Translating Sustainable Development Goals into Real Impact: Empowering Albanian Communities in Partnership with USAID
October 2, 2023
How do we transform the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from mere words on paper into tangible improvements for the citizens of Albania? The SDGs, adopted by Albania and 192 other nations in 2015, provide the blueprint for creating a better and more just world for all.
As Albania and the world approach the 2030 deadline for their achievements, UNDP and partners work to turn the SDGs into a living reality for the people of Albania. The SDGs remain at the forefront of UNDP's daily agenda, guiding all our initiatives to contribute to their fulfilment.
In collaboration with USAID Albania, we walk our talk through our joint commitment in Durrës. Together, we are translating these goals into transformative actions for vulnerable communities—those at risk of being left behind.
Empowering Communities: USAID-Funded Resilience Centers are Making a Difference
Funded by USAID/Albania and implemented by UNDP, the Improving Community Resilience project is sparking hope by strengthening community resilience and paving the way for a better future for marginalized groups. At the core of the project are three resilience centers positioned in Durrës, Lezha, and Kurbin.
The Resilience Center in Durrës, operating in partnership with the Durrës Municipality and the civil society organization "Today for the Future," is providing vital integrated social services to marginalized communities in need.
A cornerstone of their support system is the mobile service initiative. So far, staff of the resilience center are providing social support services to seventy-two individuals as per their needs. This group encompasses people with disabilities, the elderly, disadvantaged children, youth, and individuals from socio-economically challenged families, including female heads of households.
Recognizing the importance of mental health and overall well-being, the project has also introduced psychological support services, speech therapy, and physiotherapy sessions for people–particularly children–with disabilities, with a keen focus on children.
Another crucial aspect of this project is its Afterschool Program, serving as a vital educational resource for youth from marginalized communities. It establishes a safe environment for children to attend classes after their regular school hours. This initiative offers children with individualized support for school assignments and helps them develop essential learning skills. 28 children are actively participating thus far, including children from ethnic minority groups and children with disabilities. This showcases the project's commitment to inclusivity and uplifting children facing unique challenges.
Additionally, the project is aiding victims of domestic violence, extending support to women and vulnerable children.
Moreover, the Resilience Center staff has launched the Employment Mentoring Program with a particular focus on empowering women. The Employment Mentoring Program links individuals with businesses and mentors them through the process or supports them with vocational training providing growth and opportunities. Currently, 10 vulnerable women, including women heads of households and victims of gender violence, are participating in this program.
Moving forward, the project will continue to align efforts with the Regional Employment Directorate and the Vocational Training Center, thus working towards a more prosperous and resilient community.
The USAID-Albania-funded Improving Community Resilience project is establishing a model of support for marginalized communities affected by exclusion, discrimination, and conflict. Implemented by UNDP, the project targets three municipalities: Durrës, Lezha, and Kurbin.
Stay tuned as we provide updates on how this project is profoundly impacting lives and helping Albania advance sustainable development goals.