Towards an effective dialogue

The National Youth Congress is an organization that aims to represent and network the interests and needs of young people by ensuring the active inclusion of young people in decision-making at all levels.

Since Albania is one of the countries with a relatively young average age in Europe, it is this social category that during the transition period has faced various challenges ranging from employment, emigration, education and involvement in the processes of decision-making.

Albanian youth grouped in political forums or civil society organizations became part of the consultation and drafting of the National Action Plan for Youth 2015 – 2020, which was subsequently approved by the Government with the Decision of the Council of Ministers no. 383, dated 6 May 2015.

This document served as the only legal basis for addressing the legal issues and their resolution referring to the objectives set out in this plan, in line with the European Union Youth Strategy.

The initiative “Towards a more effective dialogue” undertaken by the National Youth Congress with the support of the German Foundation Konrad Adenauer and the cooperation of the network of partner organizations aims to provide a transparent and objective reflection of youth policies undertaken by the Albanian government during 2017 – 2018, analyzing the work of ministries in relation to the objectives of the National Action Plan for Youth.

Findings and data gathered from this monitoring will be part of a series of discussion rounds with representatives of youth political forums, civil society and youth community at the local level. This debate aims to enhance accountability and transparency of youth policy funding on the one hand and legal empowerment through concrete recommendations for drafting the law on youth.

Monitoring the implementation of the National Action Plan on Youth and Youth Policies undertaken by the Government is of value not only to make government work transparent for young people in a year, but also to review the possibility of improving strategies in this area, as from 2016, the year when the National Youth Service passed the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, this plan was no longer monitored by the responsible state structures.

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Youth Activism Manual – A New Moment for Promoting Activism

Youth, often articulated as the most important target in development policy, is also the most vital part of society, which requires attention and insight into the present in order for the future to be safer and more advanced than the time left behind. From our several years of work as a National Youth Congress with active youth throughout Albania we have realized that their needs for information, capacity building, orientation and motivation are ongoing and the demand of young people for these is growing. 

Adapting knowledge about their profile and context remains a challenge for agents, institutions and organizations working with this target group. This manual on youth activism comes as a practical and sought-after answer to having a genuine youth activation guide on basic topics in Albanian. 

The manual contains four main modules, the first containing the baseline values and themes of activation; second, legal information on decision-making and tip documents; the third on the success and ultimate success profiles on organizational and financial sustainability.

The paper is also based on similar manuals that are internationally recognized and used in youth activism and youth empowerment such as Amnesty International, Advocate for Youth, Compass, Youth Peer Education Tooklit and others.  

This manual will be distributed in electronic and printed format, targeting youth organizations, other youth-focused organizations, informal groups, youth forums, student governments, activists, students etc., any actor aiming at exercising rights, strengthening democracy, empowerment of young people and influence on the policy cycle.

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Overview of youth policies in Albania

National Youth Congress in cooperation with all network organizations, but also with a focus on youth, as well as with the youth forums of political parties on International Day Youth, 12 August 2016 after a joint multi-month work, formally signed the Youth Resolution. The resolution is a political document that for the first time identifies and sets the interests of Albanian youth in front of the party interests or the subjects’ focus different. In the framework of the Youth Resource Initiative it was worked to strengthen and give the spirit of cooperation among young people beyond political beliefs or praise, their professional engagements or other characteristics that separate them in the 12 administrative circles in Albania.

In the first phase of this initiative over 400 young people regardless of the way they are involved in politics (political forums or civil society), political beliefs have discussed over issues and potential solutions on topics such as: Education, Youth Employment, Spaces, Public Safety, Social Security, EU Integration Issues. Discussions on the education system have occupied a large part of the discussions, bringing the matter important and complex but from the conclusions, despite political views emerges as a need for innovation and creativity in our education system, adaptation of professional study profiles according to local labor market needs and an improvement of infrastructure education. Unemployment among young people is a topic that has been attentive to each city and the emphasis is placed on the role of the state, central or local institutions, for the design of policies and initiatives to support youth entrepreneurship. Also, an important and indispensable element is the study of the labor market coupled with a structure of genuine career counseling in each educational cycle that continues to be a shortage creates confusion and consequences on the professional way of young people. The integration process for our country has been and is a long process but in turn needs one wider information on the population and more specifically on youth. This has been a problem that it is evidenced in each district as well as on the other hand a willingness of young people to be part of the process where their contribution is needed. Social Security comes as one of the most complex topics that has been discussed in each of the circles but that the common point has been institutionalization and strengthening of the role of social care service as well as more attention against security in social networks. And recently, Public Space is a topic that has had the same problematic demand in each area, where there is a lack of one side in the face of the demand for the addition or revitalization of existing ones. (Link to centerfold)

In 2007 we drafted the National Youth Strategy (2007-2013), through which the aim was to develop national integration strategies and policies for addressing of the problems faced by young people. In 2014 the first consultations were initiated by the side of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth with representatives of civil society, respectively leaders of youth organizations and activists who brought their input and selected the basic themes for building up the National Action Plan for Youth, which marked an important turning point in how the policy is aligning with this target group and vice versa.

The commitment of the National Action Plan for Youth for the period 2015-2020 consisted of building a basic document for policy co-ordination and implementation crosscutting on youth starting from employment and education, health protection and health social protection, culture, sport and volunteering, and the increase of its participation youth in democratic processes and political decision-making. Main Objectives of the Plan of The National Action for Youth are six. Encouragement and participation of young people in the process’s democratic decision-making, constitutes the first strategic objective and was intended not only creation of appropriate infrastructure for youth support, youth centers, and strengthening the structures and capacities of youth organizations and groups. Promote employing young people through effective labor market policies, improving staffing legal, support of “start-up” programs to expand the courses offered by schools vocational training and creating contests promote innovative ideas. Health, Sport and Environment, have a strategic objective to preserve and protect the health of young people through integrated health policies, coupled with massive sports culture. Education Youth, this objective was aimed at improving the curricula related to life-long learning, improving and strengthening the chain of education system. Social Protection, Activities of envisaged in this plan are aimed at strengthening the links of this system starting from capacity building and community interaction. Culture and volunteering, purpose of this objective consists in improving the opportunities for young people to organize time free activities and activities of different fields.

Several years of National Youth Congress based on our activism in twelve districts of Albania, closely touching the situation on the ground and running cooperating with local actors gave us an indication of having a vision on issues the most important development for the youth of this country, but also a clear view of at least in the last three years. Youth perceptions on policymaking, testimonies of the much-needed progress and the gap that lies between the planned ideal and the situation on the ground has made it even clearer our vision of our work. This vision they resemble the progress and resolution of political, economic and social cracks, but for it arrived at that point first need a realistic picture of the situation and secondly identify with the basis of the causes that bring the issues of the issues in question. In the wake of the Resolution Youth, as a document but also as an initiative, this study comes as the first look at its kind, documented and grounded, with the intent to bring a central and perceived passage local treatment of youth policies from conception to their implementation.

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