Mary Ward Loreto Women Advice Centre (ACT)
In December 2016, MWL established the MWL Women Advice Centre in Tirana (ACT). The main objective of MWLW ACT is to provide advice to the women in need for the problems they face and improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives in the region and city of Tirana. The first step of setting up this service was conducting a needs assessment and creating a database of services offered by state institutions and NGO-s in Tirana. The outcome of this first stage is crucial to our work, since the strategy of Mary Ward Loreto is to gather preliminary information in order to better respond to the main needs for service and support. 50 women have visited the centre. They have been given information related to their issues and have been referred to relevant services. The main issues presented were: emergency sheltering or housing, health issues, employment advice, and psychological support. Different cases have attended free counselling sessions at the centre. MWLW ACT workers have been following up each case in order to make sure that they receive necessary services and to help them to become confident to ask for services and find solutions their problems. The biggest challenges have been poor public and non-public services for vulnerable communities and slow moving bureaucracy in the face of emergencies. Due to the collaboration with our partners, we were able to provide emergency help and ensure the safety of our clients at ACT.