“People to People – In music we trust” is an ongoing project that started in January and will finish on August 2023. There are three organizations, where the “Social Contract Institute” is the leading one and the other two partner organizations are “Odjek Chamber Choir” from Serbia and “Pro Ars” from North Macedonia. This project aims to strengthen the relations among Western Balkan countries and to contribute to further cooperation in promoting human rights, artistic freedom, good governance, and peaceful societies. In May, the Recital Concerts in Tirana and Skopje will have 60 choir members and 3 artistic directors and managers who will perform two songs from their country, and one song from partner countries.
This project is co-financed by Western Balkans Fund and European Union.
Tirana Youth Power project aims to train youth of Tirana in visual arts, media, and artisan, to use these skills as tools for having changes and activism in the areas where they live. Youngsters participated in photography, podcast, films, and training sessions about mentoring, social activism, and volunteering. Their willingness was very high and the participants were keen on learning new things about these topics. Experts engaged in this project are professionals in their fields and Social Contract Institute has collaborated with them in previous projects.
This project was financed by Agency for Supporting Civil Society.
During July – August 2020, the youth of the project “New Guides” in Gjirokastra prepared two new touristic itineraries at the center of Antigonea center and touristic places in Peshtan village. The touristic cultural and natural areas have started to be explored in recent years in Albania and have made the locals feel interested to promote the culture, history, cuisine, and nature. This tour was made easier by the locals and Professor Iris Pojani. Social Contract Institute gave 200 brochures with itineraries around Antigonea and 200 others for Peshtan village, which were distributed in hotels, restaurants, youth organizations, and the municipality of Gjirokastra. On September 2020, Social Contract Institute finalized the project with a video promoting key points of Gjirokastra, which were: The Castle of Gjirokastra, Obelisku, Old Bazaar, Old Neighborhood, and The Tunnel of Cold War.
This project was used to promote youth that works as a touristic guide and to promote the city of Gjirokastra after a long and not easy period for tourism, because of the global pandemic of Covid-19.
From May 2017 – January 2018, SCI implemented the project “Improving the quality of life of poor and unemployed women and their contribution to the family and in the community”. The project was funded by the Albanian Agency for the Support of CSOs (AMSHC) and it contributed to: (i) equipping women and girls with knowledge and skills that enable them to exercise their rights; (ii) improve access to health services and legal aid for women and girls in need.
The project worked with unemployed and in need women and girls, municipal institutions, and CSOs in seven municipalities of Gjirokastra district. SCI: (i) produced two educational brochures with useful information on women’s legal rights related to marriage and key information on women’s health issues; (ii) held 17 educational workshops on legal rights and women’s health issues with the participation of 146 women and girls; (iii) organized 2 training workshops with 36 local officials that address concerns of unemployed and in need women and girls in Gjirokastra district; (iv) produced 4 podcasts with useful information on women’s legal right related to marriage and key information on women’s health issues; and (v) held a roundtable on “Supporting Poor and Unemployed Women” with the participation of members of the Parliament that represent Gjirokastra district, municipal officials from seven municipalities, and CSOs from the district. As a follow-up to the project, SCI provided support to several poor and unemployed women that participated in project activities and helped them to address specific concerns.
From May 2017 – December 2017, SCI was engaged as a partner to AWEN in implementing the project “Expanding and improving access to justice for vulnerable individuals and groups such as Roma community, women, children, people with disabilities, victims of trafficking and violence, and LGBTI”, a project funded by USAID’s JUST II project.
Social Contract Institute’s Legal Expert, Vjollca Meçaj, served as a lead facilitator and trainer in the following activities:
- Informative and education workshops for disadvantaged groups on their rights with regard to access to justice;
- Training of trainers with law experts working for AWEN member organizations;
- Educational sessions with law students in Tirana;
- TV programs on local TV stations focusing on access to justice for vulnerable groups.
In September 2017, SCI established an ad-hoc CSO Organizing Group comprised of 13 CSOs and co-organized a protest against gender-based violence in Albania, urged by the disturbing number of tragic events resulting in women’s killing by their husbands or ex-husbands. There were more than 300 citizens, members of the Parliament, artists, and journalists that participated in this protest.
During the period September – November 2017, SCI contributed to developing the recommendations regarding the 2018 budget for the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, presented to the Ministry during a public hearing.
In March 2016, Social Contract Institute in cooperation with the Faculty of History and Philology of Tirana University and the Oral History Project in Kosova organized a daylong Seminar on Oral History in Tirana with the participation of well-known international experts such as Professor Alessandro Portelli, the leading Italian expert on oral history, and several other illustrious experts from Germany, Serbia, and Kosova, including Robert Elsie, a prolific researcher of Albanian history, culture, and language, and Sonia Biserko, the Director of Serbian Helsinki Committee.
In January 2016, SCI in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare of Albania, the Kosova President’s Office, and the Center for Openness and Dialogue (COD) at the Albanian Prime Minister’s Office organized the screening of the documentary film “Thinking of you” on women victims of violence during the war in Kosova, with the participation of representatives of the groups that represent these women and the President of the Republic of Kosova, Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga.
During 2016 – 2017, Social Contract Institute participated in several initiatives by civil society actors in Albania to raise awareness or protest against human rights violations, including women’s and children’s rights. In July 2016, SCI took part in public gatherings by CSOs demanding that members of the Parliament approve the law on vetting of prosecutors and judges as part of the justice system report in Albania (the so-called ‘vetting law’). While in December 2016, SCI was part of a group of CSOs that issued a public statement to demand that the Constitutional Court withholds the ‘vetting law’.