Working together all of us can bring a prosperous world to children and young people.CRCA MOTIVATION IS DEFINED ON THE DICTUM:
By March 1997 Albania was in total turmoil and people had taken to arms across the country in protest against the corruption, an authoritarian government and lack of a functioning state. Seven years after the people had overthrown the communist regime from power, the country was still far from living in a democratic state, where human rights of all are respected.
Children were among the most affected from the violence and unrest that followed. Media reports claim that more than 150 children were killed accidentally by bullets and other types of ammunitions. It is under such a background that a dedicated group of lawyers, doctors and journalists, with a extensive working experience on human rights, decided to come together to establish Child Rights Centre Albania (CRCA). Three years ago we commemorated our 20thanniversary as one of the leading human rights organisations in the country and the Western Balkans. In 2015 we got full members of ECPAT International, which gave us the right to use prudly the name ECPAT Albania and be recognised as part of the largest network against child exploitation in the World.
23 years of work for the advancement of children and youth rights is quite a short and long time in the history of CSO’s in the Balkans, where there has never been a well-established civil society. Such an oxymoron can explain the works of almost every organisation working for children, youth, and human rights in Albania and the Balkans. Lacking democratic values, a strong education system, political elites and geo-political realities made Albania a “perfect” country for political experiments, which still today continue to affect the rights and the welfare of our citizens.
Much has happened to our organization during this period too. One of the largest achievements of our work and so many other CSO’s, colleagues and friends, public institutions, and donors, has been the great advancement of children and youth rights, despite that the country still faces the same challenges that faced in 1997. Political parties try to hold and control every aspect of public life almost to the same degree that the communist party did before it fell from power in the early ‘90s. Thanks to our extensive work, expertise, and networking, we have learned to deal with such challenges, by working with progressive members of the Parliament, Government and society by advocating every day for and on behalf of children. It has been hard but very rewarding.
We are proud together with the Parliament to have established the Child Rights Parliamentary Caucus (known as Friend’s of Children Parliamentary Group), while at the level of the Government a National Agency for Child Protection works to provide children and young people with free and affordable services. As of 1999, we were publicly asking the Government to establish a nationwide agency to have the power to protect the children. Now, this is a reality!
While for a long time we also have been advocating for the Government to fund well-established and supported public social services. Although we are yet far from that, the latest approved legislation gives us hope that the establishment of the national Social Fund – a request and recommendation of CRCA – will finally be used to fund free social services for children and young people in need across Albania.
In 1998 we openned of the first time ever in the history of social and public services in Albania: The Albanian National Child Helpline (ALO 116-111). ALO 116 was established and almost 10 years later more than half a million children have been able to share their stories and ask for counseling. More than 13,000 children and young people have asked for protection and assistance from public services. Today ALO 116-111 is an independent organization and we work together with them to make it possible that no child is left alone when they need and ask for help. In 2015 we established the national hotline www.ISIGURT.AL – where more than 300 children and over 10,000 pages of illegal and inappropriate materials have been reported and removed.
CRCA/ECPAT Albania has an enormous positive record when it comes to proposing new laws and policies for children and young people. Thanks to our joint work with the Parliament, several Ministries and legal experts we have brought the Albanian legislation in line with international child rights norms. Children today are better protected by Criminal and child rights law, social services and many other laws related to them.
Our work for youth has increased and extended from year to year. Together with our partners we have proudly supported the empowerment of youth NGOs to become the voice of youth and promote youth policies at local and central government. Our model of Tirana Youth in Leadership and later the support for Albanian National Youth Network (ANYN) has produced tangible results in promotion of youth rights across many policies and level of governments. Today ANYN is the major youth network widely recognised for its advocacy work on behalf of youth in Albania.
We are also proud to have supported the establishment for the first time ever in Albania the Women’s Alliance and Youth Alliance of Members of city council in Tirana, a model that now has been implemented over more than 8 municipalities across Albania. Meanwhile as of 2005 successfully with the Coalition for Women and Youth in Politics, we supported the legislation that required at least 30% quota for women representation in electoral lists. Thanks to our huge efforts today we have more than 30 women MPs in the Parliament, compare to only 7 when we started our work.
Donors and funders support is very important for our work to achieve the aims and goals that we have set in our organization. Thanks to their support we have been able to implement successfully, together with the amazing staff and experts, the initiatives and results that we have achieved. Today we are members of major networks such as ECPAT International, Global Missing Children Network, Eurochild, Albanian Coalition for Child Education, etc. Meanwhile, our Human Rights House concept has brought us together with many other major NGOs working to advance human rights in Albania.
In our 20th anniversary we also introduced a new logo of the organisation, which shows a child or young person freely and fully enjoying his/her rights. This is what we fight every day for! Equality, respect, advancement for children and young people! In our 25th year we have updated our logo to show the years of our work and dedication to chilren and youth rights in Albania.
|OUR AREAS OF WORK, CAPACITIES AND COMPETENCIES|
Areas of work:
– Child Rights;
– Youth rights;
– Women, minorities and LGBTI rights.
Geographical coverage: NATIONAL
Regions where we work (2020): Tirana, Elbasan, Korça, Durrës, Shkodër, Peshkopi, Gjirokastër.
– Public Policy;
– Capacity building;
– Research and information;
– Effective models of care and protection.
– Ability to influence decisions;
– Information and communication;
OUR MAJOR PROGRAMMES AND ACHIEVEMENTS (1997 – 2022)
For children and youth:
– Establishment of the National Child Helpline in Albania – is the most successful initiative of CRCA/ECPAT Albania. Starting from 2008 and onwards the children and young people in Albania have a 24-free toll number to call for help, support and counselling. As of 2015 the Child Helpline became an independent organisation, having answered by that time, around 700,000 phone calls of children, parents and citizens;
– National Centre for Protection of Children and Youth from Sexual Abuse in Albania is the latest initiative of CRCA/ECPAT Albania, which aims to support victims of sexual abuse and exploitation with services modelled accordingly to the Barnahus Model. This is the 2nd year of the initiative and so far we have been able to protect 18 victims of abuse, 80% of them young girls and women.
– Protection of Children from ONLINE Abuse and Exploitation aims at protecting children from all the dangers they face online through the establishment of a hotline: National Platform for Child Safety Online (www.ISIGURT.al) now in its 5th year of support. Since its opening more than 300 children, mostly young girls and women, have been protected from online abuse and exploitation;
– Free Legal Aid Clinic for Children and Youth, is the oldest service of CRCA/ECPAT Albania and so far has supported with free legal services more than 500 vulnerable children, youth and young women, in need of legal representation or legal counselling. Since 2010, FLA offers integrated services also for ALO 116-111, Albanian National Child Helpline and PINK Embassy Albania;
– National Centre for Missing Children in Albania is a joint service of CRCA/ECPAT International and ALO 116-111, combining capacities of both organisations to find, recover and support missing children and their families. The service is running since 2010 and it advocates for better protection of children and young people in Albania, especially those who are abducted or missing;
– Promotion of children and youth rights is one of core programmes of the organisation. Although a lot has been done to improve the respect of children and youth rights, still they face difficulties to be accepted by society as bearer of individual rights. In this regard we have been providing a wide range of training courses for the Albanian Government, ILO-Turin, Kosovo Government, UNICEF Kosovo, UNDP Albania and Kosovo, Save the Children Alliance (Kosovo), Save the Children Denmark (Albania and Kosovo), and World Vision (Kosovo), SEECRAN etc.
– Tirana Youth Parliament (Tirana, Kavaje, Peshkopi), brings together all the high schools students aged between 15-19 years of age to identify their priorities, to report on their situation and to draft motion, policy papers, petitions, info sheets etc., in order to influence the child and youth rights policies and legislation. The Youth Parliament organises every year the Albanian Parliament Model, which aims to introduce young people to the workings of the highest law-making institution in Albania. The Youth Parliament speaks on behalf of 30,000 young people in Albania;
– Child Rights Caucus at the Albanian Parliament. In 2013 we supported the Albanian Parliament and several dedicated MPs to establish the Child Rights Parliamentary Caucus (Grupi Parlamentar Miqte e Femijeve) which today serves as a point of reference for promotion of accountability of the Government on child rights.
– Juvenile Justice Rehabilitation and Reintegration Centre is one of the oldest running programmes in the organisation, since its establishment in 1997. Its focus more recently has been the implementation of the Juveniles Code and its Action Plan, while building a new model of re-integration. The programme its accredited for achieving several milestones: in 2001 for the separation of minors from adults in prisons; in 2006-8 for the establishment of the procedures and personnel of the first ever juvenile prison in Albania; and in 2010 for proposing the U-Turn method for juveniles rehabilitation.
– Capacity building, information and education constitute major parts of CRCA Albania work. In 2017, CRCA Albania was accredited by the Ministry of Education and its Institute for the Development of Education, as a national agency to provide accredited training modules and training courses in the country on two major areas: rights of the child and child protection from exploitation. Since our establishment more than 3000 public officials have been trained on the rights of children and youth cross Albania.
– In 2018 we established Child and Youth Policy Hub, a national think-tank that gathers some of the best experts on the rights of children and youth to work and advance their studies in this area, in order to bring more sound knowledge in the policy and legislative making process, including EU integration of Albania. CRCA/ECPAT Albania have supported more than 30 research, surveys and reports on children and youth in Albania, including the annual reports: Youth in Albania, Internet Safety Report, Children in Albania etc;
– International BECAN Research on Violence against Children in Albania and Western Balkans. The research funded by European Union FP7 Research Programme, was the first large scale research on the issue, comprising quantitative methods, case-based studies with analyses of policy and legislation in Albania and eight other countries. The research findings served to change considerably the national policy and legislation in relation to violence against children, with an immense impact on the Law for Pre-Education in Albania (2013), National Policy for Child Rights and Protection (2017) and Law on Child Rights in Albania (2017).
– Protection of Children from Trafficking and Exploitation was a joint-initiative of CRCA/ECPAT Albania in coordination with ECPAT International focused on capacity building of police authority and social services in Albania. At least 200 police officers and caregivers across the country, produce monitoring reports on the situation of child trafficking and support new national policies on the elimination of child trafficking;
– Support the Albanian National Youth Network (ANYN) is a major contribution of CRCA/ECPAT Albania for the youth CSOs and movement to become active and influence policies, legislation and programmes for youth in Albania. ANYN is the largest youth network in Albania and every year organises the National Youth NGO Fair, National Youth Summit, Girls Summit, National Report “Youth in Albania” etc.
For women, minorities and LGBTI rights:
– Support setting up a Gender quota in Albania – aimed at introducing legal amendments to the law on gender equality and Electoral Code of Albania. This 12-year programme, achieved within the 2nd year to establish a 30% quota for women, while at the end of it achieved 50% gender quota equality, between men and women in local elections;
– Women empowerment to participate in political processes of Albania – so far has supported more than 2000 women and girls with training and coaching on political processes, how the parliament works, political parties, good governance, election organisation etc;
– Women’s Alliance of Municipality of Tirana was the first ever bi-partisan political caucus of women elected as city hall councillors with the aim to support and advance women rights and their participation in decision-making in Tirana Municipality;
– Girls Summit in Albania is the newest initiative aiming to support and strengthen girl’s participation in politics and decision-making. The girls are between 14-21 years old and they participate in a one-year programme of coaching and training that aims to prepare them for becoming future leaders and politicians;
– Support for the Coalition for the Promotion of Women, Youth and Minorities in Politics, it is focused mainly in strengthening capacities of the women, youth and minorities CSO’s in Albania to support their knowledge and consequently advocacy skills to influence public policies and legislation related to their priority issues;
– Roma Mothers Employment Programme, it aims to train and coach every year at least 30-40 Roma mothers to gain skills for employment or establish their own business, as a prerequisite to fight women unemployment and poverty;
– CEDAW and other UN conventions Alternative Reporting – this has been one of the major achievements in terms of capacity building of women NGOs in Albania to understand human rights treaty reporting system and draft first ever CEDAW Alternative report. The initiative has recently supported NGO’s to draft their UPR Alternative Report etc;
– Promotion of LGBTI Rights in Albania is one of the most challenging programmes and yet one of the most successful ones. The programme started in early 2009 with small actions in introducing LGBTI rights concepts through advocacy actions, capacity building and public information campaigns. In its 5th year the programme supported the organisation of the first ever LGBTI Pride in Albania (2014). Currently the programme is focused in supporting public policy implementation at national and local level, support national police authority with tools and knowledge on how to identify and persecute hate crimes in Albania and support for LGBTI community through services, information and advocacy;
– National Report “Sexual Crimes against Children and Youth in Albania” is a 10-year review of data and information on how the law enforcement and justice system have followed up and sentenced sexual crimes against women and children in Albania, what have been the failures, profile of the victims etc. The report published in late 2019 is a seminal work based on data and statistics from Police, Prosecutor’s Office and Courts in Albania.
– “Every Roma Child in Kindergarten”, CRCA/ECPAT Albania programme supported by UNICEF, Swiss and Austrian development agencies, aiming to integrate Roma children into kindergartens and mandatory education. Within a period of three years more than 1000 Roma children were fully integrated in kindergartens and schools, while more than 200 Roma parents were assisted with employment opportunities and vocational training. During programme implementation the attendance of the formal education increased by 61 percent.
– Empower youth from minorities’ to participate in politics and decision-making processes – has been a long-running programme of CRCA/ECPAT Albania supported by SIDA Sweden, aiming to increase the learning and knowledge on political processes, governance, political parties and systems, among youth from all the minorities in Albania.
– Contribute to drafting laws and policies on Domestic Violence, Protection from Discrimination, Gender Equality, Criminal Code, Labour Code, Social Services, Child Protection, Free legal aid etc.