The conference “Social and gender aspects of local development priorities linked to SDGs” was hosted on March 6th in Shkoder, Albania by CSO “Women in development Shkoder” in cooperation with WECF with the goal to achieve the objective of the WOMEN 2030 program and to help local CSOs reach the objectives in the frame of their own activities, while at the same time combining forces for a common future. About 30 people from NGOs, municipalities and students attended the meeting to exchange their working experience on issues linked to topics like health and water, environment and gender, employment or education.
The conference started with an introduction from Johanna Hausmann from WECF, who welcomed the participants and introduced the WOMEN 2030 program emphasizing its relation to the SDGs and how gender equality is linked to all 17 SDGs. After clarifying the objective of the WOMEN 2030 program, which is to implement the SDGs with special focus on SDG 5 and SDG 13, the next step was to take a look on theoretical promises put in action – how far is Albania in implementing the SDGs with focus on gender equality?
A first overview of the social and gender aspects of local development priorities linked to SDGs was given by Bistra Mihaylova from WECF. Furthermore, the preliminary results of the Gender and SDG assessment conducted in Albania in the frame of the project “Women 2030” was presented by Fiorela Plani from “Women in Development Shkoder”. The report was conducted in two municipalities, Shkoder and Malesia, including urban, peri-urban and rural inhabitants, on a sample of 198 interviewees – of which 111 women (56%) and 87 men (44%). It shows a higher gender gap in peri-urban and rural area: women have less or no free time and work more hours than men – both in paid and unpaid work. Living conditions also got worse in peri-urban and rural area with less satisfactory sanitation. Women and girls face poor sanitation and MHM (menstrual hygiene management) is not accessible in public institutions. Highest priority by interviewees was given on kindergarten education and raising awareness on gender–based violence. Fiorela Plani stated, that the results show quite plainly, what the Albanian government will have to work on.
The following group session of organizations from the Shkoder region discussed the priorities and linked them to the SDGs. The discussion made clear, that SDG 5 (gender equity) was the most urgent issue for most organizations, followed by SDG 3 (health) and SDG 6 (water and sanitation). The issue of old and poorly managed water and sanitation facilities affecting livelihoods in rural and mountainous municipalities, where many people depend on agriculture and cattle, was addressed by the participants and showed the pressing need for local authorities to invest more in improving infrastructure (cracks, old piping, open water lines on mountain slopes) and water management (in some areas water loss amounts to 50% of the water supply), while at the same time improving water safety.
The second part of the conference focused on Gender Budgeting and tried to give answers to the question: Who decides on priorities and funds allocated to them?
In her presentation, IIzabella Barati from Hungary pointed out, that women and men still do not have equal access to health care and education and therefore don’t have equal parts in budget allocation. A lot of women still suffer under this inequality, as it directly affects not only their social status, but their health as well.
In the last session of the conference, the power of media was addressed by Natasha Dokovska from CSO “Journalist for human rights” from Macedonia, introducing how social media can be used as a powerful tool for awareness raising and promotion of work.
The central outcome of the conference is, that even though improvements and developments have been made in direction of implementing the SDGs in Albania, there is still a lot to do when it comes to gender equity and gender related issues linked to the SDGs. The participants agreed, that the current achievements are just a starting point in direction of more gender equality and therefore towards a healthier, more just and prosperous future for the people in Albania.
Find the Presentations of the meeting here: