ALBANIA – The RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania together with the World Vision Albania are organizing the Youth Festival 2021 under the slogan “ACT4IMPACT”. The two-day festival is taking place in Tirana in a hybrid format, streamed online, and with live connections from different municipalities of Albania.
The Festival brings together youth and those working with youth in discussions about employment, youth development, entrepreneurship, social cohesion and inclusion. Together with representatives of the local and central government, donor entities, civil society organizations and businesses, youth will openly talk about the challenges they face.
During the first day, the discussions revolved around youth participation in decision-making, the accountability of local governments towards youth and the available mechanisms on local and regional level for youth to engage.
To hear the voices of young people across Albania, live connections with different municipalities of Albania where youth and representatives of the local government discussed key issues and challenges to youth development at the local level, were established. Youth urged stakeholders to take action and involve them as key actors in decision-making processes.
In continuation, the Executive Director of World Vision in Albania and Kosovo* Ms Eljona Elmazi and Deputy Secretary General of RYCO Mr Denis Piplaš invited youth to keep up their work and to always ask for accountability. They asked youth to keep being engaged and to participate in initiatives that empower them.
“Young people continue to raise their voice for more opportunities, for youth centers and recreational activities that help them improve their skills and more security. For us as an organization, the key focus will be: building the fundamental skills that young people need for the present and the future,” Mrs Eljona Boçe Elmazi, Executive Director of World Vision Albania emphasized.
“I invite all youth to be as much active as possible and to not hesitate to knock on RYCO’s door or on the doors of every organization here, and to be part of local and regional programs, where they can explore their potential and bring the desired change,” Deputy Secretary General of RYCO Mr Denis Piplaš added.
The highlight of the event was also a youth-led discussion panel, which welcomed and addressed questions from the young participants at the event.
The event followed with remarks from the General Director of the National Youth Agency Ms Kleina Kasanai, who underlined the importance of local youth councils and the Executive Director of the National Youth Congress Ms Dafina Peci focusing on the spirit and energy of youth in Albania who will soon be part of activities organized within the framework of Tirana Youth Capital’s title.
The Minister of State for Youth and Children in Albania Ms Bora Muzhaqi emphasized the critical importance of schools to jobs transition and the development of new skills for the future, whereas the General Director at the General Directorate of Policies and Development of Education and Sports, Ministry of Education and Sports in Albania Ms Zamira Gjini mentioned that one of the priorities in this regard will be the digitalization of the schools and educational curricula for youth.
Representative of the European Union Delegation to Tirana Ms Xheni Sinakoli stated that youth employment, engagement and empowerment should stand as key priority for governments.
In addition, RYCO Program Coordinator Mr Astrit Rexhepi and RYCO Project Coordinator Ms Ines Bulajić presented the new RYCO Superschools Exchange Scheme and the ROUTE WB6 program on regional volunteering as key opportunities that enable youth to grow both personally and professionally.
The second part of the Festival will take place on 29 September and it will focus on employment and self-employment, what the job market offers and how young people can navigate in it. To reach broader audiences across Albania, the event will be livestreamed on the official Facebook pages of World Vision Albania and RYCO.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.