Opening up new prospect for the future through the vocational and social integration of women, Roma, migrants and young people

ACT member HEKS has been working in Albania since the beginning of the nineteen-nineties. By networking with strong partner organisations, including one of the four biggest NGOs in Albania, HEKS is succeeding in improving the lot of marginalised groups who are particularly adversely affected by the weak state and who are denied access to education, health care and earning opportunities.

One of the biggest challenges is the high level of migration, encompassing both internal movement to conurbations (Tirana, Durres, Fush Kruja) and migration abroad. Due to the adverse economic situation a third of the working population is forced to live abroad, often in poor conditions as illegal immigrants. Their absence opens the floodgates for a spate of social and economic problems. HEKS intervenes in strategic ways in an attempt to alleviate the welfare situation for those who stay behind and to improve the future prospects for migrants in Albania.

Whereas HEKS has concentrated on the urban centres in the past because of the high level of internal migration and the consequences this brings, it will increasingly move its focus to marginalised groups in rural areas in the coming years. The regional towns will also be included, however, particularly those in central and north Albania, as these are also adversely affected by the loss of skilled workers.

Aims, Points of Focus, Initiatives:

Over the next four years (2009-2012) HEKS would like to improve the social and economic conditions of marginalised sections of the population in Albania, such as the Roma community, migrants and women, who suffer under the patriarchal regime, but also of children and young people from socially disadvantaged families, especially in the regional towns and in rural areas. HEKS also intends to intensify its collaboration with church groups which promote tolerance.

The following aims are being pursued with the aid programme:

To encourage the rural population but also some marginalised urban groups by developing access to education, health and creating earning opportunities
To further civil society and the peaceful co-existence of the different people groups
To support the sustainable development of the partner institutions
To support the church partners (Interchurch Cooperation mandate)

HEKS is working in the following areas:

Facilitating access to loans and funds, and promoting vocational integration, education and state health care
Developing job opportunities, community centres and welfare services for marginalised groups and the rural population
Social and professional training with the focus on youth, women and Roma
Strengthening the local partner institutions, their capacities and fundraising strategies
Boosting the capacities of the Orthodox Church of Albania, its work and of a Protestant church still to be selected
Total programme cost 2015: CHF 65 000.