TIRANA – Within the framework of the 4th RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals supported by the European Union, the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) signed a contract with People in Focus and the Institute of Romani Culture in Albania on Tuesday, 23 February. The signing ceremony took place at the premises of the Europe House in Tirana and was attended by representatives of RYCO, the Delegation of the European Union to Albania and the awarded RYCO beneficiaries.
The projects supported within the 4th RYCO Open Call foster reconciliation and regional youth cooperation, as well as strengthening the capacities of the civil society to adapt to the COVID-19 environment. 129 applications were received which resulted in 400 partnerships throughout the region. The overall financial envelope for the Call was 333,000 Euro. The awarded projects will be implemented between February and October 2021.
The project of People in Focus aims to break tourism behaviour patterns and encourage people to explore new places in the region, whereas the one implemented by the Institute of Romani Culture in Albania aims to identify and exchange good practices in fighting discrimination against vulnerable and marginalised youth groups.
During the signing ceremony, the welcoming remarks were delivered by the Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Albania Mr Mario Mariani and Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania Mr Kreshnik Loka. The beneficiaries were also addressed by the RYCO Programme Manager Mr Besnik Vasolli.
“We believe in working more with youth and in integrating the youth dimension in every project. I was impressed by the number of applications for the Open Call and I congratulate RYCO and the grantees on the work done to create new regional networks and partnerships,” Mr Mario Mariani highlighted in his welcoming remarks.
While thanking the European Union for the support, Mr Loka focused on the importance of youth-friendly projects even in times of a pandemic. “Youth and regional collaboration are of great importance for making a positive impact together,” Mr Loka stated.
In continuation, project representatives Ms Armelia Barci from People in Focus and Mr Bledar Taho from the Institute of Romani Culture in Albania introduced their respective project goals and thanked RYCO and the EU for the support. Project representatives affirmed their willingness to make an impact and bring the youth of the region closer. “Our goal is to promote intercultural and cross-border dialogue, empower youth and foster cooperation with other organisations in the region which focus on similar objectives like ours,” Ms Barci and Mr Taho underlined in their remarks.