LevizAlbania is a project that aims to strengthen local democracy in Albania through the engagement and empowerment of civil society organizations, informal groups, and individuals as the champions of democracy. LevizAlbania supports local democracy across the country by cultivating a locally rooted civil society, which increases the demand for good governance at the local level, through:
- Comprehensive decision making
- Supervision of local government
- Monitoring the quality of public services
Through LevizAlbania civil society, actors can apply concrete ideas to resolve different issues of interest to their communities. The grant scheme is operationalized through periodic calls for applications.
Rapid Response is another important instrument of LevizAlbania, which supports the initiatives of civil society organizations and individuals related to causes or emergency issues that are threatened by time factors. Rapid Response is an opportunity to address the need for emergent intervention through civic actions. Applications to Rapid Response are appraised with a simplified procedure to respond in time and in the best interest of the situation/causes.
Furthermore, LevizAlbania (hereinafter referred to as LA) undertakes strategic projects and national-level advocacy to enable a suitable environment for an improved and sustained local democracy, aiming to influence the national agenda. These include support for consolidated organizations/ coalitions to address systemic challenges.
LevizAlbania is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and implemented by a consortium of three successful Albanian organizations, "The Open Society Foundation for Albania", "Partners Albania for Change and Development" and "Co-PLAN".
A journey over the years
LevizAlbania started its path in mid-2015 when initially the team was set up and the 1st call for application was announced.
Since the beginning, the NGO community has embraced the project, who have responded to the calls for application with increasing interest. In addition, LA has brought an innovative approach, through the application of diverse mechanisms, aiming coverage of a wide range of action areas aimed at achieving the final objective that has guided the project in these years: "Local Democracy in Action".
LevizAlbania from the beginning has been guided by the principle of inclusiveness. The support of individuals and informal groups is one of the main feature of LA, which was brought in as an innovation to be transformed later into an authentic model to replicate for other donors in Albania.
"Competition of Ideas" has been another innovative approach brought in a very original way by LevizAlbania, in fulfillment of the principle of transparency. The Competition of Ideas has also, served in many cases as an arena for the exchange of experiences and networking among the applicant organizations.
The creation of support instruments for organizations, informal groups and individuals included in the various calls for applications has helped the latter to find a more enabling environment for achieving the objectives of specific projects.
In this context, LevizAlbania developed 3 key supporting mechanisms: i) Financat Vendore that has served as a database and a reference point in addressing transparency issues and monitoring the local governance standards; ii) Porta Vendore which has served as an informative window to empower local media in addressing issues identified by LA grantees and by citizens in general; iii) Klinika e Ligjit that has also been an effective support instrument which has been frequently used by LA grantees on litigation process. This instrument has turned out to be a game-changer for certain advocacy and lobbying campaigns.
From 2015 to the end of 2022 LA has launched 9 Calls of Applications, 12 Strategic Grants, 23 Rapid Response projects, 362 individuals, informal groups and CSO supported, and more than 75,000 citizens involved in these projects.
About 40% of supported civic actors continue to carry out initiatives for the benefit of local communities after support is concluded, providing evidence of sustainable long-lasting impact.
LevizAlbania’s support to the Environment.
Although the environment is not the focus of LevizAlbania, since the beginning, LA has supported initiatives and actions that contributed to increasing civic awareness for the environment, as well as actions that consist in the preservation of nature through the promotion of civic engagement via a participatory approach.
A clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, as a human right, has been the focus of many initiatives supported by LevizAlbania. Furthermore, being an interdisciplinary field, the environment is often naturally intertwined with the most fundamental processes of democracy, such as the right to information, access to decision-making, or access to justice for cases of environmental concerns.
Under this perspective, LevizAlbania's support for initiatives or projects aimed at preserving the environment over the years gradually began to increase to about 67 out of 309 projects that have been supported by LA in total.