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Partners Albania Center for Change and Conflict Management QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER

EDITION NO. 51

TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

In this number:

“Green Ideas 2013” Competition page 1

New ProjectsMaking Labor Market Work for Young People in Albania - Balkan Civil Society Acquis – Strengthening the Advocacy and Monitoring Potential and Capacities of CSOs page 2 Ongoing Projects -Increase Citizen Participation in Policy Making and Implementation

MARCH 2013

“Green Ideas 2013” Competition

In frame of its commitment to promote philanthropy in Albania, an initiative started in 2011 with the support of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Partners Albania organized on 2-3 April in Tirana, the Green Ideas 2013 national competition. The Green Ideas competition aims that civil society organizations, social enterprises and small business ventures in country to be involved in identification, selection, and prioritization related to sustainable environmental development through application of market competitive innovative green ideas.

-Increased Representation of Women from Rural Areas in the Political and Social Life -Cities without Corruption-Cities with a Future -Enhance the Transparency and Accountability of E-public Procurement -Promotion and Development of Corporate Social Responsibility in Albania -Role of Civil Society and Local government to Increase Social Cohesion in Albania and Montenegro page 2-7

PA Director Juliana Hoxha with the three winners of the Green Ideas 2013 competition and the evaluation panel members

During the two days of the Competition, fifteen finalists selected from the first phase presented their project-ideas before the panel of experts from the field of environment, justice, business and economic development. The organization of the competition was result of a long process which started in February with the launching of the Open Call for Green Ideas. During the five weeks the Call remained opened, Partners Albania organized several orientation workshops with interested applicants throughout the country explaining the criteria and providing useful information on similar initiatives successfully implemented in other countries. The three winning ideas resulted from the competition were: “Furniture and recycled objects” implemented by a small business run by Pezana Rexha, architect. The project consists in production of innovative and modern furniture through recycling wooden pallets which are used for the transportation of bricks and other building materials; and using cans, bottles and other glass objects for decoration items, lighting bulbs etc. “The collection and processing of used oil from Albanian restaurants” implemented by Soloil Albania. The project idea consists in collection of used oil from the Albanian restaurants and sending it as raw material for the manufacturers of biodiesel, perfumes and soaps. “From garbage to value” implemented by Gjirokastra Foundation. The project will consist in the development and manufacture of souvenirs and other products by using recycled materials, in one of the monument of culture buildings in Gjirokastra. Each of the winning ideas will be financially supported in the amount of 1,000,000 ALL. The three winning ideas will participate in the regional competition organized by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Partners Albania in July 2013. The Green Ideas initiative is supported by Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Balkan Trust for Democracy, Credins Bank and Albanian Mobile Communication.

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Meanwhile, since several months continues the implementation of Albanian Recycling Community project, one of the wining projects in the regional competition of green ideas organized in July 2012 in Montenegro. This project is funded by Partners Albania through Rockefeller Brothers Fund. As part of the project, it is already established the infrastructure for the production and maintenance of transportation bicycles, recycling bins for offices and for external environments. About 20 young people from Roma community but not only, are trained and employed in the recycling bin service center and bicycle transportation. The produced bins are distributed in offices, businesses and institutions. Employees are paid from the income generated by this social enterprise. The initiative is strongly promoted through educational, social and recreational activities, social networks, through distribution of leaflets, display of recycling bins in public places, distribution of an electronic newsletter, etc. The project is working on the establishment of a long-term cooperation with the Tirana Municipality, on creating a waste recycling infrastructure in Tirana.

NEW PROJECTS

Partners Albania together with HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation is partner in implementing the new Making Labor Market Work for Young People in Albania project, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The project’s overall objective is to promote job opportunities for young women and men by focusing on stimulation of growth in selected and relevant economic sectors.

The inception phase started on March 2013 and will last for six months, followed by a four year implementation phase. One of the first activities of the project was the training organized on 18-20 March on M4P – a strategic framework for aid effectiveness, An introduction to the ‘Making Markets Work for the Poor’ approach, with participation of project staff and other stakeholders.

Strengthening the Advocacy and Monitoring Potential and Capacities of CSOs

Partners Albania, Center for Change and Conflict Management and Institute for Democracy and Mediation are implementing in Albania the project “Balkan Civil Society Acquis – Strengthening the Advocacy and Monitoring Potential and Capacities of CSOs”. The project is funded through Partnership Programme for Civil Society Organizations of the European Union and is implemented in eight Western Balkan countries including Turkey under the coordination of Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) . This two-year project aims to influence European and national policies towards more enabling environment for civil society development in order to ensure sustainable and functioning democracies in the Balkans. Main activities of the project will be research, monitoring, advocacy, grant-making, capacity-building, information-sharing etc. In Albania, the initiative was launched in a joint conference of IDM and Partners Albania, organized in 12 March 2013 in Tirana. Partners Albania is the leading organization in Albania for the component of monitoring the enabling environment for civil society, using the “Matrix on Monitoring the Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development”, an instrument designed by the BCSDN members with the assistance of ECNL. It will be used by all partner countries in a joint effort to monitor and analyze the enabling environment for CSO at country and regional level. The evaluation of the operating environment will focus on two components: the legal environment and the practical side of its implementation. The monitoring effort is supported by Olof Palme Center, through SIDA funding as part of the project Increase Citizen Participation in Policy Making and Implementation, implemented since 2012 which will continue this year with various advocacy activities. As a new instrument, Partners Albania in the first quarter focused on building an awareness around the Matrix by organizing four regional workshops in Durrës, Vlorë, Shkodër and Korcë with the participation of local CSOs and local government representatives. Following activities will include capacity building programs and CSO sector activities advocating for improvements of their operating environment at local and central level based on the findings of the biannual monitoring effort.

Launching event of the project in Tirana. From right to left: Juliana Hoxha,Partners Albania Director, Gjergji Vurmo-Program Director at IDM, Tanja Hafner Ademi-Executive Director of BCSDN, Lisa Fredriksson-Counsellor, Head of Swedish Development Cooperation in Albania.

Juliana Hoxha, PA Director during the introduction of Matrix in Durrës Juliana Hoxha, PA Director during the introduction of Matrix in Shkodër

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Making Labor Market Work for Young People in Albania


ONGOING PROJECTS Increasing Representation of Women from Rural Areas in Social and Political Life During January - March 2013, the project “Increasing the representation of women from rural areas in social and political life” has continued with the establishment of Women Leaders Forum, a core group of 24 active women and girls from 24 communes (2 per Qark). The members of the Forum gathered in a round table on January 31, 2013 in Tirana, where they met each other and committed to actively participate in the Forum during the timeframe of the project and beyond.

Four coaching sessions have been organized so far, respectively in Durrës on February 12-13, focused on women participation and representation in decision making structures; in Shkodër on February 27-28, focused on mechanisms of participations in local decision making; in Tirana on March 12-13 focused on advocacy and lobbying and in Berati on March 28-29, focused on public relations and communication with media. In addition to the information and knowledge provided by the experts on the above issues, the Forum members have been assisted in preparing the speech they will keep during the meetings with the community in the LGs they represent, as well as in drafting the final Chart document.

Parallel with the coaching sessions, started the Community Meetings to promote the members of the Forum and to motivate other women to get involved in political and social life. The first meeting took place in Gjergjan commune (in Elbasani) where Lumturie Hoxha, the Mayor of Gjergjan, the only woman at the head of a commune in Albania shared with participants her experience as leader. Other meetings were organized in the communes of Kashar and Ndroq in Tirana, and Katundi i Ri and Xhafzotaj in Durrës. During the community meetings of Forum of Women Leaders’ members in Gjergjan, Kashar and Ndroq

Lumturie Hoxha, Mayor of Gjergjan commune

Irena Bendo, Responsible of Legal Department in Kashar commune

Erjeta Alhysa, Deputy Mayor of Ndroq commune

These activities are in framework of the project “Increasing the representation of women from rural areas in social and political life”, implemented by Partners Albania in partnership with the Albanian Association of Communes, and funded by the European Union under the Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).

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Following the Forum creation, started the work for drafting of the Chart for Equal Gender Representation in Local Decision-making, through coaching sessions provided by the project experts.


Cities without Corruption – Cities with a Future Kucova Municipality, with a strategic plan for preventing and treating corruption

On February 26, 2013 the Municipal Council of Kucova Municipality approved with majority of votes, the “Strategic Plan for preventing and treating corruption, through increased Integrity, Efficiency and Accountability, 2013-2015”. The Strategic Plan comes as a result of a one-year work of Partners Albania’ Anticorruption Practitioners with Kucova Municipality staff, through the application of an innovative anticorruption methodology, for the first time in Albania.

Under Partners Albania facilitation, involved in the process were key stakeholders from the municipality as the Mayor, the ViceMayor, the Chairman of the Municipal Council, managers and municipality staff, and outside stakeholders who diagnosed analytically their organization vulnerability to corruption and acted as the creators of its future by developing a vision, strategic objectives and concrete action plans to cure and prevent corruption in their municipality.

During the Municipal Council Meeting in Kucova where the Anticorruption Strategy was approved

The work in Rubik and Lezha

In the municipalities of Lezha and Rubik the process has continued with training workshops for the Guiding Coalitions on Participatory Governance, and with drafting and setting objectives of the anticorruption strategy and plan of action. The final Strategy document in these municipalities is planned to be presented to the Municipal Council for approval by September 2013. This initiative is made possible with the financial support of the World Bank through FPDL-Partners Romania, and the British Embassy in Tirana.

The Mayor of Rubik Gjok Vukaj and other officials from this municipality working to draft the Anticorruption Strategy

Deputy Mayor of Rubik, Frederik Përdoçi and directors of municipality departments along with city council members discussing on the activities to be implemented in framework of the Strategy

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This approach started by focusing on the organization vulnerability to corruption, considering it a symptom of its malfunctioning and going beyond, addressing corruption by enhancing local governments integrity, transparency and accountability, the very principles on which sustainable urban development relies. The process followed the strategic planning steps, from diagnosis till solutions elaboration and implementation, aiming to change corrupt organizational systems rather than individuals.


Enhance the Transparency and Accountability of E-public Procurement

For one year, since April 2012, Partners Albania monitored on daily basis the website of Public Procurement Agency and all announcements published by the three municipalities in this website and in the public procurement bulletin. Monthly, biannually and an annual report on the monitoring results, were shared with interested stakeholders and are also available at PA office for access from all interested institutions. PA staff monitored several opening and evaluation processes at each of the municipalities, in order to see the work of the commission in place. In addition, PA conducted several meetings and interviews with representatives of procurement units and procurement commissions in each municipality to discuss the implementation of the public e-procurement and some of the challenges faced during the process. For several months, Partners Albania monitoring effort followed with a survey conducted through interviews with about 120 economic operators in the three target municipalities, to assess their satisfaction with the system and e-procurement procedures and application for public tenders. The economic operators surveyed, had applied in tenders announced by the three targeted municipalities during 2011-2012. In addition to the face to face interviews, focus group meetings were organized to discuss more

Arjola Agolli, PA Director of Programs during a focus group meeting with economic operators in Lezha

in depth issues resulted from their experience in e-procurement. Some of the issues raised by the economic operators include: - lack of floor prices, - inability to see the offers and know the competitors / winners in such a competitive online procedure, - inability to attend the tender opening procedure, - specific criteria set to favor certain companies, - specific criteria and exaggerated requirements, - announcement of certain procedures and conduction of tenders without funds being available yet, - cancellations of tenders, - fees for appeals, - lack of trust and fear of prejudice from the Contracting Authority in case of appeal, - bidding with very low prices (below cost, especially in the Municipality of Elbasan, etc.) The information gathered from economic operators will be part of the Survey Report that will be available at PA website shortly. Partners Albania organized local workshops in Lezha, Elbasani and Tirana with representatives of local government, economic operators and media, to share the survey findings. A national round table where will be invited all relevant stakeholders as businesses, PPA, local and central government, CSOs, media etc. will be organized shortly, to discuss the public procurement procedures and legislation, as well as the survey report results and recommendations from the monitoring in the three pilot LG units. This one year initiative was made possible through the support of the British Embassy in Tirana.

During the local workshop in Lezha

During the local workshop in Elbasan During the local workshop in Tirana

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Aiming good governance, increase of efficiency of public procurement through increase of transparency and accountability, Partners Albania undertook in 2012 an initiative to monitor the implementation of Public Procurement Law and procurement procedures for public tenders in municipalities of Tirana, Elbasani and Lezha.


Promotion and Development of Corporate Social Responsibility A team from Partners Albania and officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy participated in a study visit in Macedonia, on Corporate Social Responsibility. The purpose of the study visit was to provide Partners Albania staff and the officials from public structures with information on socially responsible practices of various institutions and companies in Macedonia. The visit was organized by the partner organization in Macedonia, Konekt, a very well known organization working in the CSR and philanthropy.

TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

This visit was a great share of experiences and networking opportunity, in our efforts to development and promotion of CSR in Albania. The study visit cases will be included in a publication of CSR best practices from the region that Partners Albania is working on currently.

Meeting at the Ministry of Economy Meeting with EVN, the company responsible on power distribution in Macedonia

Meeting with “Open Windows”, an NGO assisting people with disability Visit at Pharmachem, a SME

At Konekt office, discussing about CSR

Visit at Titan Group Meeting with the American Chamber of Commerce in Macedonia

Meantime, Partners Albania has continued to organize awareness activities and training programs on CSR issue with different target groups and stakeholders. Partners Albania initiative “Promotion and Development of Corporate Social Responsibility” is supported by the East East Beyond Borders Program/OSFA.

CSR Training in Tirana

Open lectures in the Faculty of Social Sciences

CSR Training in Durrës

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Role of Civil Society and Local Self-Government to Increase Social Cohesion in Albania and Montenegro On February 1st 2013, Partners Albania organized in Shkodra a workshop with participation of community activists and local government from communes of Bushat and Dajc, and municipalities of Koplik and Vau i Dejës. Participants discussed on actual cooperation practices between local community and local government, and creation of cooperation mechanism between the two sectors, toward greater citizen participation at the local policy level.

Conference “Participation of citizens and cooperation between NGOs and local self-governments in Montenegro and Albania”. The event which gathered about 70 representatives of local- governments, NGOs and community groups from Montenegrin and Albanian municipalities, aimed to introduce participants with models of good cooperation between civil society and local governments in Montenegro and Albania. Among panelists, Arjola Agolli, Program Director of Partners Albania discussed about existing mechanisms in Albania for citizen participation in the design and implementation of public policy at the local level. Valentina Nikaj, Director of Finance and Budgeting Department in the Vau I Dejes municipality and Arben Gjuraj, Mayor of Dajci commune presented respectively the Participatory Budgeting and the Citizen Information Office as good existing models of citizen participation and cooperation with local government in Albania. Part of the Albanian delegation was the Executive Director of Albanian Association of Communes, Agron Haxhimali, who talked about the role and responsibilities, as well as achievements of his organization in strengthening inter-municipal cooperation and communication between Albanian local government units and civil society.

Ariola Agolli, PA Director of Programs during her speech at the conference

Valentina Gjoni, a teacher from Vau i Dejës municipality, a member of the joint group that has been trained and coached throughout the project, presented the group’s initiative drafted during the trainings on establishing a Social Center for young people in Vau i Dejës, and the steps followed by this group to succeed with the initiative.

From right to left: Valentina Gjoni from Vau i Dejës during her presentation at the conference, and Arben Gjuraj, Mayor of Dajci commune.

The cross border project “Role of Civil Society and Local SelfGovernments in Enhancing Social Cohesion in Albania and Montenegro”, is implemented by Partners Albania in partnership with CRNVO in Montenegro. The project is funded by the European Union under the IPA Cross-Border Program Albania-Montenegro, 2007-2013.

During the conference. From right, first row: Eduart Paloka, member of the group from Vau i Dejës municipality

Partners Albania is an Albanian NPO committed to advancing civil society and a culture of change and conflict management in Albania. Partners Albania is a member of the Partners for Democratic Change International, a network of Centers in 20 countries, which provide conflict resolution training and services to the civic, NPO, municipal and national government, and business sectors in their countries and worldwide. PDCI website address is: http://www.pdci-network.org/

PARTNERS ALBANIA, CENTER FOR CHANGE AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT Address: Muhamet Gjollesha str, 7 floor building in front of Diplomat Hotel, nr.16/1, entrance 1, ap.9, PO BOX 2418/1, Tirana Tel: +355 4 2254881 Fax: 2254883 Email: partners@partnersalbania.org Http://www.partnersalbania.org Follow us on and

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During the Workshop in Shkodra

These mechanisms on good cooperation were presented by the Albanian delegation in the Regional Conference organized in Montenegro on 13 February 2013.

Quarterly newsletter-Edition 51  

Partners Albania newsletter Toward a Sustainable Society, edition 51, January - March 2013