- Country: Shkoder, Albania
- Works for: Women in Development
- Role in #women2030: carrying out gender assessments & preparing a shadow report to Albania’s 2018 National Voluntary Review on the implementation of SDGs
- Related SDGs: SDG 5, SDG 4, SDG6, SDG 7, SDG 10, SDG 17
I am the local coordinator at Women in Development Shkoder. My organisation has long experience working in the field of human rights, good governance and participatory governance, anti-corruption, gender issues, environmental and health issues, informal education, social and economic integration of marginalised groups (such as Roma). Equity and inclusion starts with prioritising basic services and recognizing the diverse needs of marginalised groups.
We work towards the implementation of SDGs with a gender equality perspective in communities with women, girls, men, young people in universities, children in schools, families, and strategic actors working on gender issues at the local, national and regional. This we do by providing training seminars and round tables, mentoring of NGOs, sub-granting of local civil society initiatives, raising community awareness, community capacity building, educational awareness campaigns, gender assessments, policy consultations with institutions, local actors and policy makers, writing shadow reports to our country’s voluntary national review of the SDGs implementation. Gender equality is not just a fundamental right, but an important condition for a more prosperous, sustainable, and peaceful world.
Conservative and patriarchal mentalities as a barrier to sustainable development…
Challenges encountered during our work to implement SDGs from a gender equality perspective have been numerous. Conservative and patriarchal mentalities dominate in the main part of our country, especially in rural, pre-urban and peripheral areas of cities. In conservative communities, women and girls have historically been treated as inferior, their opinion has not been seen as important, their desires and their decisions have not been taken into account and as a result they have not been part of the decision-making process either in their family or in society.
One of our experiences has been with the Roma and Egyptian communities which are coming from remote rural areas with serious socio-economic problems. Working with these target groups has always been a big challenge. Change, improvement of the quality of life for women and girls are crucial for both communities and society. The role of women is very important when it comes to childcare, nutrition, family care, hygiene, health care, etc. But when it comes to decision-making, schooling, civic participation etc., these rights are enjoyed only by the males of these communities. A good deal of teenage girls drop out of school after the age of 13 in order to prepare themselves for marriage, as is the wishes of their parents.
Influencing policies, decision-making and budgets in favour of gender equality is a process that has begun to be present in Albania but is certainly a great challenge and will require time of constant effort, awareness, capacity building, change in attitudes, and commitment by all parties until they achieve concrete results. Good governance with community participation and gender-based budgeting are a few examples of new concepts which are being implemented in Albania.
Working together with local actors to overcome structural barriers
The challenges we encounter in our day-to-day work are faced by working hard, passionately, with dedication, professionalism; focusing on problem solving, especially on the goals and the main objectives we are aiming to achieve. At the same time, the key to our success in overcoming these challenges is the spirit of cooperation with important local actors to address territorial factors hampering success, such as not having access to basic needs. Almost every commitment and action we work on together, combine energy and experiences.
Preparing a shadow report on behalf of women2030
Together with other NGOs, Women in Development this year have a commitment to drafting, preparing, presenting and publishing and independent “shadow” monitoring report. It is an alternative report to the Government of Albania’s voluntary national review, tracking the status of relevant SDGs and climate goals and indicators in our country. With regard to this activity, my organisation has already started working; we have carried out the women2030 gender assessment in Shkoder and Malesi e Madhe. Findings from this questionnaire, meetings with focus groups, consultative meetings with various different institutions, civilians, and other sources will be evaluated and reflected in our shadow report.
My role has been mainly to facilitate and coordinate the focus groups, the community assessments, and the consultative meetings. I also represented my organisation in the regional UNECE forum on sustainable development, where we discussed what is still left to be done in our region to achieve the SDGs. The agreed results of the forum are currently being drafted into a document by the UN and will be presented at the SDGs summit in New York this summer; at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF).
Want to learn more about women2030 and shadow reports?
Shadow reports are important as, together with the Government’s report, they paint the bigger picture as it draws on information generated from people living on the ground. These reports show where there is a lot of talk but little action and where the Government need to focus more to ensure that “no one is left behind” in the sustainable development agenda.