From January 2016, the Association of Women with Social Problems ( today Association Gender, Peace and Security), the Swedish partner organization "Operation 1325" and “Albanian Women Empowerment Network” (AWEN), have been intensively engaged in the implementation of the project "Resolution 1325 - Women Rights from Concept to the Albanian Reality". The initiative undertaken by the Association was the result of a bitter reality faced by women and girls in Albania. Although not a country in armed conflict, the country's past "is colored with serious and systematic human rights violations", while today is still unstable. The blood feuds still work as source of justice among the people in conflict. Domestic violence adds more and more women to its list of victims. Uncertainty about life, health, family and more is very deep for the whole society. The statistics are stubborn and they talk about an Albanian reality which kills you slowly. This reality not only kills lives, but the hopes, while institutions, the links of a chain of public structures are broken which should be in support of women and their families.
Resolution 1325 of the United Nations Security Council (UNSCR 1325) was almost unknown in the country, while its core concepts, Woman, Peace and Security, are an open invitation for attention and implementation. A questionnaire was carried out in the three districts of the country where the implementation of this project was initiated with leaders and representatives of the local government of both levels (municipality and district councils), public institutions, police, prosecutors and courts, representatives and leaders of civil society, journalists and citizens. The questionnaire highlighted a general lack of knowledge on Resolution 1325 and its role as a powerful instrument that can mobilize stakeholders and bring change.
The results served as a source for a basic study and the report "Albanian Enforcement of UNSCR 1325", providing a clear picture of the recognition of the Resolution and its principles, access of key institutions regarding gender and security causes, identification of obstacles and real opportunities for understanding and implementing the Resolution in our country. In parallel, a monitoring and evaluation plan for the process was drafted.
This beginning culminated by a grand opening event in Tirana, which took place on 4th of March of that year, on the eve of the International Women's Day. The event was attended by High Representatives of Central and Local Government, Civil Society and Media. The project received the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; in addition, it received a second blessing, the simultaneous attention of many actors for its responsible and positive continuation. Also, the activity had widespread media coverage, delivering clear messages about the Resolution and its importance to the public.
The association, not wishing to act as a sole actor, had intended not only to strengthen co-operation with other women's associations, but also with the institutions and the authorities in the regions where they operate. This was done by actively engaging the project. The round-tables and training sites within the project were turned into discussions, debates and better understanding of the problems faced for the implementation of the Albanian and international legislation s in the protection of women and their rights and freedoms and deepen their conviction on the importance of the implementation of the Resolution.
It was not believed until then that the thirst for deepening the knowledge over the Resolution and its benefits would be so great. Although skeptical at first the participants in a number of activities, training's and discussions quickly became part of the project that was able to harmonize its objectives with the problems, the specific realities of each circuit making the interest groups regardless of education, position, race, political and regional affiliation to feel actively involved.
The project found widespread support from all the actors involved, especially from the leaders of three districts of Durres, Elbasan and Korçe. The project was expanded in the districts of Tirana, Shkoder, Lezhe, Kukes, Berat and Vlore as well, thanks to the support of the Fund for Gender Equality UN Women.
Challenges were not lacking, since nothing comes in silver plates, but the Association and its staff with the support and expertise of the Swedish partner association managed them well.
The Association wishes to express its full appreciation to the Fund for Gender Equality UN Women and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tirana and the Ambassador Her Excellency Mrs. Dewi van de Weerd for the support of this project and the concrete and active assistance in its progress.
Part of this is the creation of this non-exhaustive publication by Mrs. Valentina Barrios Operation 1325, that brings the main findings on the Albanian reality, the need to move forward, pursuing reforms in the justice and security sectors, social and economic policies to support and empower women, families and through them the whole society.
The implementation of this initiative was made possible through continuous and growing cooperation with a number of institutions at central and local level, MPs, politicians, NGOs, journalists, students of public and private universities, who took part in numerous and all-inclusive activities within this project, starting from the knowledge and awareness activities.
Special acknowledgments for:
Ministry of Defense ( Mrs. Mimi Kodheli), Ministry of Interior ( Mrs. Elona Gjebrea), Ministry of Integration ( Mrs.Eralda Cani), Member of Parliament ( Mrs.Klodiana Spahiu), UN Women Albania, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, ICITAP, OSCE, UNDP, European Union Delegation in Albania, Swedish International Development Agency, Albanian Women Empowerment Network ( AWEN), Operation 1325 ( Mrs.Valentina Barrios), Mrs. Valdet Qyrfyçi, ( Expert of Resolution 1325), District of Tirana, District of Kukes, District of Lezha, District of Shkoder, District of Berat, District of Vlora, District of Korca, District of Elbasan, District of Durres.
Special thanks are due to the media that was an additional voice of this project, through the dissemination of important information and messages on women's issues, peace and security to a wider public
Finally, thanks and acknowledgments to every person who became and will remain an active part of this project, which opened a new page and quickly went ahead with a new decision, a new and very demanding engagement for the launch and co-draft of the National Action Plan, expected to be the first one for Resolution 1325 in Albania.
Association of Women with Social Problems