A series of National Team meetings of the joint European Union and Council of Europe ROMACTED Programme Phase II was organised in Albania through BlueJeans platform on 12 and 16 July 2021. These meetings virtually brought together the Council of Europe Programme Staff, representatives of the Institute of Romani Culture in Albania (IRCA) as a support organisation, the newly selected facilitators, and the ministerial focal points responsible for the implementation of the new National Action Plan on Equality, Inclusion and Participation of Roma and Egyptians in the Republic of Albania (2021-2025).
The National Team meetings aimed to provide an introduction to the ROMACTED approach and methodology and discuss the relevant legal and policy framework with a direct impact on Roma integration at local level.
Orsiola Kurti, ROMACTED Senior Project Officer, presented the ROMACTED Programme with a focus on the main products resulting from the implementation of Phase I in Albania: (i) Local Action Plans for the Integration of Roma and Egyptian Minorities 2019-2022 approved by local councils; (ii) Guidelines for Municipalities on Roma and Egyptian Responsive Budgeting at Local Level; (iii) Operational Plan of the Community Center in the Municipality of Korca 2020-2021; (iv) Adapted and contextualised ROMACTED Handbook resulting from the grassroot experience of the support team. Additionally, working methods, roles and responsibilities and expected timeline of implementation at each partner municipality were clarified as per the Beneficiary Working Plan.
Bledar Taho, ROMACTED Focal Point and Xhesika Korra, Coordinator, on behalf of the Institute of Romani Culture in Albania, provided a detailed overview on the visibility, communication and reporting aligned with the European Union and Council of Europe requirements. Recommendations were provided to follow up on the work carried out during Phase I.
Ina Kokedhima, Expert on Roma and Egyptian minorities ensured the policy contributions from the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Justice, aiming to support and enhance the expected work of the ROMACTED facilitators in view of the implementation of the National Action Plan at local level.
These meetings served as an opportunity for sharing work experiences among previously engaged facilitators of Phase I and new facilitators of Phase II. Individual tailor-made reflection sessions were organised on 27 and 28 July to follow up the submission of the trimestral working plan per each partner municipality, ensuring a smooth initiation of the work with the Roma communities and local authorities by early September.
ROMACTED Programme, Phase II is implemented in 10 municipalities in Albania: Elbasan, Cerrik, Pogradec, Korce, Permet, Gjirokaster, Vlore, Fier, Roskovec, Fier and Lushnje during 2021-2024.