Improving Community Resilience (ICR)
“Improving Communities’ Resilience” (ICR) is a three-year project (2023-2026) to be implemented by UNDP Albania with funds from United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The overall objective of the ICR project is to support resilience-building of vulnerable communities, through a comprehensive approach that tackles identified drivers of exclusion, marginalization, discrimination, and violence. Through this project interventions integrated support service provided by local government bodies, in partnership with civil society actors, to the individuals in need will be modelled to help fulfil their mandate.
Overall, the project will seek to improve social cohesion, livelihoods and meet the needs of marginalized women and men in Albania (to include Albanian women and girls, persons with disabilities, religious and ethnic minorities, Afghan evacuees LGBTQIA+, etc). The program will seek to establish a sustainable working model that will help improve social cohesion, livelihoods and address the needs of vulnerable and marginalized communities in Albania.
Taking into consideration the existing challenges and the enormous concrete needs in this area as well as the ambitious objectives of the proposed program, UNDP will partner with the selected local government units as well as will work in close collaboration with Ministry of Health and Social Protection, relevant local public and non-public actors, local CSOs, UN agencies including UN Women, UNICEF, EU, international development partners, and media.
Partnership with CSOs with experience in providing integrated social care support services to the most vulnerable women and men will be key especially for interventions relevant for the three resilience centers that will be established and made functional in three selected municipalities.
Albania has embraced and affirmed that it is fully committed to implementing the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in the context of its national development and as part of its intended pathway toward accession with/ becoming a member of the European Union (EU). Over the years the Government of Albania (GoA) has adopted a range of significant strategies and action plans regarding further priorities for gender equality, women empowerment, social protection reform and for the promotion of social inclusion and has built the legal framework of the social protection system with the vision of providing integrated social services capable to ensure the inclusion of all vulnerable groups and persons. Nevertheless, the development of Albania’s systems for providing populations at risk of poverty or social exclusion with access to social protection, healthcare, employment skills and inclusive education has faced several challenges, the main ones being low levels of coverage, weak mechanisms for inclusivity, weak allocative and technical efficiency, and limited resources.
Over the recent years, Albania experienced two major external shocks within a short period of time: on 26 November 2019, Albania was hit by a very strong earthquake that caused damage to people and the economy, and since March 2020 the country has also been challenged by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly impacted on economic activity and social life in the country. Post pandemic situation has deepened pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political, and economic systems which in turn amplify the negative impact of this crisis.
The ICR project is relevant given the emerging concrete needs of the country’s most vulnerable populations and priorities of the GoA as it intends to empower the vulnerable women and men and the civil society organizations advocating their interests to become, together with the competent Albanian state structures at central and local level, and service providers (public and non-public), the drivers of change for resilience, enjoyment of human rights and equality, social cohesion and livelihoods.
Resilience centers that will be established in three selected municipalities will serve to further build knowledge on the model of social care integrated services with public and non-public partners at local level. Further on, these centers will serve as a convener and catalyst for adequately facing the challenges and finding adequate solutions with vulnerable people at the center. Finally, resilience centers will serve as reference models for elevation and strategic replication in other municipalities.
Main results are achieved focusing on:
- Institutional partnerships built between UNDP and three targeted municipalities, Durres, Kurbin and Lezha to ensure commitment and share responsibility in establishing the Resilience Centers (RCs).
- Three needs assessments conducted and mapping the local social care services for vulnerable populations developed and both widely validated with all relevant local stakeholders in Durres, Kurbin and Lezha municipalities.
- Responsible party agreements between UNDP and three selected CSOs reached, enabling partnering in this program in making the three resilient centers operational.
- Resilience Centers’ profile and typology of services defined based on inclusive consultation with national and local relevant actors and pursuant to the needs of vulnerable persons identified in each municipality.
- In pursuit of creating a model of support for vulnerable women and men in need affected by social exclusion, discrimination, conflict or abuse, Durres RC has been established and started functioning. Kurbin RC is in the final process of establishment.
- Durres and Kurbin municipalities started with youth engagement and empowerment activities with core values of equality, non-discrimination and respect for human rights mobilizing 134 girls and boys from vulnerable communities.
- 15 multi-sectorial professionals with increased capacities on case management standards and protocols at the Durres Resilience Center.
Local institutional response mechanisms (resilience centers) strengthened for promotion and protection of the rights, safety, and inclusion of marginalized women and men, in particular women and girls, affected by conflict, discrimination, and/or abuse, including support for survivors of all forms of gender-based violence.