UNV team is working with local community groups, who will coordinate activities on the ground in the areas of civil registration (to ensure access to social services) and community infrastructure development. This will give individuals the opportunity to become change makers within their own communities, making ‘in kind’ voluntary contributions towards the community’s goals. To learn more about the UNDP/UNV project, you can download the project document and related background information here
To learn more about the One UN joint programme, visit the One UN Albania website hereFor more information contact Ingrid Charlotte Baken, UNV Programme Officer: email@example.com
Partnering Private Sector Skills to Development Needs
The Corporate/Private Sector Programme gives current and retired management executives and professionals the opportunity to pass on their invaluable expertise in the service of national development in Albania. Engaged as volunteers under the programme, individuals provide short-term advisory services to UNV clients, which include small to medium scale enterprises, trade and industry groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as national policy makers and institutions working to strengthen private sector development.
The programme aims to create jobs, raise production efficiency, support socio-economic growth, promote environmental protection, introduce Information and Communication Technology (ICT) within the private sector and aid national market expansion. Volunteers serving as part of this scheme are recruited from an extensive network of private sector partners, professional and retiree associations. They bring with them a wide range of skills and technical expertise in areas such as: project planning; engineering; financial management; industrial design; product development; food processing; marketing; quality control; information and communication technology (ICT); and waste management. Volunteer advisory missions last from between one to two weeks up to a maximum of three months. In general, their mission expenses (airfare, insurance, accommodation and visa) are covered by the sponsoring companies or organization. Clients cover local transportation costs and interpretation fees if needed. Most volunteers that come to Albania as part of the initiative are Italian nationals recruited via the Italian-based organisation Volontari Senior Professionali (VSP). These volunteers are retired professionals fully-funded by the Government of Italy.
Promoting Youth Volunteerism in the Model UN Programme
Model UN is a participatory and informative method for people of all ages and backgrounds to learn more about global issues and the role and functions of the United Nations. Students participating in the 2008 Model UN programme in Albania will take part in a local volunteer activity. UNV will work with participating schools to help them define a small-scale volunteer project in their school or community. In this way, UNV hopes to promote the values of volunteerism among students, and raise awareness of the benefits of civic engagement as a healthy source of effective development.The Model UN programme provides an authentic simulation of the activities of a UN body such as the General Assembly and its committees or the Security Council or other body. Participants assume the roles of diplomatic representatives to the UN and are faced with the challenging and stimulating task of working on items from the UN system’s vast agenda. Through Model UN, youth have the opportunity to work together and widen their views and minds as they, through their assumed roles, approach problems from alternative angles. The Model UN therefore provides an opportunity to contribute towards enhanced understanding and skills in peace-building, championing the crucial ideals of human rights and equality in society.
To read more about the programme, why not read the latest Model UN Newsletter at the UNDP website?
Past UNV Activities
Fostering Regional Confidence through Community Mobilization
The UNDP/UNV project Regional Integration through Volunteers Exchanges for Reconciliation in South East Europe successfully fostered regional integration, social cohesion and poverty reduction through the promotion of volunteerism and community mobilization. The initiative, which ran from 2005 to 2007 made a positive contribution towards building regional confidence and connected people and governments throughout the Balkans following the recent social, political and economic upheavals. Through regional volunteer exchanges UNV was able to strengthen communication networks that promote volunteerism and community mobilization as an invaluable tool in sustainable local development. Volunteers who joined the initiative developed the organizational and coordination capacity of local community groups, providing them with the tools to drive their own development. While responding to local needs the initiative built the capacity of implementing partner organizations within which the volunteers served, to identify, mobilize, manage and retain a large volunteer workforce. In addition, the project worked to raise the profile and visibility of the partner organizations. At the initiatives conclusion in 2007, UNV Albania was proud to have strengthened the capacities of volunteer involving organizations that were fully recognized nationally for their invaluable contribution towards civil society development through community mobilization and the skillful management of volunteers. The project was designed and implemented by UNDP/UNV in close partnership with European Union (EU)/European Voluntary Service (EVS), Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO), OneWorld and South Eastern European Youth Network (SEEYN).
Promoting Environmental Awareness in Albania through Volunteerism
The UNV/Regional Environmental Center (REC) project Promoting MDG 7 principles in Albania through Awareness and Volunteerism ran from 2005 to 2007. The initiative raised awareness of the need for sustainable development in order to safeguard environmental resources, as stated in the seventh of the Millennium Development Goals.This entailed ensuring a better understanding of the principles of sustainable development both regionally and locally by promoting the interconnected relationship between communities and their natural environment. The project worked with high schools around the country to promote the natural environment and the Millennium Development Goals. Students were involved in preparing posters and writing essays inspired by the MDG 7 principles, calling for environmentally sustainable development. They also took part in tree planting ceremonies within their local communities. Along with ensuring greater understanding of environmental issues, the project held a series of local forums throughout the country to ensure that sustainable development is integrated into regional and local level development planning. This involved working with a range of local stakeholders including NGOs, local authorities and research institutions. During this process some regions placed a specific focus upon ecotourism planning that sought to both make effective use of zones of particular natural beauty and contribute towards regional economic growth.
UNV Support to Local Governance Programme in Albania
Between 2002 and 2004 UNV partnered with UNDP's Local Governance Programme to integrate volunteerism within local development planning. Working in partnership with local government, UNV directly supported the project by building the capacity of community based organizations and advising local government on policy development. A central theme running throughout this project was promoting the integral role that volunteerism plays in social mobilization practices. UNV supported the ongoing process of decentralization and democratization in Albania with a 458.696 US Dollars pledge to the UNDP Local Governance Programme. By partnering with the programme, UNV directly supported the process of decentralization and was ideally placed to integrate volunteerism into local development planning. During the project, 26 UNV volunteers, 17 national and 9 international, served in some of the poorest communes and municipalities in the regions of Kukes, Gjirokaster and Fier. Supporting greater transparency and participatory methods of development planning, UNV volunteers facilitated dialogue between local and regional government in the sharing of information, skills and best practices. In all, 126 community based organizations were set up to support local development projects, mainly in the construction of local infrastructure and healthcare services.