This project is funded by European Union under the PACT (Partners Against Corruption Together) project directed by ANTTARC (Albanian National Training and Technical Assistance Resource Center) and managed by Mary Ward Loreto in the framework of Mary Ward Loreto Youth project.
The overall objective of this project is to train the youth to represent their communities within the structures of the institution of the Municipality in Lezha. The focus is to transform this entity into a trustworthy and efficient mechanism for problem solving and best practice. In this way it is hoped that unlawful and inappropriate behaviour within local government will be reduced.
The project has reached its mid-term implementation phase in the communities of Lezha. Throughout these 5 months the youth participating in the project, have been introduced to the institutional environment of Lezha and have become an integral part of the day-to-day routine of the Municipality and its dependent institutions. Moreover, the project has established a youth group which has begun the fellowship journey within the Municipality and the group has now documented its progress and increase of knowledge. This experience is enriching and is contributing to a more qualitative relationship between Civil Society as representatives of the community and the Local Government, as the main policy maker in the region.
Sixteen youth have been recruited from the project to join the experience of the Fellowship. Ahead of this, MWL has discussed and negotiated with the Municipality the importance of their participation in this project. The Municipality’s attitude has been accepting and very optimistic and the MWL project leaders have agreed that the Municipality has been a very good partner who has understood the symbolic importance of the project. Youth have felt welcomed and they have expressed this during the periodical reflection meetings with the Mary Ward Loreto youth leaders. They have had opportunities to increase their knowledge and skills, including the services offered to them within the Municipality. These have included privileges that the Local Government offers youth, owning this as one of the strategic priorities of the Municipality. They have now more connections, more information and more access, which leads to improved quality of participation for these youth in public life and also includes opportunities to be more engaged locally in transformation and change and to have a greater chance of future employment.
This is the first year that MWL is working with the Youth Focus Group Programme in Rreshen. The intervention, in this really poor area, is an answer to the insistent invitation of our collaborators who work with and for the youth. 17 young people are now part of the programme. They have selected and have been registered in the chosen Vocational training courses.
The work has been initiated and developed with the collaboration of many RC Church representatives, especially the sisters from Rreshen and Rubik, the parish priest of Rreshen and the Vocational Training Centre “Saint Joseph” in Rreshen.
MWL has an agreement with the Vocational training Centre “Saint Joseph” in Rreshen and there are 12 of our youngsters doing the vocational training in this school. The school has opened the courses according to our needs, because they are functioning as a Professional High School and till now could not open vocational training courses as the costs would be too high. The youth could not afford the expenses for these courses. Through the project funding we could cover the expenses for the use of the laboratories and the payment of the instructors. Also, through this agreement we have made it possible that another 20 young people, who are not members of the Focus Group, could follow free Vocational training in the centre.
Another 5 young people are registered in Tirana, because the vocational training they wanted to do cannot be organized in Rreshen. They will start the course on March 15th in one of the statutory vocational training centres in Tirana.
We aim to inspire these young people through human development and economic empowerment activities. It is hoped that they can be ready to answer another call: to contribute and build the future in their own town.
On February 16th seven young people from Lagje Mirdita, who are being trained as leaders, entertained around 30 children. These children live on the streets and frequent the Little Angels, a community centre managed by the NGO Shkej. The leaders training is coordinated by the MWL staff, Artemisa Aliaj and Zana Guri. This was a wonderful afternoon for each of the budding youth leaders. They had so much fun and shared many experiences. Youngsters from Lagje Miredita were committed during the week to collecting clothes for the little ones from their community. These clothes were delivered to the Little Angel Ngo for children. The energizing sessions were really entertaining. The young people from Lagje Miredita enjoyed every one of the exercises. What a pleasure to be there!
The Leadership Programme, developed by the MWL Youth Project, began with a new innovation this year. Two psychology students volunteered for individual psychological support with young people. At this age young people experience a series of complex emotions that easily affect their own experiences of themselves and the surrounding world. These volunteer psychology students have been trying to help these youngsters identify and cope with their emotions. They have held individual meetings with some of the young people. The main challenge for these young people has been to accept the need for counseling. Initially they were suspicious and confused by the presence of these volunteers. The expectation of the volunteers were challenged, but over time their expectations were adapted to the background of the young people. Strategies have been changed and now one of the three volunteer psychologists is offering the group the possibility to work on their human development within the context of group work.
Through these meetings they have come to know each other. The work is dynamic. All of them have great dreams and aspirations to make something useful of themselves and their family, with whom they are very connected. Yet, the environment in which they live, the Mirdite neighborhood, does not provide the conditions for their dreams to come to birth. These young people think that leaving their community will provide the best opportunity for their desires and dreams to be realized. This is sad as they have a happy life in their community and belong to this place.