TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY In this issue:
PARTNERS ALBANIA CELEBRATES ITS 15TH ANNIVERSARY
-Partners Albania celebrates its 15th anniversary page 1 - Winners of Philanthropy Awards 2016 announced page 2 - Financially viable civil society = Active civil society -Strengthening CSOs for effective inclusiveness and participation in policy-making and decisionmaking page 3 -Monitoring matrix on enabling environment for civil society development -Graduation of the second group of NPO Academy cohorts, NPO Academy 2017 soon to be launched page 4 -Implementing the Law on “Whistleblowing and whistleblowers’ protection" - Building integrity in local government page 5 -Participatory budgeting at central and local governance - Regional scientific conference: “Researching social enterprise developments in the Balkans” -Social entrepreneurship as means of financial sustainability of NGOs, regional meeting of NGO experts page 6 -Partners Network Annual Meeting page 7
The year 2016 marks the 15th anniversary of Partners Albania for Change and Development. For 15 years, Partners Albania has been privileged to work with and support efforts of hundreds of civil society organizations, state institutions, and private sector businesses to advance Albania’s democratic system and values, and strengthen accountability and the rule of law. Through its work and diverse programs, Partners Albania has positively impacted the personal development and growth of so many civil society practitioners and public administration officials in their efforts to building strong institutions, manage open and transparent processes, and overcome corruption. It has been so rewarding to see how institutions have strengthened and become more accountable, how policies have changed and become more responsive, and how processes have become more inclusive and participatory. In these 15 years, PA has not gone for the easy and safe path, which has made our journey sometimes more difficult. Often our key phrase has been “challenge the status quo”, but we have always stayed loyal to our organizational values – ethical, cooperative, inclusive, and professional. Despite the stumbling blocks we have come a long way and shown commitment, creativity and resilience. We have looked for and found inspiration in our partner organizations in and outside the country, strength and support in numerous formal and informal networks that have been vital for “untraditional” advocacy work at the local and regional level, resources in loyal and generous donors who showed trust in our vision. Partners Albania was born as part of a network, Partners Network, and continues to base its work on institutional and strategic partnerships. After fifteen years of work, the project is not yet done. Partners Albania will continue to honor its responsibility to support the strengthening of democracy and economic development in the country. It has the capacity and the knowhow to continue to provide support to the state and nonstate actors in the project of democracy building over the many years to come.
-Celebrating Solidarity -Youth Bank Hub for Western Balkan and Turkey -ICT Youth Camp applications open page 8 –Making the labour market work for young people in Albania page 9
The Manual on “Financial Management of NPOs and Regulatory Framework, second edition” (2016) aims to helps NPOs in the efficient management of financial resources. It presents the basic concepts of financial management, a comprehensive view of accounting systems and reporting, internal controls, budgeting process, financial analysis and taxes applied to NPOs by the state. The updated manual reflects the changes occurred in the legal and fiscal framework that regulates the activity of NPOs and responds to the new dynamics of the sector’s development.
Note from PA Director Juliana Hoxha, in the report Partners Albania—15 years of growing a stronger democracy
#15YearsPartnersAlbania Celebrate with us
Read here our most recent publications showing Partners Albania 15 year ride: www.partnersalbania.org
Contact PA office to receive a copy of the manual.
Warm wishes from Partners Albania team for a great and prosperous new year 2017 !
Philanthropy Awards 2016 Partners Albania organized on November 24th the gala ceremony where were announced the winners of Philanthropy Awards 2016. Since 2011 PA organizes this nationwide public competition, to express appreciation and gratitude to individuals, families and businesses who contribute to improving the quality of life in our society.
Award for Contribution at National Level was granted to Balfin Group, with motivation: For the wide contribution to the improvement of the quality of life of individuals and communities, the support to the innovative ideas of young entrepreneurs, the special attention towards institutions and organizations that provide services for children with Down syndrome, people with autistic spectrum disorders, the elderly and persons with terminal illnesses, as well as the awareness about environmental protection. The award was presented by Mrs. Valentina Leskaj, Vice Chair of Albanian Parliament.
The Award for Individual Contribution was granted to Ms.Violeta Volumi, with motivation: For the establishment and development of the first ever infrastructure for audio books in Albanian, for the education of all Albanian-speaking community at home and abroad, and especially for visually impaired people. The award was presented by H.E. Mr. Christoph Graf, Ambassador of Switzerland in Tirana.
Certificate of Appreciation was granted to Mrs. Sevim Arbana, with motivation: For the continuous contribution to the protection of human rights, alleviation of poverty and promotion of a fair and equitable society for all.
The Award for Contribution at Local Level was granted to the Foundation "Santa Maria Marianisti", with motivation: For the contribution given to the education of children and youth from poor families and Roma and Egyptian communities, as well as for the provision of vocational training and increase of employment opportunities for women and girls in Lezha. The award was presented by Mr. Bledar Çuci, Minister of State for Local Government Issues.
Special Award “Pioneer of Philanthropy” was granted to the Baholli family, with motivation: For outstanding and wide contribution given during 1925 - 1935 in support of the economic development of Elbasan city, and promotion of education of young women and men through the construction of the city library "Qemal Baholli". The award was presented by Mrs. Englantina Gjermeni, Minister of Urban Development.
Certificate of Appreciation was granted to "Fundjavë Ndryshe”, with motivation: For the volunteer activism that promotes solidarity and humanism for poverty alleviation and help to families and individuals in need. The Certificates of Appreciation were presented by Mr. Andi Dobrushi, Executive Director, Open Society Foundation for Albania.
Visit here a photo gallery from the event: http://bit.ly/2fHuBD4
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY
This festive ceremony that coincided with the celebration of Partners Albania 15th anniversary, was attended by a large number of guests from the Albanian government and members of Albanian Parliament, representatives of diplomatic corps accredited in Albania, international institutions and donor agencies, representatives of the business sector, nonprofit organizations and media.
FINANCIALLY VIABLE CIVIL SOCIETY = ACTIVE CIVIL SOCIETY The project “Financially viable civil society = Active civil society” is Partners Albania newest initiative, implemented in framework of Civil Society Watchdog and Advocacy Program supported by the Public Affairs Office of the United States Embassy in Tirana. This initiative aims to contribute to the financial sustainability of the civil society organizations engaged in strengthening of democracy, rule of law and good governance in Albania, respect for human rights, increase of citizen activism and community development. The project will help strengthen the capacity of NGOs to identify new business models in order to generate revenues, thus providing financial stability independent from the usual donor funding, for a greater impact in the communities where they operate. Partners Albania will work with civil society organizations that will be part of this program, to Identify together with them possible income generating activities to increase the impact and sustainability of their work; to strengthen their capacity and skills through a long-term training and coaching program for adopting appropriate business models to increase and diversify income; build bridges of cooperation among NGOs and local businesses in order to increase knowledge and understanding of civil society work and their services, as well as identifying concrete partnership opportunities in providing these services. We will shortly publish in our website and social networks the calendar of regional information activities in frame of this project, for all organizations interested in being part of it.
The Civil Society Watchdog and Advocacy Program aims to strengthen the capacity of local civil society organizations to hold government accountable and advocate on key priorities.
H.E. Mr. Donald Lu, US Ambassador in Albania, addressing the participants in the event .
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY
On December 9th, the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy in Tirana in cooperation with Partners Albania and Co-plan launched the Civil Society Watchdog and Advocacy Program, an event which brought together over eighty civil society representatives and activists.
“We want you to be tough watchdogs. We want you to be assertive and independent. And we want you to be courageous.”
Photo credit: US Embassy Tirana
Strengthening CSOs for effective inclusiveness and participation in policy policy--making and decision decision--making In October, Partners Albania started the initiative “Strengthening CSOs for effective inclusiveness and participation in policy-making and decision-making”, aiming to support LëvizAlbania project by addressing the needs of the potential interested applicants and beneficiaries of LA, for increased effectiveness in the implementation of the local initiatives funded by the project. 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 Foundation 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. Partners Albania in cooperation with LëvizAlbania has prepared and is delivering a tailor made capacity building program, on-line and onsite, combining trainings with individual coaching, networking, and sharing experiences with other organizations in the country and the region. PA approach will contribute to increase effectiveness and efficiency of civic actors in influencing local policies and decision-making through the implementation of the initiatives supported by LëvizAlbania and beyond.
In November, Partners Albania organized three two-day trainings in Tirana, Shkodra and Korça on “Community Mobilization”, with participation of about 50 NPOs and individuals from these regions. The training programs focused on the concepts, principles, engagement and participation techniques for communities and individuals to implement initiatives that empower their communities, based on participants experiences and good practices.
On October 2016, LëvizAlbania announced the 19 winning projects of the Second Call addressed to civil society organizations, individuals and their groups. The winners are 13 NPOs and 6 individuals from, Dibër, Durrës, Elbasan, Kukës, Lezhë, Shkodër and Tiranë. At the same time, the project launched the Third Call for Ideas which closed on December 9 th. The directions of the Third Call are: 1) Strengthening the accountability of elected / appointed officials, lobbying and advocacy through the election process; and 2) Monitoring, advocacy and concrete actions on how local public services are delivered. Visit www.levizalbania.org for more info on this project.
Monitoring matrix on enabling environment for civil society development For the fourth consecutive year partners Albania is preparing the Country Report for Albania of the Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development. During this period, PA conducted the extended survey with 96 CSOs all over Albania, to assess their experiences and perceptions on the implementation of the legislation on three main areas, around which is organized the Matrix: 1) Basic Legal guarantees of Freedoms; 2) Framework for CSOsâ€™ Financial Viability and Sustainability; and 3) Government â€“ CSO Relationship. In parallel, desk review of legislation was conducted to identify changes and developments in legal and regulation framework affecting the operation of CSOs in 2016. The report will become public in January 2017, available in this link http://bit.ly/2iXOhR7
Graduation of the second group of NPO Academy cohorts NPO Academy 2017 soon to be launched
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY
The NPO Academy second semester September- December 2016, continued with peer-coaching meetings, series of lectures in Advocacy and Lobbying, Networking and Coalition Building and Strategic Planning.
On October 24-29 and November 7-12 two study visits to Slovakia were organized. A group of 26 participants, among which representatives from Albanian municipalities and other local NPOs were introduced to the work of Slovak organizations, citizen action groups and public institutions in Bratislava, Banska Bistrica, Zvolen etc. Meetings with organizations and public institutions helped participants to learn on NGO-State cooperation, innovative approaches in fighting corruption, crowd sourcing, fundraising, participatory budgeting etc. The study visit was organized in cooperation with Partners from Democratic Change Slovakia.
On December 20th, Partners Albania organized the graduation ceremony of NPO Academy alumni 2016. Participants shared their participating experience in the NPO Academy and its impact at personal and organization development level, networking with other NPO participants in the Academy and abroad, and their future plans for developing stronger NPOs.
Partners Albania will shortly launch the opening of applications for the NPO Academy 2017! Follow www.partnersalbania.org and our Facebook page to receive news on the NPO Academy 2017.
The NPO Academy 2016 was financially supported by Olof Palme International Center in Albania through funding from the Swedish Government and the Slovak Aid - Official Development Assistance of the Slovak Republic.
Implementing the Law on “Whistle Blowing and Whistle Whistle--Blowers’ Protection" Partners Albania in cooperation with the National Coordinator on Anti-corruption issues and the Chief Inspector of the High Inspectorate on Audit of Assets and Conflict of Interests, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tirana, are working to implement the Law on Whistle-blowing and whistle-blowers’ protection. Law No. 60/2016 “On Whistle blowing and the Protection of Whistle blowers” aims at preventing and fighting corruption in the public and private sectors, protecting individuals signaling suspected corruption practices in their workplace, and stimulating whistle blowing on corruptive activities or practices. PA facilitated the process of drafting sublegal acts and guidelines by local and international experts, and conducted a wide public consultation. About 2000 public institutions at central level and state agencies, municipalities, businesses, civil society organizations, media representatives, and donors and international development agencies in Albania were specifically targeted as part of the consultative process beside open public information means. Following the on line consultation, PA organized six regional consultative meetings in Tirana, Shkodra, Elbasani, Korca and Fieri with the participation of about 250 representatives from public and private sector, civil society and media.
Mr. Bledi Çuçi, Minister of State for Local Issues, Mrs. Juliana Hoxha, Partners Albania Director and H.E. Mrs. Dewi van der Weerd, Ambassador of the Netherlands in Albania, addressing the participants in Fieri consultative meeting on September 30th.
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY
In October, a wide public information media campaign was launched featuring a TV spot broadcasted in the main national media, online information platforms and social media, as well as city lights billboards raising awareness on the importance but also the understanding of this Law and its measures in the fight against corruption.
From the consultative meeting with ministries, state agencies and local government, September 5th in Tirana.
All sublegal acts have come into power reflecting also the reccomandations received as part of the consultative process. Follow this link for the legal framework on whistle blowing and the protection of whistle blowers, including the sublegal acts. At the moment, Partners Albania is working to finalise a package of training and assistance for the main institutions and public officials responsible for the law implementation.
Building Integrity in Local Government Partners Albania held on December 6, 2016, in the Municipality of Fier, the training program "Building Integrity in Local Government". Participants were representatives of Elbasani, Fieri, Berati and Kucova municipalities who shared and discussed with each other the best practices and challenges in increasing citizen participation in decision-making processes, anti-corruption initiatives, and professional ethical issues in exercising their functions. The training was organized in the frame of Urban Partnership Program of the World Bank - Austria "Urban Governance / Integrity Building in Southeastern Europe".
Participatory budgeting at central and local governance Since 2015 Partners Albania is leading an initiative aiming to increase involvement of civil society organizations and interest groups in the process of budgeting at local and central level. Regarding local budgeting, during 2016 Partners Albania organized a series of workshops and coaching sessions with NPOs to identify community priority issues. In municipalities of Puka, Lezha and Durrësi, the youth issues were at the focus of budgeting process. PA facilitated several consultative meetings and hearing sessions between local coalition members and respective municipalities.
While the working group of NPOs focusing at the process of budgeting at central level, pursuant to the identification and discussion of their priorities with the Ministry of Education and Sports and Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, advocated with Parliamentary Commission on Labor, Social Issues and Health, to have a financial package specifying costs of services part of the law “For Social Care Services”. The group demanded the Parliament not to pass the law without a clear and sound financial package that would ensure effective implementation of the law.
The respective NPO coalitions at local and central level will continue to advocate with institutions and monitor the process.
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY
This initiative was supported by Olof Palme International Center and the Open Society Foundation for Albania.
Regional scientific conference: “Researching social enterprise developments in the Balkans” Ariola Agolli, PA Director of Programs and Erila Haska, PA Research Assistant participated in the Regional Scientific Conference: “Researching Social Enterprise Developments in the Balkans”, organized on 17 –18 November, 2016 in Skopje, Macedonia. The event brought together researchers from the Balkan region working in the fields of social enterprises, social entrepreneurship and social economy, sharing knowledge, discussing and debating on the latest research related to the social enterprises developments in the Balkan region, as well as strengthening the networks by establishing the Balkan Social Enterprise Research Network. The conference was organized in the framework of a joint project implemented by five organizations from three Balkan countries: Reactor, Konekt and Public from Macedonia, Partners Albania from Albania and Center for Peace and Tolerance from Kosovo. The project is supported by the Regional Research Promotion Program for the Western Balkans, coordinated and operated by the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and fully funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Social entrepreneurship as means of financial sustainability of NGOs, regional meeting of NGO experts Partners Albania represented by Arjola Agolli, Director of Programs, participated in the regional NGO meeting “Social Entrepreneurship as Means of Financial Sustainability of NGOs” dedicated to the topic of social entrepreneurship in the Western Balkan region. The meeting was organized by GIZ GmbH on December 2nd 2016 in Skopje, Macedonia. In the panel discussing the state of social entrepreneurship and legal framework in the Western Balkan, Arjola presented the situation of social enterprises in Albania, the legal framework they operate and development challenges. Partners Albania is working for years in this field, supporting the establishment of social enterprises through the Green Ideas competition organized since 2012, as well as promotion of and research on the development of social enterprises in Albania and the region.
Partners Network Annual Meeting The Partners Network centers from 19 countries from Europe, Middle East, the Americas and Africa, met in DC on November 7-13, 2016 for the Annual Meeting which coincided with the elections in USA. Juliana Hoxha, Partners Albania Director and Elona Kapexhiu, Communication Manager were part of this one week visit. Inevitably, the election result and how that is expected to influence US and the rest of the world were part of formal meetings and informal discussions. Juliana Hoxha, Partners Albania Director was one of the speakers of an innovative roundtable meeting co-hosted by PartnersGlobal and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to discuss how the US based organizations are attempting to connect work on advancing democracy abroad and at home. In the recent years, Western democracies are experiencing a convergence between political challenges they face at home and those they help to seek other countries overcome, from citizen alienation and rising intolerance to new currents of populism and radicalism. Mrs. Hoxha was also one of the key speakers in the workshop held at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, focusing on organizational profitability and resilience, factors for NGO success.
The reception hosted by Partners Global at their DC office represented a great opportunity for Partners members to network with DC based institutions and organizations working in US and globally.
The network visited Baltimore were they met with NGOs, donor agencies, police officials and young activists discussing a number of interest issues such as mediation and conflict resolution, community â€“ police relations, funding strategies, youth activism etc.
The members of Partners Network during their Annual Meeting focusing on issues of network strengthening and effective cooperation and communication.
Celebrating Solidarity In October Partners Albania started the implementation of the project “Celebrating solidarity”, supported by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union. Through this project, 6 partner organizations from Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Poland, Serbia and Hungary will work to promote philanthropy and examples of solidarity in times of crises. The project will take a look back at the European history and great examples of solidarity between people and nations, as a road map for future generations. We have to understand our common history and values in order to promote and stimulate solidarity, while encouraging people to participate and engage themselves in response to different crises. This is particularly important when it comes to youth and their perception of solidarity.
To identify the young people perception to solidarity and helping others, and the role they can take in the community, project partner organizations have developed an online quiz available in this link: http://museumofsolidarity.eu/solidarity-test-alb/
The project “Celebrating solidarity” is implemented by 6 organizations led by Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation in Serbia, respectively Partners Albania in Albania, Input Output Foundation in Poland, Demnet Hun in Hungary, Multi Kulti Collective in Bulgaria, and Mladiinfo International in Macedonia.
Youth Bank Hub for Western Balkan and Turkey Since January 2016 Partners Albania is implementing the project "Youth Bank Hub for Western Balkans and Turkey", in partnership with “Ana i Vlade Divac” Foundation in Serbia, Association for Education - MLADIINFO International in Macedonia, ”Prima” organization in Montenegro and “Community Volunteers Foundation” in Turkey. The project is funded by the European Union.
Partner organizations have produced the first 6-month reports which, in addition to the results of the index monitoring, also provide recommendations on advocacy and policy initiatives related to youth. The first Albanian index report on political, social and economic participation of youth was shared with youngsters and youth organizations, and decisionmakers at local level in Tirana, Shkodra and Durrësi. The feedback received in these roundtables will serve as input for the future index reports.
ICT Youth Camp Partners Albania invites young women and men aged 17-30 years old, students of general and professional high schools, university students and other young people interested in the field of information and communication technology to express their interest to participate in the “ICT Youth Camp“ to be organized in January 2017.
“ICT Youth Camp” is a training and mentoring 4-day program that aims to increase knowledge and skills of young women and men in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and developing a business plan on a business idea in the ICT field. Through an intensive and interactive program, participants will be introduced to information and knowledge on how to develop their ideas for products and services in the ICT field, learn about market strategy and will develop skills to sell the idea to potential investors. Interested applicants can download the Application Form here.
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY
The implementing partner organizations held their first meeting on October 6-7 in Belgrade, where they discussed the plan of action for the upcoming year. As part of the meeting, they visited one of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation’s projects in migrant day-center Miksaliste in Belgrade, which represents a great example of solidarity in times of crises.
Making the labour market work for young people in Albania Started in 2013, RisiAlbania is a youth employment project that focuses on achieving systemic changes in the Albanian labour market in order to improve access to employment opportunities for young women and men. RisiAlbania is a Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) project implemented by Helvetas Swiss Inter-cooperation and Partners Albania. Some of the main activities of the RisiAlbania for this period were: Risi Turistike Award 2016 for Korça On September 15, 2016 the Risi Turistike Award 2016 was launched by AIDA and Risi Albania. The Risi Turistike Award fosters the development on new touristic products, recognizes innovative tourism businesses ideas and supports them to become reality. Risi Turistike Award 2016 focused on the region of Korça, including Korça, Pogradec, Kolonja and Devoll. The winners of the competition were announced in a public event organized on December 17th in Korça.
Winners that will be supported by AIDA: - Albana Cule with the project “Creating unique souvenirs for Korca” - Imbleoni & Ndryshe with the project “Explore Pogradeci by bike” Winner for the most innovative idea that will be supported by other donors through the links of RisiAlbania and AIDA: - Centre for Development and Democratization of Institutions with the project “Transhumanca”
Better management of Labour Offices
Increase access of Albania`s BPO sector to foreign markets
Risi has supported the National Employment Service (NES) to develop the Manual of Functional and Structural Organization of the Local and Regional Employment Offices and to improve Job Matching processes through the employment Information System of Labor Offices (LO). The Manual is applicable for all Local and Regional Employment Offices and is considered as the most important tool for the effective management of the LO. It will greatly support the implementation of the new service delivery model, the biggest recent reform at LO level. Prior to the implementation of the Manual in all LOs, Risi has supported NES to train all the LO employees on the new structural and functional organization.
Risi finalized an agreement with the international experts of Avasant LLC specialized in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and IT Outsourcing in order to deliver capacity building to local support organizations in Business Process Outsourcing investment promotion, to attract foreign investors in Albania and to promote access of Albanian companies to foreign markets. In addition Risi signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Albanian Investment Development Agency and the Albanian Outsourcing Association (AOA) to ensure that potential foreign investors benefit from support the local support they need. AOA assisted new call centers that were set up by Albanian and Italian investors, offering counseling services regarding the regulatory framework, links to find the adequate physical infrastructure, local networking and market information. As a result, five new call centers were set up in Tirana employing 530 employees (59 % women).
Inspiring and influencing the young job seekers of Albania The survey that RisiAlbania undertook in March-June 2016 to explore the impact of its media work intervention has revealed impressive achievements and results. Besides high audience and viewership levels of over 110’000 people, the survey showed that over 78’000 people (71% of the audience) believe that the programs have changed their perception about jobs and careers and almost one in three or over 35’000 people, stated that this had resulted in them changing their employment seeking behavior. For more information and the latest news of RisiAlbania visit www.risialbania.al.
Partners Albania is an independent Albanian NPO established in 2001, working to support civil society and facilitate intersector cooperation in order to strengthen democratic institutions and advance economic development. Partners Albania is a member of Partners Network, a partnership of 19 independent, local organizations in Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East working for peaceful and democratic change.
Rruga Sulejman Delvina, N.18, H.8, Ap. 12, Njësia Bashkiake 5, 1022, Tirana, Albania, Kutia Postare (PO Box) 2418/1 Tel. Fax: 04 2254881 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.partnersalbania.org Follow Partners Albania in: Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube Visit the online platform of the Albanian NPOs and social enterprises
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY
Winner that will be supported by RisiAlbania: - DMO Korca with the project “Touring the city with panoramic train – a touristic novelty for Korça Region”