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“Creating an enabling environment and capacity building for the development of civil society organizations in Albania”

In this edition: - PA launches the findings of the Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development, Country Report for Albania 2015 page 1

-The NPO Academy 2016 -Consultative meetings on the monitoring of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation - Busan Partnership page2

-LEVIZ Albania project -The Albanian Crowd, an interactive platform of Albanian NPOs and SEs page 3

-PA launches the call for GREEN IDEAS 2016 page 4

-International debate on SEs in framework of the U-Impact project page 5

-Social enterprises conference in Glasgow -Youth Bank Hub page 6

-Making the labor market work for young people in Albania page 7

-Monitoring of philanthropic activity in Albania page 8

-Urban Governance/Integrity Building in South East Europe Urban Partnership Program Phase II (UPP II) -Better local governance through increased transparency and accountability of municipal councils

MARCH 2016

Partners Albania organized on March 2nd, 2016 the National Conference "“Creating an Enabling Environment and Enhancement of Capacities for CSOs Development in Albania”. During the conference, the findings and recommendations of the Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development, Country Report for Albania 2015 were presented. The Monitoring Matrix measures the legal and practical environment for civil society development, based on international principles and standards. The report findings highlight some of the positive developments that happened during 2015 related to the drafting of a legal and regulatory framework on the cooperation between the state and NPOs, such as the approval of the law on the National Council for Civil Society and start of the work for its establishment. Since several months now, ASCS has initiated the process of selection of candidates representatives of civil society in this Council. These developments are a concrete result of Partners Albania’s efforts in coordination with the sector and the Task Force on the Enabling Environment for Civil Society. The findings highlight as well some problems and challenges the NPO sector faces as regards the registration process, fiscal treatment, access and transparency of public funds etc. Participants in this event were representatives of government and state institutions, donor community and civil society organizations in Albania and Slovakia. The conference was addressed by Mr. Stefano Calabretta, Programme Manager for Civil Society and Human Rights in the EU Delegation to Albania, Ms. Plejada Gugashi, Local Programme Manager of The Olof Palme International Center in Albania and Mr.Andi Kananaj, Director of ASCS, who discussed on the issues addressed in the monitoring report. Mrs. Karolina Mikova, Director of Partners Slovakia, shared with participants the experience of the National Council of the Slovak NGOs, a cooperation structure between government and civil society in Slovakia, as part of a project funded by SlovakAid.

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-Participatory budgeting at local and central level page 10


This is the third year that Partners Albania is conducting the monitoring of the enabling environment for civil society development, as part of a regional initiative in seven countries of Western Balkans and Turkey. The findings and recommendations of each country will serve as a basis for monitoring the Guidelines for EU Support to Civil Society in Enlargement Countries 2014 - 2020, as well as for the implementation of advocacy initiatives to improve the enabling environment for civil society development in Western Balkans countries and Turkey, at national and European level.

Read more on page 4......

The Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society, Country Report for Albania 2015 can be downloaded from this link: http://partnersalbania.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Monitoring_Matrix_Albania _Country_Report_2015.pdf



In the conference, Partners Albania presented the NPO Academy, an innovative program for the enhancement of capacities of the Albanian NPOs leaders, to build effective organizations serving the public and interest groups. Through contemporary learning approaches and multidimensional experience exchange, NPO Academy offers for NPO executives across the country, great opportunities for knowledge and skills enhancement, cooperation, networking and partnership possibilities with similar organizations in country and abroad.

NPO Academy 2016 starts its journey

On March 24, the NPO Academy 2016 began its journey. This successful program that started in 2015 with a group of 17 NPO representatives from across the country has already opened its doors to 25 other leaders of Albanian NGOs, to increase their capacities and professional development in this sector. Participants selected through a highly competitive application process, will follow a series of 10 lectures of the Academy program, peer-coaching sessions and will participate in a study visit in Slovakia where they will be introduced more closely to the work of Slovak organizations, their advocacy efforts and cooperation with state institutions and the approach to donors and other funding opportunities for their programs. The first session of the Academy focused on the development trends of civil society and the legal framework for the non-for-profit sector, while the second session held on March 31 focused on issues of organizational development and organizations governance, human resource management and internal procedures. A part of the NPO Academy activities is being implemented in cooperation with Partners for Democratic Change Slovakia, with financial support of Olof Palme International Center in Albania through funding from the Swedish Government and the Slovak Aid Official Development Assistance of the Slovak Republic.

Consultative meetings on the monitoring of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation - Busan Partnership Partners Albania is organizing a series of regional consultative meetings with NPOs on the monitoring of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation - Busan Partnership. The Global Partnership was established in the Fourth High Level Forum for the Foreign Aid Effectiveness, in 2011 in Busan. It aims to measure the progress of implementation of the Busan commitments on effective development cooperation. Its monitoring framework for 2015 consists of 10 indicators which focus on strengthening of the institutions in developing countries, enhancement of transparency and cooperation, strengthening of gender equality and greater involvement of civil society, policy-makers and private sector in the development efforts. Albania participates in this monitoring process for the second consecutive year. In the role of focal point for civil society organizations, Partners Albania is working to provide information about the second indicator: Civil society operates in an environment which maximizes its commitment and contribution to development. In the consultative meetings that Partners Albania held in Elbasan, Shkodra, Tirana and Vlora, were discussed issues of the dialogue between different actors in the design and implementation of development policies, accountability and transparency, cooperation between development agencies and donors with CSOs, as well as the legal and regulatory environment in which CSOs operate. This is another important report which can be used as an advocacy tool for the improvement of the legal and practical environment in which civil society organizations in Albania operate.



Participants of the NPO Academy 2015 shared with colleagues and guests their experience in this program, bringing examples of achievements and results of their organizations, through knowledge and experience gained from participating in the Academy.



LëvizAlbania is a project that aims to have a catalyst effect on local democracy in Albania. It is implemented by a consortium of three organizations: Open Society for Albania, Partners Albania and Co-Plan, and financially supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Albania. LëvizAlbania supports local democracy in the country through the cultivation of a community-based local civil society, which affects and stimulates demand for good governance. In February 2016 LëvizAlbania concluded the three Ideas Competitions for the First Call for Applications, in the cities of Shkodra, Durrës and Elbasan. From 104 ideas from non-profit organizations and individuals qualified for the Competitions of Ideas, the Board of Grants, through an unanimous decision based on an objective assessment of the concept-ideas and their geographical spread across the country, selected for the next phase 45 concept ideas, 8 out of which are concept ideas proposed by individuals.

The Albanian Crowd


The next stage for the qualified is to develop the full project proposal for which they will required financial support by LëvizAlbania.


The Albanian Crowd is an interactive online platform of Albanian NPOs and social enterprises, created and managed by Partners Albania. The platform provides comprehensive information on the location, scope of work, areas of activity, beneficiaries, services the organizations and social enterprises offer and projects they are currently working on. It supports already 146 member organizations from across the country, operating in different fields. Since it was launched, the platform counts over 15,000 visitors, more than 1,5 million hits from nearly 140 countries from all continents. We encourage all members of the platform to frequently send us updated information, announcements and calls for volunteers and supporters for their initiatives and programs. All Albanian organizations and interested groups are invited to join the platform by completing the online registration form at the following link: http://www.thealbaniancrowd.org/aplikimi/


Partners Albania announces the call for GREEN IDEAS 2016 The aim of the national competition "Green Ideas 2016" is to support business initiatives that promote social inclusion, through integration and employment, and local economic development through environmentally friendly ideas. Today, one of the biggest challenges to economic stability is finding new ways to organize and involve local communities to ensure sustainable development by reducing negative impacts on the environment, therefore encouraging a more equitable distribution of benefits. When connections to the land and to its resources are lost, the sense of community solidarity also suffers. The emergence of multinational companies in the marketplace has threatened many businesses, including small farmers and traditional manufacturers, increasing unemployment rates and generating dependency, producing undesirable social, economic, and cultural changes. In this regard, green ideas from individuals and companies may play a role to motivate, identify and mobilize resources to address strategic issues dealing with the loss of tradition in manufacturing and developing local markets.


Application Criteria: • It’s a green idea in embryonic phase or in the initial phase of implementation; • If the applying entity is not a civil society organization, the entrepreneurship must be categorized as small business venture; • If the applicant is an individual, he/she should contemplate (anticipate) in the business plan the type of legal registration of the project - idea; • The project idea aims the sustainable development of environment through creation of job opportunities and/or higher income; • The project idea is in line with the main activity of the entity which applies; • The project idea is entirely based on use of local resources; • The project idea is based on a detailed business plan and is environment friendly; • The project idea mobilizes the work and expertise of local recourses and makes use of their traditional abilities; • The project idea has a plan on how to grow the activity and financial sustainability; • The applying entity must show that has information or has performed an evaluation of local market showing the existing need; knows its competitors` and its idea presents competitive advantages; • The project idea will support revitalization of traditional local economies and link among people and community. • The applying entities are eligible to receive funding from this competition not more than once in two years. Who can apply: The competition is open to: Individuals, Civil society organizations, Small business ventures. Financial terms: The grant will support green project ideas for no longer than one year and with maximum funding of no more than 800.000 ALL. Co-financing from alternative sources is encouraged. The required documents: • A Project proposal in line with all the above mentioned criteria; • A detailed business plan of the project idea accompanied by the cash flow; • A document certifying the legal status of the applicant entity (Court registration and TIN); • For individual applicants, in case their idea wins, before the signing of the contract they should enjoy the status of non -profit organizations or small business according the legal legislation in place. Selection Process: The selection process will be conducted by a jury of experts from economic, environment, business and justice field. The evaluation process will be conducted in two phases: • The first phase will consist in the selection of the ideas that fulfill the application criteria, selection to be made by Partners Albania. • The second phase will consist in selection of three best ideas by the Jury of experts, as part of an open public competition. This selection will be based in the pre-selection list from the first phase. Three winning ideas will be automatically part of the regional competition organized by Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Partners Albania, in Serbia during 26-29 July 2016. Information on submission deadlines: The deadline for sending applications is May 3rd, 2016. The application can be submitted electronically in partners@partnersalbania.org, or by mail / hand delivered in our office address: Partners Albania for Change and Development, Rr:”Sulejman Delvina”, N.18, H.8, Ap.12; PO Box 2418/1, Postal code 1022, Tirana. Partners Albania will release a second announcement for the date of the organization of the competition. Monitoring Process: All the winners at national and regional level will enter a contractual relationship as part of this financing, where will be clearly defined the reporting requirements according to indicators set in the project idea and the funding agreement. Format and Language: The presentation of the project idea needs to be in line with the criteria presented in the call, attached to a detailed budget. The budget should be presented in the form of a business plan where will be listed all costs requested to be covered by the Green Ideas Grant and co-financing if there is any, for a one-year period. The language for presenting the project idea is Albanian.


International debate “Social Enterprises’ Development in Albania- – Between Definitions, Approaches and Developments” Partners Albania organized on February 26th 2016 in Tirana, the international debate on “Social Enterprises’ development in Albania – Between definitions, approaches and developments”. The debate focused on the approaches to and development of social enterprises in Albania, and comparison with current trends in other European countries.


The approach toward social enterprises and the work on the legal and regulatory framework related to their development has changed quite dynamically during this last year. Partners Albania has contributed in opening the public debate on social enterprises (SEs) and supported first practices of them in Albania, providing developments’ prospective and models of successful SEs’ from abroad. Continuing PA‘s contribution and its engagement in this field, this international debate brought together 60 stakeholders from line ministries, academic institutions, development agencies and international donors, and SEs’ representatives. They shared best practices and challenges on SEs’ development among themselves and colleagues from Estonia, France and Belgium.

The representative of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, Mr. Erion Manohasa, introduced to the participants and the online audience the approach and perspective of MSWY to the development of SEs in Albania and some of the latest developments on the draft-law drafted by MSWY on SEs. The debate also served as a forum for the presentation of the draft-law and addressed some questions and concerns from the participants in this regard. Key speakers in the debate were representatives of consolidated SEs such as YAPS and ADRF and those created recently such as Gjirokastra Foundation and Naturalb Soaps. They shared their experience in this field focusing on the operation under the existing legal framework, achievements and challenges as well as the exposure to regional and international SEs networks. Representatives of SEs such as SE Network in Estonia, IREX Europe France and Knowledge Centre Social Europe in Belgium, joined the debate online and discussed on the institutional understanding and approach to social enterprises in their respective countries, legal framework that regulates their activity and the perception on social enterprises as forms of entrepreneurship providing employment and integration for minority and disadvantaged groups of citizens, contributing to the social economy development.

The debate was organized in the frame of “You Impact! From Citizen Involvement to EU Policy Impact” (U-Impact) project under the “Europe for Citizens” program of the European Union. The project coordinates citizen involvement with the public authorities on national and European level in eight EU member states (Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, Spain, Estonia, Italy, France and Belgium)and one candidate state (Albania), in order to develop a mechanism for increased impact of citizen initiatives on the policy making process in the EU. The debate was broadcast live and is available at Partners Albania YouTube channel. For more information on the project visit http://u-impact.net/


Social enterprises conference, Glasgow Caledonian University Arjola Agolli, Director of Programs represented Partners Albania in the Social Enterprise Conference organized on March 7th at the Glasgow Caledonian University. This was a dissemination event of the projects EFESEIIS (“Enabling the flourishing and evolution of Social Entrepreneurship for innovative and inclusive societies”) and CHALLENGES “Challenges and opportunities for employment of vulnerable groups by Social Enterprises”, with reflections from the CommonHealth programme. As one of the key speakers in the panel discussing favorable ecosystem for social entrepreneurship development, Arjola presented some key findings from the research on the development of SEs as promoters of social inclusion and cohesion in Albania and the region.


This research is conducted in the frame of the regional project “Challenges and opportunities for employment of vulnerable groups by Social Enterprises”, implemented by Partners Albania, Reactor – Research in Action, Konekt, Center for Media Activities in Macedonia, and Center for Peace and Tolerance in Kosovo, part of the Regional Research Promotion Programme (RRPP) in Western Balkans.

The research project in the three countries is continuing its activities with the finalization of the country reports to be published shortly. More information on the project is available at: http://socialenterprisesbalkans.org/

Youth Bank Hub for Western Balkan and Turkey Partners Albania is a member of the regional network of 5 organizations implementing the “Youth Bank Hub for Western Balkans and Turkey” project. This four year project which started in January 2016 will focus in improving youth participation in decision making processes in Western Balkans and Turkey, through capacity building of youth organizations, advocacy initiatives and awareness-raising activities.

On 26 January 2016 was held in Belgrade the project inception conference where partners presented the current situation with regard to youth participation in their respective countries and discussed the partnership modalities.

The network will continuously monitor and analyze relevant data about youth participation in the region to develop policy measures and advocacy campaigns for improving social, economic and political inclusion of young women and men. The YBH4WBT network will also work to recruit youth CSOs as new members, and to improve their capacities for public advocacy and participation. Partner organizations are currently conducting baseline studies of the current state of the youth’s social, economic and political inclusion in their respective countries. The YBH4WBT project is funded by EU and implemented by Foundation Ana i Vlade Divac-Serbia, Partners Albania for Change and Development-Albania, Association for Education MLADIINFO INTERNATIONAL- Macedonia, NGO “Prima”- Montenegro and Community Volunteers Foundation-Turkey.


Making the labor market work for young people in Albania


RisiAlbania is a youth employment project that focuses on achieving systemic changes in the Albanian labour market in order to improve access to employment and income opportunities for young women and men. RisiAlbania project is implemented by a consortium consisting of Helvetas Swiss Inter-cooperation and Partners Albania, and funded by the Swiss Embassy in Albania. Some of the main activities of the project RisiAlbania for this period were: “Risi Turistike Award” 2016 for the Gjirokastra region Five new tourism products won the "Risi Turistike" 2016 for the region of Gjirokastra, in the annual competition organized by the Ministry of Economy, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship, Albanian Agency for Investment Development, RisiAlbania project and the Albanian Tourism industry, aiming at promoting new products and services in the field of tourism.


The new tourism products include marketing and promotion of Gjirokastra in social media, the concept of “Experiential tours” around the city and surrounding areas through visits and thematic activities etc. These winning ideas will be further developed by the companies with the support of RisiAlbania and the Albanian Agency for Development and Investment, until being offered in tourism market. Winners that will be supported by RisiAlbania: First prize: Gjirokastra Foundation with the project “Experiential Tourism Product in Gjirokastër” Second prize: Rafting Vjosa with the project “Exploring Përmet” Winners to be supported by AIDA - Albanian Investment Development Agency: - Innovation prize: Manderina Promotions with the project “Branding Gjirokastra as a destination and its promotional package” - Start-up prize: Teuta Llukani with the project “Traditional Wood production” - Creativity prize: Arie Design with the project “Traditional Gjirokaster Prototypes in handicrafts” Polytechnic University of Tirana embraces Microsoft Imagine Academy PROTIK has introduced the Microsoft Imagine Academy to the students of the Polytechnic University of Tirana (PUT), giving them free access to the latest trends on the IT world, as well as to a wide range of courses, which are of crucial relevance to the students. Securing the license from Microsoft was enabled with RisiAlbania’s support, making this way the Microsoft Imagine Academy available online to all interested students for one whole year, and possibly longer. AGIS - the Agricultural Information & Intelligence System Since March 2016, four commercial banks are testing the latest Agricultural Information & Intelligence System (AGIS), which is expected to improve access to finance in the agricultural sector. This intelligent platform, created by Creative Business Solution (CBS) with support from RisiAlbania is a web-based system able to provide a wide range of information related to agriculture, quality support on decision-making to bank experts, making such information more readily available and useful.

Advancing the BPO sector The workshop “Market Trends of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Industry” organized by Albanian Outsourcing Association AOA with support from RisiAlbania provided a valuable overview of BPO markets opportunities and trends and presented ways to increase investment promotion and access to foreign market by identifying the right markets, developing a value definition, a road map and marketing strategy. The workshop also suggested ways of how an Association and business service providers can support the promotion and the growth of the BPO sector. Two management consultants of the leading Avasant Consulting Company shared their valuable experience and expertise with the participants in this workshop, and discussed with them options on how Albania can tap into such opportunities. With RisiAlbania’s support, the Albanian Outsourcing Association will use the ideas from this workshop in order to improve its services for the member companies.


Monitoring of the Philanthropic Activity in Albania Since January 2015 Partners Albania is conducting the monitoring of philanthropic activity through media monitoring, including also the social media and information resources from the public and non-public institutions. The monitoring process is conducted on everyday bases and the findings present the supported causes, nature and values of the donation, geographic coverage and also the donor’s nature. They are presented as monthly short summary reports that aim to help on the meaning and identification of this activity. Throughout 2015 Partners Albania registered 217 donations totalling 585,992,469 ALL, 99% of which were monetary donations or in goods/products. The main beneficiary group are children, receiving 40% of donations, and most benefitted areas are Tirana (56%), followed by Fier (12%) and Vlora (11%). Although business has the highest number of donations (72 or 33%), the highest donated value comes from public institutions, awarding 75% of total amount registered. Individual donations although high in number (65 registered) make 3% of the overall donated value. More detailed data is available in the 2015 monitoring report accessible in this link: http://partnersalbania.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Facts_Philanthropic_Activity_2015.pdf

Facts on Philanthropic Activity January - March 2016


During the first quarter of 2016 the reported value of the donation at country level is 26,577,585 ALL as presented in the charts below.

Visit the link in our website for the monitoring data from the previous months: www.partnersalbania.org/programs/monitoring-of-philanthropic-activity-in-albania-en/


Urban Governance/Integrity Building in South East Europe Urban Partnership Program Phase II (UPP II) Partners Albania is part of a regional consortium of organizations from Albania, Serbia, Macedonia and Croatia, which are implementing the component Urban Governance / Integrity Construction in Eastern Europe - phase II of the Urban Partnership Program of the World Bank Group (UPPII).

As part of this regional initiative, Ariola Agolli together with the Mayors of the respective municipalities attended the Mayor’s Symposium, held in Graz, Austria on 29 February - 1 March 2016. In this international event that brought together 160 representatives of central and local institutions, mayors, anticorruption practitioners, non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders, participants shared best practices and experiences, and discussed on the challenges of urban governance.

Better local governance through increased transparency and accountability of municipal councils www.e-qeverisjavendore.com As part of its work towards increasing transparency and accountability at local level, good governance and fight against corruption, since October 2015 Partners Albania is implementing a one-year pilot initiative to monitor the work of municipal councils in Lezha and Kucova. Partners Albania has build an online platform e-qeverisjavendore.com through which interested citizens and stakeholders have the opportunity to follow the City Council meetings, be informed on Council decisions and get involved and advocate for priority issues that concern their community. The platform is updated with the full footage from the City Council meetings, draft decisions proposed to the Council by the municipal staff, councilors discussions on the drafts, decisions approved by the Council as well as the progress of implementation of these decisions. The e-qeverisjavendore.com platform was established in the frame of the pilot initiative "For a better local governance through increased transparency and accountability of municipal councils", implemented by Partners Albania with the support of the Embassy of the United States in Tirana.



Under this program, anticorruption practitioners of Partners Albania started the work with the municipality of Berat and Elbasan to draft the Anticorruption Strategy. On February 19 and 23 Partners Albania held the first meetings with Guiding Coalitions in the respective municipalities to discuss on the Vision and Mission of the AntiCorruption Strategy, and starting the diagnosis process to identify the activities and services most vulnerable to corrupt practices. In April Partners Albania will start the work with Fieri municipality.

Participatory budgeting at local and central level Since 2015 Partners Albania is implementing the participatory budgeting in local and central government initiative, aiming to increase involvement of civil society organizations and interest groups in the process of budgeting at central and local level. In March this year Partners Albania launched a call for expression of interest from civil society organizations across the country, interested in being part of the participatory budgeting at central government. About 50 organizations have expressed willingness to be part of this initiative, to influence the Draft Budget 2017 and the Medium Term Budget Program of the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth. In the upcoming months Partners Albania will organize: - Roundtables with representatives of civil society organizations to discuss on priority issues that will influence the budget of the Ministry of Education and Sports and of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth. - Training of civil society organizations on the budgeting 2017 and the mid-term budget program at central government, from financial and line ministries experts; - Drafting of an advocacy plan on the priority issues that will be identified by NPO representatives in roundtables and trainings; - Implementation of the advocacy plan and monitoring of the reflection of sector requirements in the budget 2017 and in the mid-term budget program.

Partners Albania is an independent Albanian NPO established in 2001, working to support civil society and facilitate inter-sector cooperation in order to strengthen democratic institutions and advance economic development. Partners Albania is a member of Partners Global, a partnership of 19 independent, local organizations in Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East working for peaceful and democratic change.

Meanwhile, following its several year work in the frame of increasing active participation of citizens in political processes and local decision-making, PA will focus its assistance during 2016 on the facilitation of the work of local organizations and interest groups, for the implementation of the participatory budgeting process at local level. This process will take place in three Municipalities which adopted in 2015 an internal procedure on participatory budgeting at local level and committed to implement it in the coming years. This initiative is supported by Olof Palme International Center and the Open Society Foundation for Albania.

Address: Rruga Sulejman Delvina, N.18, H.8, Ap. 12, NjĂŤsia Bashkiake 5, Kodi Postar 1022, TiranĂŤ, ShqipĂŤri, Kutia Postare 2418/1, Tel/Fax: +355 4 2254881 Email: partners@partnersalbania.org Http://www.partnersalbania.org Follow us in


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Partners Albania Newsletter, edition 59, March 2016


Partners Albania Newsletter, edition 59, March 2016