Gender Equality

PRIDE for LGBT in Albania – Promoting Rights, Inclusiveness, Dignity and Equality for LGBT in Albania (PRIDE)

PRIDE for LGBT in Albania – Promoting Rights, Inclusiveness, Dignity and Equality for LGBT in Albania (PRIDE)

The overall goal of PRIDE is to strengthen the role of LGBT organisations and activists in promoting the acceptance, inclusion and protection of the LGBT minority in both rural and urban Albania. The project has a particular focus on protecting at-risk, marginalised LGBT youth and to promote respect for their fundamental rights.

PRIDE began on 15 February 2018 and will last 24 months. The project is implemented jointly by IREX Europe and its partners: Alliance Against LGBT Discrimination (Aleanca LGBT) and Tebashkuar Pro Kauzës LGBT (Pro LGBT). In addition, the project will work together with the Streha Shelter as well as with the regional organisation ERA. The project is supported by the European Union.

 

CONTEXT:

Although Albania has the legal provisions in place that protect LGBTI people from discrimination and ban hate speech in all fields […] experience shows that inequality and failure to understand the human rights of LGBTI people prevails in society” – Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, “National Action Plan on LGBTI People in the Republic of Albania, 2016-2020”, March 2016.

 

From 2010, and in light of the EU accession process started in 2014, the Government of Albania has taken actions to adopt legislative changes in favour of the protection of LGBT rights. It has thus made significant progress at the legal and policy level in the protection and inclusion of the LGBT community. However, despite the notable changes on paper, in reality, the vast majority of LGBT people continue to hide their sexual orientation and are continuously subject to human rights violations, stigma and discrimination, mainly under the form of harassment in school, denial of access to reproductive means and discrimination in health care institutions, discrimination in the work-place, and in public local offices.

 

In this context, LGBT organisations such as Aleanca, ProLGBT and the Streha Shelter, have been crucial in providing support and access to basic services for LGBT individuals; raising awareness on LGBT rights;  and in training media, public administration, teachers, police officers on anti-discrimination and respect for LGBT rights. Thanks to the Streha Shelter, runaway and homeless LGBT youth, often victims of domestic violence now have a safe place to stay. Aleanca, ProLGBT and Streha have been driving forces behind the recent legislative modifications which are contributing to social change in Tirana and regions.

 

By supporting and strengthening the three LGBT organisations and thanks to strategic and impactful activities, this project primarily proposes a grassroots approach where concrete actions promote increased access to rights and services for the LGBT community as well as improve the image and acceptance of LGBT rights in Albania.

 

PROJECT’S OBJECTIVES:

 

Objective 1 – To strengthen the capacity of LGBT organisations and increase their ability to support their constituencies and improve the acceptance, inclusion and protection of the LGBT community among the general population in Tirana and Albania’s regions.

 

Objective 2 – To increase access to protection and counselling support, as well as access to employment opportunities for the LGBT community, with a special focus on ensuring access to basic services for at-risk young LGBT individuals from Tirana and the regions.

 

Objective 3 – To promote a more positive image of the LGBT community and improve their acceptance by the general population in Tirana and the regions, both through media campaigns and offline activities

 

EXPECTED RESULTS AND ACTIVITIES:

Outcome 1 – LGBT organisations have improved their management capacity, and have acquired new skills and knowledge to implement actions improving the acceptance, inclusion and protection of the LGBT community in Tirana and the regions:

  • Activity 1.1: Capacity building strategy development for Aleanca LGBT, PRoLGBT and the Streha Shelter
  • Activity 1.2: In house capacity building trainings for Aleanca LGBT, PRoLGBT and the Streha Shelter

 

Outcome 2 – The LGBT community in Albania, especially at-risk LGBT youth, are benefiting from increased and improved counselling, protection and access to employment support inside and outside of Tirana, namely via assistance through the Aleanca Community Centre and the Streha Shelter

  • Activity 2.1- Service provision support for 200 LGBT individuals through Aleanca community centre:
  • Activity 2.2 – Support for 12 at-risk homeless LGBT youth through the ‘Streha’ Shelter:

 

Outcome 3 – The image of the LGBT community in Tirana and the regions has improved through positive role model campaigns and support for awareness raising to LGBT activists disseminated by Albanian media

  • Activity 3.1- Awareness raising grants for activists from regions
  • Activity 3.2 – Training on Human Rights and Ethics for local media practitioner from regions
  • Activity 3.3: Positive role model campaign
Promoting new women leaders and ‘invisible women’ human rights activists in Eurasia

Promoting new women leaders and ‘invisible women’ human rights activists in Eurasia

The overall objective of this project is to recognise, support and promote the emerging role of women Human Rights Defenders (W/HRDs) and Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) working for women’s and girls’ rights in Eurasia, including in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

The project supports four target groups:

  • Young/emerging women human rights leaders

The project will contribute to strengthen the leadership skills of young women HRDs through capacity building; promoting networking and the sharing of ideas; and participation in national, regional, international forums.

After a first stage of target groups identification and needs assessment, the project partners will organise national and regional “Leadership Academies” to reinforce the leadership competencies of young W/HRDs. Small grants will be offered to the W/HRDs participating in the “Leadership Academies” allowing them to implement projects increasing the visibility and rights of women in the target countries. The targeted W/HRDs will also have the opportunity to benefit from travel funds to attend international, regional and national forums on human rights campaigning for women’s and girl’s rights.

  • ‘Invisible women’ human rights defenders, i.e. women activists who are actively defending rights within their own communities, but who are not involved in the wider HRD movement.

The project will support “invisible women’s” groups through targeted training and capacity building in advocacy, lobbying, developing strategies of change and media campaigns to raise awareness on specific issues they face

The project partners will identify and assess the needs of “invisible women” in the target countries and will organised tailored trainings in advocacy, lobbying, and developing strategies of change based on the specific needs of this target group. Media campaigns to raise awareness of the causes advocated by invisible women’s groups will also be run.

  • Lawyers working for women’s and girl’s rights

The project will help to improve knowledge of lawyers working for women’s and girls’ rights on ECtHR procedures to make use of international mechanisms for the protection of W/HRDs

Regional training sessions on the ECtHR will take place in Strasbourg to provide training to experienced lawyers working in the field of women’s and girls’ rights. Furthermore, the project partners and experienced lawyers will assist the targeted lawyers in writing applications and third party interventions to ECtHR.

  • W/HRDs and Human Rights Defenders working for women’s and girls’ rights

The project will provide anti-burnout trainings and rapid response for psycho-social, medical and legal support for women HRDs and Human Rights Defenders working for women’s and girls’ rights “at risk”.

Rehabilitation courses, legal counselling and small support funds to cover medical and/or psychological support will be offered to W/HRDs and HRDs promoting women’s and girls’ rights.

Med Media Project: Towards media sector reform in the Southern Mediterranean region

Med Media Project: Towards media sector reform in the Southern Mediterranean region

Overview

IREX Europe is part of a consortium led by BBC Media Action that is implementing the EU funded Med Media Project: Towards media sector reform in the Southern Mediterranean region. Other consortium members include the International Federation of Journalists, the Blanquerna Communications School, the Federation of Arab Journalists and the Jordan Media Institute.

 

 

The Programme, which runs from January 2014 to January 2018, will aim to reinforce the role of the media in the target countries to act as vectors for democratization and contribute to the development of a more public service oriented media landscape in the Southern Mediterranean. The project also aims to contribute to the creation and development of a public sphere in the region.

The Programme will be implemented in 9 countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) of the Southern Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia). The ENP was developed in 2004 by the European Union with the objective of “avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours to the South and the East, and of strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all concerned”. Key stakeholder groups include regulatory and statutory bodies, journalism unions and support organisations, public service and community media and policy makers.

Background

Despite new freedom promised by the Arab Spring, media across the ENP South region still struggle to act as drivers for positive social change. Challenges include continued political interference and lack of editorial independence, the rise of social media as an alternative source of news and opinion, and the dominance of pan-Arab broadcasters in local media markets. The project will aim to promote a public service orientated media section is in the region through peer-to-peer mentoring, assisting state broadcasters to make qualitative improvements to their outputs, improving engagement with their audiences, and use of social media.

Project Activities

Review of existing legislation in target countries relating to media and existing regulatory mechanisms

Media mapping of media development projects in the region

Organisation of a series of round-tables (topics include media regulation in transitional democracies, transparency of media ownership, the advertising market, international benchmarking for media development, media literacy, parliamentary hearings on state financing of the media, conferences on minority-language media, gender mainstreaming and protection of women’s rights)

Coaching activities for grantees as well as peer-to-peer mentoring activities between European and regional stakeholders

Set-up of a knowledge management portal for research materials.

Regional networking activities and conferences to provide opportunities for experience sharing and dialogue.

 

Somaliland:  Interactive Theatre for Peace

Somaliland: Interactive Theatre for Peace

Overview

Building upon IREX Europe’s two successful theatre for peace projects in Somaliland, IREX Europe will continue work with its Hargeisa-based partner Kow Media Corporation to promote peaceful dialogue on community issues. The project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, targets 48 Somali communities in the 6 regions of Somaliland utilising Drama for Conflict Transformation methodologies. This innovative methodology, which combines theatre, debate, poetry, and reflection, creates a ‘safe space’ for exploring incendiary issues such as tribalism, radicalisation, community tensions and other drivers of conflict. IREX Europe and its partners have successfully implemented the methodology with Somali communities in Kenya, in Indonesia and in Central Asia.

Background

Since declaring independence in 1991, Somaliland has surprised the world as a fledgeling democracy, holding peaceful elections and successfully integrating traditional Somali modes of governance into contemporary politics. However, Somaliland remains vulnerable to extremism and violence due to regional instability, including ongoing tensions between Puntland and Somaliland, which have escalated into violence several times. Within this climate, communities have had few models for civil discourse and little opportunity for constructive debate of political issues. As a result, street protests and violence are too often the way in which people attempt to resolve political and social issues. As Somalis become increasingly disenfranchised and frustrated, extremist voices can appear an increasingly attractive alternative to democracy. This project will build upon Kow Media’s work through its “Geediga Nabada” Peace Caravan team of trained theatre practitioners and successful IREX Europe/Kow Media collaboration through the Theatre to Promote Peace and Understanding Project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Project Activities

The project will increase the impact of the Geediga Nabada theatre throupe through capacity building in the use of structured dialgoue and interactive theatre techniques. This will include longer terms contracting, theatre troupe management capacity building, and integrating script writing into the theatre group repetoire. In addition, ast least 2 new young actors will be recruited to thte troupe to add sustainability and flexibility to the troupe.

IREX Europe and Kow Media will organise a travelling theatre caravan to offer shows in six regions of Somaliland targeting up to 30,000 people. Following each performance, members of the theatre troupe with training in facilitating discussion sessions will encourage dialogue amongst the community members present to promote critical thinking and challenge entrenched views. Community members will be invited to speak about challenges specific to their lives and areas, encouraging dialogue and the collective identification of solutions. During these discussion sessions, facilitators also will encourage viewers to create their own poetical verses discussing the issues addressed in the theatre performances. This is especially relevant in Somaliland, where poetry is an important component of cultural expression.

Kenya:  Theatre to Promote Peace and Understanding among Kenyan and Somali communities

Kenya: Theatre to Promote Peace and Understanding among Kenyan and Somali communities

 

Overview

IREX

Europe, in partnership with the Kenyan Community Support Centre, is implementing a project which helps disenfranchised youth address and work through conflict and community tensions using theatre. Our team uses Drama for Conflict Transformation (DCT) which is a special Forum Theatre methodology that creates a safe space allowing discussion of normally taboo subjects such as the drivers of conflict, women’s rights, radical islam, and many others. The project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commo

nwealth Office, targets Kenyan and Somali youth in the multicultural district of Majengo, Mombasa. IREX Europe and its partners have successfully implemented the methodology with Somali populations in the Nairobi suburb of Eastleigh, in Hagadera (Dadaab refugee complex) and in Somaliland.

Background

Kenya is home to 900,000 Somali refugees and Kenyan-Somalis. Somalis first arrived in Kenyan in the 19th century ; however, immigration increased following the civil war which broke out in Somalia in 1991, when many Somalis sought asylum in the Somali-inhabited enclaves of Kenya. Kenya also hosts Dadaab, the worst largest refugee complex, currently home to 460,000 Somali refugees, more than 150,000 of which have arrived in 2011 after fleeing the severe drought in Somalia.
In October 2011, the Kenyan Government began sending troops into Somalia in pursuit of al-Shabab, which it blames for a series of cross-border kidnappings on its terriority. Tensions and mistrust between Kenyans and the Somali community have correspondingly increased. The project works to promote peaceful coexistence in the multi-ethnic community of Majengo district, Mombasa, which hosts a high number of Somali refugees and a diverse ethnic Kenyan population. Mixed groups of young Kenyans and Somalis are brought together and using DCT they are led through a process which allows them to safely discuss critical issues that confront them and their communities.
DCT is a rich methodology that encourages improvisation and play to help participants develop new views and behaviours. In situations of entrenched conflict, where debate and historical analysis rarely serve to change minds, and where debate and discussion are often virtually non-existant, DCT unlocks the creative power of individuals and communities to adopt new perspectives and develop new solutions for community problems.

Project Activities

The project will target young Kenyans, Kenyan-Somalis, and Somali refugees, as well as adults who will build their capacities to support youth. An initial training for Somali and Kenyan adults living in Majengo will teach them how to use the DCT methodology. The trained trainers will then go on to work with young Kenyans and Somalis, leading theatre activities in their community. At least 100 youth will be involved in the theatre activities.
A smaller group of highly motivated young participants will have the opportunity to attend a follow-on theatre workshop, which will prepare these youth to share anti-conflict plays with communities in Majengo and across Mombasa. Participants will learn how to engage audiences and involve them in exploring conflict issues through Forum theatre shows. Through a small grants component, the project will allow these young people to organise their own theatre troupes and conduct Forum theatre tours within their communities. These youth–led informal theatre showings will reach hundreds of additional youth and adults in schoolyards, youth centres, and market areas.

Somaliland:  Interactive Theatre for Peace

Somaliland: Interactive Theatre for Peace

Overview

Building upon IREX Europe’s successful theatre for peace project in Somaliland, IREX Europe will continue work with its Hargeisa-based partner Kow Media Corporation to promote peaceful dialogue on community issues. The project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, targets 48 Somali communities in the 6 regions of Somaliland utilising Drama for Conflict Transformation methodologies. This innovative methodology, which combines theatre, debate, poetry, and reflection, creates a ‘safe space’ for exploring incendiary issues such as tribalism, radicalisation, community tensions and other drivers of conflict. In situations of entrenched conflict, where debate and historical analysis rarely serve to change minds, DCT unlocks the creative power of individuals and communities to adopt new perspectives and develop novel solutions. IREX Europe and its partners have successfully implemented the methodology with Somali communities in Kenya, in Indonesia and in Central Asia.

Background

Since declaring independence in 1991, Somaliland has surprised the world as a fledgeling democracy, holding peaceful elections and successfully integrating traditional Somali modes of governance into contemporary politics. However, Somaliland remains vulnerable to extremism and violence due to regional instability, including ongoing tensions between Puntland and Somaliland, which have escalated into violence several times. Within this climate, communities have had few models for civil discourse and little opportunity for constructive debate of political issues. As a result, street protests and violence are too often the way in which people attempt to resolve political and social issues. As Somalis become increasingly disenfranchised and frustrated, extremist voices can appear an increasingly attractive alternative to democracy. This project will build upon Kow Media’s work through its “Geediga Nabada” Peace Caravan team of trained theatre practitioners and successful IREX Europe/Kow Media collaboration through the Theatre to Promote Peace and Understanding Project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Project Activities

IREX Europe and Kow Media will organise a travelling theatre caravan to offer shows in six regions of Somaliland targeting up to 16,000 people. Following each performance, members of the theatre troupe with training in facilitating discussion sessions will encourage dialogue amongst the community members present to promote critical thinking and challenge entrenched views. Community members will be invited to speak about challenges specific to their lives and areas, encouraging dialogue and the collective identification of solutions. During these discussion sessions, facilitators also will encourage viewers to create their own poetical verses discussing the issues addressed in the theatre performances. This is especially relevant in Somaliland, where poetry is an important component of cultural expression.

Up to 15 of these travelling road shows will be recorded and broadcast through local TV, radio, KOW Media and partner websites. Furthermore, a ‘Peace Film and Picture Festival’ will be organised for independent Somali film makers and picture and film enthusiasts among the local population and Somali Diaspora to showcase original work on conflict, peace, and reconciliation. The awarded films and photographs will be shown in at least 6 different cities of Somaliland, allowing people and communities from different areas to have access to different points of view and visions about their country.