Strengthening Local Democracy in Albania: Municipalities embrace LOD Methodology

UNDP Albania

January 4, 2024

In Albania, the collaboration between local governments and civil society organizations (CSOs) has achieved a new level as municipalities embrace the LOD methodology. Here's why!

While municipalities employ diverse mechanisms for fund distribution, the LOD methodology stands out for its emphasis on transparency and the active involvement of civil society in determining call priorities and evaluating project proposals. This ensures impartiality, transparency, and accountability in the selection of winning projects, strengthens local democracy, and brings better services for citizens.


"The LOD methodology, implemented by ReLOaD in the municipalities of Tirana, Shkodra, Lushnja, Saranda, Kavaja, Kukesi, Patosi, and Kamza, has received official approval from their respective municipal councils, which plays a crucial role in ensuring transparent fund allocation to civil society organizations, fostering mutual trust. Simultaneously, it optimizes the utilization of public funds for engaging civil society in addressing the developmental needs of local communities. Moreover, this unique methodology contributes to peaceful and inclusive societies, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions, in line with Albania EU integration process," says Juljan Papaproko, ReLOaD2 Project Manager.

The ReLOaD programme in Albania has delivered a series of capacity-building sessions to municipalities. These sessions provide them with LOD tools to finance civil society initiatives through local budgets and project cycle management. This endeavor aims to enhance their capabilities for transparently planning public funds and supporting civil society initiatives, ushering in a new era in the reinforcement of local democracy, transparency, and accountability.


The programme significantly contributes to achieving local development goals and priorities.

Beneficiary municipalities highly value the ReLOaD programme for its utility. Local government representatives from Kavaja, Lushnja, and Saranda elaborate on the reasons behind its effectiveness.

"Seven staff members from our municipality underwent comprehensive training on LOD methodology and project proposal writing, aligning with the European Union's recommendations in Project Cycle Management (PCM) and adhering to EU guidelines for evaluating project proposals. This milestone represents a significant advancement in our operational framework, poised to strengthen our efforts. Moreover, the acquired skills will play a vital role in our pursuit of EU integration and the attraction of additional EU funds. In fact, our municipality has successfully secured funding for nine projects through ReLOaD, all aligned with our local development priorities," underlined Arben Meta, Director of the Integration and Foreign Aid Coordination Unit in Kavaja Municipality.

LOD methodology is helping municipalities in budgeting local development based on local priorities and providing better social services to citizens by prioritizing projects in line with local needs. In Kavaja and Lushnja municipalities, the Needs Assessment and Case Referral Units are already yielding good results, offering citizens better and faster access to social services. LOD provided our municipality with tools for efficient spending of public funds," pointed out Ariola Isufaj Korreshi, General Director of Financial Management in Lushnja Municipality.

CSOs’ youth initiatives, such as the elaboration of youth local action plans, youth thematic forums, and support for women victims of gender based and domestic violence, have been implemented across the beneficiary municipalities.


In addition, "the training of CSOs staff by ReLOaD has contributed to strengthening their capacities, and as a result, they are able to prepare better proposals," as mentions Anila Pikuli, Director of the Social Care Directorate, Saranda Municipality.

In the coming months, Tirana and Shkodra municipalities, thanks to their advancement in applying the LOD methodology, will actively take on the role of mentors offering guidance and support to other municipalities. They will independently lead the implementation of calls for local CSOs,

During the next months, the municipalities of Tirana and Shkodra, thanks to their advancement in the application of LOD methodology, will be intensively engaged in mentoring the other municipalities, as they will independently implement the calls for local CSOs.

“The way LOD methodology was applied in these two municipalities after the first three calls run by ReLOaD will serve as a great example for other municipalities that will use this methodology for allocating funds to local civil society organizations,” says Anxhela Doku, Head of Priorities Delivery Unit at Tirana Municipality.

“As a mentor municipality, we are offering support to the municipalities embracing LOD to ensure quality in the process of planning and implementing projects and uniformity in the use of tools and documentation for the successful accomplishment and monitoring of projects and expenditure of funds allocated for CSOs," concludes Anxhela.

In addition to the local governments, LOD methodology has been successfully embraced by the national government’s institution as well.  A concrete example is the collaboration with the Minister of State for Youth and Children and the Nation Youth Agency. The first result of the adoption of the LOD methodology is the increased number of applications of the project proposals, which demonstrate the greater interest of the CSO sector in public funds. In the previous call for proposals, the National Youth Agency received 66 applications from the CSOs instead of 119 applications with the support of ReLOaD2.


The regional ReLOaD programme, funded by the European Union, promotes collaboration between local government and civil society. It emphasizes the creation of communication channels, positive collaborative experiences, and the involvement of civil society in every phase of project cycle management, contributing to increased trust in local government institutions.

The above-mentioned examples highlight the intrinsic link between the achievement of the Strategic Development Goals and requirements for EU accession, as well as building peaceful, just, and strong institutions, in line with the global agenda for sustainable development.

This methodology promises to act as a catalyst for fostering active engagement and collaboration between municipalities and civil society, extending far beyond the scope of the ReLOaD programme.