Laura Naw was EU Aid Volunteer in Albania between September 2019 - November 2020. Laura joined the national office of ADRA to assist with project management.
Read about her experience in the role of EU Aid Volunteer, her unique deployment marked by the earthquake, as well as current pandemic. Slovak version is available as other article.
It has been already two weeks since I left the country where I lived for more than a year. I really enjoyed my permanence, the culture and the people. I don't regret anything.
This opportunity under the EUAID initiative has represented another step for acquiring on-the-job professional experience, which may lead to future career development within international organizations. I acquired many skills and working in a multicultural team has strengthened my organizational abilities and helped to prioritize tasks.
It has been really intense year. From the earthquake, occurred in November 2019, which caused extensive damage and many people have experienced a post-traumatic stress disorder to the global pandemic, in the middle of my deployment, which has worsened the situation of marginalised communities already more at risk due to limited access to healthcare, drinking water, sanitation and food. Indeed, measures taken by the Albanian government to contain the spread of coronavirus were quite hard for Roma and Egyptian communities living in the country. The reason lay on the fact that many make their money by litter picking, collecting scrap metals and other items and then selling them on but the government-mandated curfew meant that they were unable to do that else they risk severe penalties.
My HO, unlike other colleagues deployed in other countries, gave me the chance to choose if I would like to stay or want to leave. Several reasons, brought me to opt to stay until the end of my deployment and also to extend for two months more. As part of the staff of ADRA Albania, it has been possible to notice the passion and the efforts of all the members to ensure that disadvantage and the vulnerable community got an equity treatment, social inclusion and access to the basic needs and how education has been a common denominator for past and ongoing projects. Indeed, the learning levels in the country remain among the lowest in Europe and just over 3% of its GDP is allocated to education. Thus, by ranking Albania among the last countries in Europe for student achievements compared to OECD countries.
I have been proactive in both emergency response after the earthquake as well as in the delivering of food supplies and hygienic products as a consequence of the pandemic, enough for two months, for 35 Roma and Egyptian families living in Tirana.
Among the things I have been proud of was the accomplishment of a small project, developed with another EUAID Volunteer. Although the small grant, it has been really a successful project. Indeed, we have been able to build a partnership with two NGOs working in the same field of ADRA and raise awareness of social inclusion and securing access to education for vulnerable youth and their families in Albania. Additionally, the project at the same time contributed to reactivating the value chain of wool in the Kukës region, as we involved 25 young and senior women active in the handicraft sector.
Besides all these activities, more recently the capacity of the ADRA Albania’s staff has been strengthened with a cycle of webinars on Advocacy. The webinars, held by the professional from ADRA Network, have been really useful to the whole team for design the advocacy education road map of the office. As well as understand the different advocacy approaches, the importance of influencing those who make policy through a participatory approach by involving in the first hand the community, a fundamental component that increases the ownership of the action, and last but not least incorporate this new knowledge in the developing new activities for other proposals.
Článok bol napísaný dňa 20.12.2020
Laura bola od septembra 2019 dobrovoľníčkou v Albánsku v partnejskej organizácií Adra Albánsko. Jej vyslanie bolo súčasťou projektu HVA – Humanitárni dobrovoľníci v akcii. Projekt bol financovaný zo zdrojov Európskej Komisie pod hlavičkou programu EU Aid Volunteers, riadeného agentúrou EACEA (Výkonná agentúra pre vzdelávanie, audiovizuálny sektor a kultúru) a DG ECHO (Generálne riaditeľstvo pre civilnú ochranu a operácie humanitárnej pomoci EÚ). Adra Slovensko bola jej vysielajúcou organizáciou. Ako sa Laure darilo môžete sledovať i na našom Facebooku.