What We Do
Save the Children has a country program strategy in Albania which covers the period of 2021-2024. Our work promotes the rights of children and adolescents to education, protection and survival to a life that protects them from all forms of exploitation and violence. Our approach empowers and supports children to meaningfully increase their participation in school and community life and influence decisions through child rights lenses.
In Child Protection Our program promotes development of a functional Child Protection System in Albania with an emphasis on protecting children and youth through community based and family strengthening approaches. We have established protective networks and created spaces for children and youth to reduce risks of exploitation and abuse and strengthen their resilience. The communities are more aware in relation to child rights, positive parenting and keeping children safe, as result of awareness activities and parenting support programs. We are piloting a foster care intervention in support of children, in public residential institution aiming De-institutionalization of children through collaborating and developing capacities of local structures and other partners to design and offer qualitative alternative care services for children and their families.
Our program in Education and Early Childhood Care and Development reaches the most deprived children such as Roma/Egyptian and Children with Disabilities from early ages to adolescents (3-16 yrs). In partnership with the Ministry of Education, local education authorities, teachers, parents and Children’s Government, our program focuses on projects that promote children’s access and participation in public schools/kindergartens and reduce violence and discrimination against them. We support community based approaches and Early Childhood Care and Development intervention in rural areas and in most deprived communities to offer all children equal start in life. We lobby to improve Education laws, policies and practices which support and address children’s needs and creates the opportunity for all children to benefit from inclusive models, where they can learn, progress and get socially involved. We work with Universities to improve pre- services curricula focusing in mainstream principals of inclusion impacting teacher training at scale.
In Child Rights Governance We have achieved great impact related to child investment work while continue to develop further the capacities of child led groups and enhance collaboration with state actors. Save the Children has drawn attention of the state authorities to focus on the quality of services in key sectors such as education, health, social protection and juvenile justice, which does not yet meet regional and international standards. We encourage and support child and youth led activities and initiatives, to promote their views on child rights at the local, national and international level through the production of child-led monitoring reports. Strengthening state structures to monitor and implement Child Rights and monitor resource allocations for children is another important aspect of our intervention.
Our Humanitarian work aims to reduce the impact of disasters for children and their communities by working together with children, community members and responsible structures at all levels to develop plans of action and ensure effective responses to emergencies. During flooding emergencies in 2017, we distributed food packages and hygienic kits to the most affected families in seven districts in North and South Albania. After the devastating earthquake in 2019 (Central Albania), we responded immediately to support the communities affected, providing food and items such as blankets, sheets, beds, tents, living containers, school bags and learning materials for children as well as setting up Child Friendly Spaces. These spaces provide children and adolescents with a safe place to play and participate in activities, learn about their rights and support their psychosocial well-being and resilience.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we delivered food packages, hygienic kits, masks and disinfectants, tablets, educational materials, internet fees and cash transfers to the most affected children and families in 11 Albanian districts and supported children and adults with psychosocial services.
We also supported the Ministry of Education to adapt the education programme for all school children in grades 1-5 for maths and Albanian language subjects and empowered children and youth-led networks to develop their own #ProductiveAtHome campaign to stay safe and strong together. Our program work consists in reducing the impact of disasters for children and their communities in targeted areas. We cooperate with children community members and responsible structures at both local and central level, to develop plans of action and ensure effective response to emergencies. During flooding emergencies, we have immediately reacted and be on field close to communities affected, by providing Food and NFIs, as well following with setting up Child Friendly Spaces. We cooperate with agencies in humanitarian emergencies and monitor closely to ensure effective coordination with government, communities and children.
In Health and Nutrition we focus on ensuring that new-borns, mothers and children have access to quality primary health care services and nutrition, providing health education within communities and training health care workers in urban and rural areas. Our work has also contributed to improving the infrastructure of health facilities.
In collaboration with the World Health Organization, Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Ministry of Education and others, our programmes focus on supporting all primary school children in Albania and their families and communities, to engage in healthy lifestyle practices including eating a healthy, nutritional diet, doing physical activity and not smoking, drinking excessive alcohol or taking harmful drugs.
In our Child Poverty programmes,we train and empower children and youth, especially the most vulnerable groups such as Roma, on life skills and livelihood issues, refer them to professional vocational courses and assist them in finding a job, building their business plan and starting up their businesses. Recently, our work has involved reconstructing two agriculture and veterinary laboratories, conducting training sessions for staff in two vocational schools and strengthening the entrepreneurship curricula at vocational schools across the country. By developing youth knowledge and skills on entrepreneurship and business in this way, we will increase opportunities for young people to find sustainable employment, to make an independent living free from poverty and to thrive in the future.