Very honorable, Ambassador of Germany in Albania, Mr. Peter Zingraf,
Very honorable representative of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr. Albert Nikolla,
Dear representatives of local government, local partners, civil society organizations, human rights activists and colleagues! Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome!
Thank you for joining the National Virtual Conference: “Findings and Recommendations – the road ahead”. We are here today to present the evaluation report related to the project, “Prevention of violence against women before it happens – Supporting the cases of violence during the covid-19 pandemic”, implemented in 12 municipalities of Albania, by Refleksione Women Association, in partnership with the Center for Evaluation, Management and Training, (CEMT), supported by the German Embassy, Tirana.
This is a project where Reflesione implementing staff, our local partners and project beneficiaries groups, women communities and local media challenged the pandemic after the three months quarantine of the last year. Within 9 months July 2020 – March 2021 of the ongoing covid 19- pandemic, it was generated that synergy among all above mentioned groups that made possible the implementation in the ground of the project activities. All parties involved have strictly respected the pandemic restriction such as the social distancing and mandatory protocols by Albania health authorities.
Many thanks to all for their dedication and determination in implementing this innovative project in the difficult circumstances, I would say, without any previous precedent of the ongoing pandemic.To achieve the project objectives and respond to these circumstances, the project combined raising awareness on the women human rights girls with their legal education providing knowledge on improved laws against violence with local media training and psychological support to overcome the trauma caused by domestic violence during the quarantine and ongoing pandemic.
To successfully implement the set of activities our implementing staff and local partners have strengthened cooperation among them with a common single goal: preventing violence against women, changing the mentality, reporting violence and rehabilitating the mental health of violence survivors.
Our innovative approach to combine the activities proved to be successful. It was received with interest by project beneficiary groups: more than 1000 women and girls, from rural and urban communities in 12 municipalities – Berat, Elbasan, Fier, Lezha, Lushnja, Kavaja, Korca, Përmet, Pogradec, Roskovec, Shkodra, Vlora – participated in awareness-raising activities and acquired information and knowledge on the improved legal framework toface violence legally. They received qualified support from project experts in psychology, who during the psycological sessions have advised them how to find ways out of stress, depression, anxiety and recover the damages of their mental health.
The project results are tangible regardig capacity building of the Coordinated Referral Mechanisms to address cases of violence, especially through information and training of the Social Administrators in the target municipalities’ Administrative Units, appointed after the Local Election 2019..
Local journalists were trained to have a positive approach to women human rights and not to blame women and girls for violence against them by violent and abusive men. About 9 thousand viewers in 12 municipalities have watched TV talk shows and video spots, produced in the framework of this project, increasing the number of direct and indirect beneficiaries from project activities to more than 20 thousand people. The campaign “You are not alone ”dedicated to victims of domestic violence during the quarantine and ongoing pandemic reached over 12 thousand women and girls.
I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to express Refleksione and its local partners heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the German Embassy, Tirana for its continued support of such major , inspiring causes as gender equality, women’s rights and a life without violence are.
Germany continues to be the largest bilateral donor to Albania, aiming to improve the living conditions of citizens, where the rights of women, who constitute the half of our human capital is not only a major objective, but a key factor for the sustainable development of the country.
The findings and recommendations of the evaluation report, which will be presented to you today are very important for the road ahead and the continuation of interventions in a new context: we hope that in June, the EU accession negotiations with Albania will be opened and the reforms will take new impetus, especially the justice reform. We do hope to found ourselves in a new context where the fundamental principles and values of gender equality and women human rights in EU will be considered like this in Albania too.
This project is without doubt a real success story in covid – 19 pandemic times.
But its success doesn’t change the fact that violence against women in Albania continues to remain largely invisible or neglected. The case that happened recently in Fier municipality where the husband took his wife’s life life by stabbing her is a big alarm bell to find new, more effective strategies and interventions to give an end the women murdering by men.
The new parliament and government that will formed after the April 25th elections should increase their concrete commitments to strengthen support mechanisms for survivors of violence, ensure their integration into society and women economic empowerment along with legal punishment of perpetrators and their rehabilitation as well.