Environmental CSO Support in Albania (SENiOR-A and SENiOR II)

Environmental CSO Support in Albania (SENiOR-A and SENiOR II)

Source of funding

Sweden

Name of client/donor

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Overall project value

EUR 3,200,000

Date

April 2012 – November 2018

Beneficiary countries

Albania

Number of staff

20

The sustainability and professionalism of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Albania have long been affected by a lack of development funds and the absence of investments in skills, knowledge and infrastructure. The missions and activities of CSOs tend to be donor driven, rather than being driven by the CSOs themselves. These organisations typically have little influence on decision making and policy making, and many are unable to fulfil their role as watchdogs. Civil society organisations therefore need support to find new ways to make their voices heard. Cooperation among CSOs also needs to be strengthened, as does cooperation between CSOs, authorities, local governments and businesses.

The goal of the project, which is now in its second phase, is to strengthen environmental CSOs (ECSOs) in Albania and to give them the necessary skills to articulate community needs, provide services and support, and develop partnerships and networks that are able to address Albania’s environmental priorities and bring about progress towards sustainable development.

Support to ECSOs is provided in the form of grants, capacity building, networking, and a CSO viability programme. Various capacity-building tools are used to train civil society leaders and to strengthen cooperation among CSOs, as well as cooperation between authorities and civil society, in order to enhance the influence of CSOs in decision making on environmental and sustainable development issues

The first phase of the project, which ended in October 2015, helped to transform CSOs into democratic and rights-based institutional actors:

  • All 40 CSOs that participated in the organisational viability and organisational grants programmes now have appropriate infrastructure for their activities.
  • Over 50 percent of the participating CSOs have active websites, and over 40 percent have active social media channels where they post information about their activities.
  • The CSOs are specialised and apply a programme-based approach to address community needs in the field of sustainable development (four topic networks have been established and are addressing community needs in different areas of Albania in their specific field of expertise).
  • Functional cooperation has been established between CSOs and state actors. Environmental CSOs have been actively involved in government consultations with the public; four forums with line ministries have been established; and CSOs have been involved in the process of revitalising relations between the government and civil society.

During the second phase of the project, which will end in November 2018, the following activities are envisaged:

  • Training workshops tailored to the assessed needs and priorities of environmental CSOs.
  • Technical assistance to environmental CSOs to improve their sustainability, networking and internal democracy.
  • Technical assistance to ECSOs to increase their knowledge and level of expertise in different fields in the environmental sector.
  • Financial support in the form of operational grants focusing on improving ECSO functioning, through pilot projects in collaboration with local governments and addressing national priorities.
  • Joint forums with line ministries on environmental issues.
  • Informational and promotional events related to the programme.
  • CSO support
  • Capacity building
  • Networking