Environmental services project. Supporting Development of Local Action Groups in Albania (LEADER Approach), Final Workshop Report
The final workshop of the LEADER project took place on the 9 August, 2019, at the Hotel Grand, in Tirana with the participation of 20 participants.
The Purpose of the meeting was sharing outputs and best practices under the project “Supporting Development of Local Action Groups in Albania”.
After the description of the project by the Europartners Development team, three representatives of the LAGs, Selim Lisha from LAG Pashtriku in Has, Astrit Hyseni from LAG Puka in Puka and Dhimiter Pina as the local coordinator of LAG Kolonja e Gjelber made their presentations on the LAG establishment, activities and challenges faced.
The National LAGs Coordinator/LEADER Approach, Ms. Adisa Bala made the presentation of the LEADER grants component and its operations. Two community representatives from each LAG presented their projects to be implemented through the LEADER grants scheme.
LAG “Pashtriku”- HAS MUNICIPALITY
1. LEADER Grant No.1-Project “Improvement of touristic alpine infrastructure and environmental education”
Grant Beneficiary: “Association for Environmental Protection and Tourism Development”
Priority as per LAG’s Strategy: Economic Development and Tourism. Improvement of alpine infrastructure.
Grant amount: (circa 3 million lekë),
Description of project: Project aims at development of Has area as an area with good touristic potentials. Building of paths, their marking and other touristic signals will bring about the increasing of local and foreign visitors, and also will encourage local inhabitants to better develop and improve accommodation conditions in their guesthouses, will improve provision of local products, will increase the service quality related to their visitors. Another expected positive impact related to completion of investment, will be the creation of joint touristic packages Has-Tropojë. The applicant should take into consideration the successful models of touristic signalling and marking of other areas in the northern part of Albania.
2. LEADER Grant No.4- Project “Construction KUZ”
Grant Beneficiary: Has Municipality.
Priority as per LAG’s Strategy: Preservation of Forests and Environment. Waste and sewage treatment.
Grant amount: (circa 2.3 million lekë),
Description of project: Project intends to intervene for the rehabilitation of general urban management namely addressing the elimination of a septic hole from the inhabited area of Krume town. Project satisfies the necessary technical requirements and its implementation represents an utmost urgency for the inhabitants of Krume, who are direct beneficiaries from such intervention.
LAG ‘Green Kolonja”- KOLONJA Municipality
1. LEADER Grant No. 1-Project “Kolonja, a touristic attraction”
Grant Beneficiary: Foundation “Agrinas”, Erseke.
Priority as per LAG’s Strategy: Economic Development and Tourism. Promotion of Agro tourism together with mountain and family tourism. Protection and promotion of natural assets as well as cultural and historical heritage.
Grant amount: (circa 3.3 million lekë),
Description of project: Project addresses the need to further develop an area which is considered to have great potentials for tourism development in Kolonja region. Promotion through promotional material, organization of local fair with local products, training of staff employed by tourism related businesses, cooperation with local bodies active in the region, etc, represent some of the expected positive effects for the area to be generated by this project’s implementation. Project intends to establish Local Tourism Committee. Projects is to cooperate with the Regional Tourism Committee which operates in Korca region aiming at a better coordination of efforts and definition and facing of common challenges in the area. The preparation of the Action Plan foreseen by the project will be based upon the approved strategy approved on tourism development for 2019-2023.
2. LEADER Grant No. 3 - Project “Improvement of forests and pastures”
Grant Beneficiary: Shoqata e Përdoruesve të Pyjeve dhe Kullotave “Gjelbërimi” Mollas.
Priority as per LAG’s Strategy: Protection of Forests and Environment. Forest management. Preservation of environment.
Grant amount: (circa 3.3 million lekë).
Description of project: Project aims at improvement of pasturing surfaces and intends to influence the increase of pasture capacities, improvement of pasture qualities as well as increasing the production of animal products; this is expected to impact positively the life quality of local inhabitants but also development of local agrotourism. With regard to technical documentation, technical requirements are duly fulfilled.
As the closing note EPD shared the few key points for the future of LEADER/CLLD in Albania
Recommendations for the LEADER implementing agencies:
- Funding is the stability factor for the LAG’s existence.
- Need to consolidate further the LAGs into the National rural development polices.
- Need to keep a moderate role of municipalities in the framework of LEADER.
- Need to facilitate bureaucratic and administrative burden at the local level for a better functioning of pilot LAGs.
- Need for institutionalising a LAGs National network. After registration as an Albanian Non-profit organisation, the LAGs are eligible to all kind of funds at the national and also regional level.
- Need to include the LAGs into the EU networks.
Recommendations for the LAGs
- Further use of social capital built in the frame of LAG’s capacity building activities (use of Rural Development Specialists and Community Animators)
- LAGs to play a greater role and become a factor in the frame of planning and implementation of development programmes in their relevant areas.
- Identification of funding alternatives during the initial stage of their existence.
- Promotion of success stories of pilot LAGs along with their specific features.
- Facilitation at local level of bureaucratic and administrative burden for a better functioning of pilot LAGs.
- Gender balance is a cross cutting approach.
Some of the key points for success of the LAG as a local ‘change agent’, drawn be the LAG practitioners in the EU, shared with the participants included:
- be accessible, available and flexible, have ambition and committed to making a difference,
- possess knowledge of the territory and have broad range of relevant experience, skills and knowledge, have experience in sustainable territorial development,
- achieve representativeness and influence in different sectors of the local community, be able to communicate the LAG’s and LDS objectives,
- create the sense of a team – be a team player, keep the balance between men and women, young and elder,
- be politically neutral, open minded, curious and have a holistic vision,
- be an agent of participative dialogue and exchange of ideas employing ability to cooperate with others,
- possess technical experience to support project development and knowledge of relevant regulations and legislation, administrative capacity to manage public funds,
- have strong communication skills: capacity to listen and understand, patience and objectiveness, negotiation skills and leadership,
- be able to work in a bottom-up approach: team working, networking, imagination for new solutions, ability to motivate others.