This year, the social business aspect of our project has grown exponentially. This year, 102 women have been involved in our economic empowerment activities; these include craft making and education in English for more economic prospects. To best facilitate this expansion, MWL is looking forward to the launch of a project specific to MWL Social Businesses. This development will focus on our three main locations; Kallmet, Tropoje, and a new shop in Tirana. This will allow MWL to better empower our women and give more opportunity.
During this year 216 women were involved and 35,700 EUR were generated as an income:
We are in the process of consolidating the 16 existing mini–businesses run by women and supporting them to carry out individually. In these businesses there are 45 self-employed women. The tourist season raised the income and provided a ready market. The MWL Social business provided the sales table for 10 of the women who produce artisan and tailoring products. The other 6 businesses, which are in the agriculture and livestock raising field, are ongoing and have established their regular customers. This year was the conclusion of the supervision phase.
Tourism and the guesthouse programme had a training for employment methodology and is being piloted in the region of Tropoja with the Hotels and guesthouses of Valbona. In this programme a network has evolved of action initiated by MWL and included the Ministry of Finance, The National Agency of Tourism, the Municipality of Tropoja, 3 local and national NGO’s, and three business owners and representatives of 24 guesthouses in Valbona Valley.
The programme had as its aim vocational training and training for employment with 28 women and youth. This training was focused on working in hotels and restaurants as waiters, cooks, and maids. From this activity, 23 of the participants were employed directly after the training, for seasonal work. In collaboration with the Businesses and the Labor office in Tropoja, the next training is being prepared for next year’s winter season. The demand for employment is getting higher with the rise of tourism in Albania.
This year in Shendelli, 52 women were employed during the season from May – September 2018. From these young women, 3 of them earned the money for continuing their studies in Tirana University. 26 young women from Tropoja and Shendelli are being trained in English language to increase their level of knowledge and be more easily employed at the tourist sites.
12 women from Hot i Ri are employed in Shkodra City through the negotiation of MWL’s key worker. 3 other women are employed in the areas of Lezha and Fier and 23 women from Lezha were vocationally trained in Tailoring. The MWL social workers continue to keep contact with the 90 women who are employed for advice with the labor code and to prevent labor exploitation. With the rapid growth of the Social Business, MWL is moving forward into the development of a separate project. This year, a sales agent was employed in preparation for this growth and expansion, in order to make the market assessment and to enlarge the clientele for the Mary Ward Loreto Social Business. Market research, testing of the products, collaboration development, and business planning is all moving forward at an exciting rate.