I’m pleased to share with you our final project newsletter, bringing a successful close to the one hundred and five months of PLGP’s work in Albania including twenty-three months of our Women, Peace and Security (WPS) activities! Who would have thought when we launched PLGP in January 2012 that we would be still going in 2020? Over that time, we expanded from our core components of advancing decentralization and strengthening local governance and service delivery, into building community resiliency and sustainability in Albania through activities addressing social exclusion and the prevention of violent extremism, and empowering women and girls as forces of change in our communities.
As this month marks the completion of our Women, Peace & Security activities, this final newsletter highlights those achievements and results. I hope you enjoy the many articles showcasing achievements in women’s economic empowerment, equipping youth for a better future, supporting survivors of domestic abuse, empowerment through self-defense, strengthening the capacity of the National Coordination Center for Countering Violent Extremism, building strong foundations for future leaders, and enabling local governments to increase citizen support through fiscal planning.
I hope we’ve made a difference in the lives of women and men, girls and boys here in Albania….people like Trendafile, Greta, and other women from Kamza who have renewed confidence in their robust abilities as small business owners; the 433 girls and boys who participated in our youth boards and 113 who completed transformational self-defense trainings; the 662 local officials who now have higher awareness to address radicalization in their communities; and the 150 rural women and their families who have increased their profits and added stability to their lives through our economic development activities.
While we celebrate the progress that has been made, we should also be mindful of the many challenges ahead. We must promote the continued integration of gender equality goals into local governments’ policies and decision-making. We need to operationalize gender mainstreaming at the local level by ensuring that Gender Equality Officers are assigned in each municipality and are formally consulted in policy and decision-making processes. And finally, it is crucial that we continue advocating at the national level to ensure the adequate funding of local government services.
Through PLGP, USAID offers the first successful examples of how to embed WPS and PVE in concrete terms within the local governance and public administration reform discourse. This is also highly relevant as we plan for post-COVID recovery. If this global pandemic has taught us anything, it is the value of and need for strong, responsive, local governments and how these times of crisis affect women in particular. What we urge now is the replication, expansion, and scaling of these tested models, approaches, and methodologies by the GoA and Albanian donor community. Please make use of the wealth of PLGP tools, manuals, and guides, all freely accessible at www.plgp.al.
As we close our doors, the PLGP staff and I would like to thank our many partners from the national level staff, the Coordination Center for CVE, experts in the Ministry of Finance & Economy, the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth, members of Parliament and parliamentary committees, and our municipal partner mayors and municipal experts who work tirelessly to provide improved services to their citizens. Finally, I’d like to thank our amazing staff here at PLGP. The successes you’ve seen over the past 8+ years wouldn’t be possible without their hard work and dedication.
I hope after reading this final PLGP newsletter you’re inspired and see that positive change is possible in Albania!
Shumë faleminderit! (Thank you very much!)