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This platform has been created under the Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans,which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the UNDP

ReLOaD: A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY TO BENEFIT ENVIRONMENT

Jobis, a RELOAD partner and Municipality of Saranda are working together to better manage waste at source.

When in Saranda, you can now spot dedicated bins for the segregation of waste at source and recyclers collecting waste. Jobis Centre, founded and chaired by two women and supported by the ReLOaD Programme, in cooperation with the Municipality of Saranda, is raising awareness among businesses and the community of the importance of waste segregation at source. Environmental and social issues are at the core of Jobis’s Centre agenda.

Getting the Know-how

Talking to Irena, a member of the Board of Directors at Jobis Centre, we learn that it was the Municipality of Saranda who informed all civil society organizations about the partnership opportunities with ReLOaD Programme.

Right after that, Jobis Center representatives and other civil society organizations became part of the consultation process to identify first public call’s priorities as well as joined capacity building sessions in the areas of project development and management.

With a view to ensure the quality of the applications, all participating civil society organizations were mentored throughout the entire cycle of the project development and preparation of the application.

“This was entirely new and beneficial to me. At the end of the training, we had developed the project proposal and discussed it with our mentors during the capacity building sessions. This training will help me in the long run”- says Irena.

Jobis, along with 13 other partner organizations were selected because of the quality of their project proposals, relevance of the proposed themes and the approach. Right after that they participated in sessions dedicated to project implementation rules and procedures, communication skills.

“I would say that RELOAD provides a continuous professional growth, not only for me personally, but also for the organization. We really learned how to prepare successful project proposals and how to communicate impact and results”- Irena goes on.

Waste management, from a concept in paper to a tangible project

“We applied for this project idea, -says Irena, because we understood there was an urgent need for community awareness and education on the importance of waste management at source”.

Door-to-door meetings with local businesses, were the key highlights of the project interventions. Soon they came to learn that not many local businesses were aware that Saranda city now offers opportunities for waste segregation at source.  

“Our initiative was well received. Out of 52 businesses that we met and discussed, 40 of them were convinced to become part of our initiative. Challenges? Many of them! We were told by some business representatives that they lack time, or human resources necessary for the segregation of waste. However, we offered our cooperation and promised that we would equip them with recycling bins or bags and we would send workers to collect the waste at a time convenient for them.”

During the meetings held with businesses

Jobis is also working to raise awareness among children about the need to separate waste. They do this through meetings, games, site visits to the recycling centre.

“Early childhood education remains key”- says Irena.

“To be honest, I first came up with this idea because of my children. While implementing our first waste management project I realized that my children had only heard about recycling through cartoons. Thus, I decided to show them the entire process, from the segregation of waste up to its collection and re-use in daily life. I even took them to a recycling centre. This is when I realized how eager they were not only to absorb that information, but also to share it with their peers. So, I started understanding the importance of engaging children in such recycling Initiatives.”

During the meetings held in kindergartens and schools

Centre aims to help the citizens of Saranda enjoy a cleaner and more modern city, sensitize, and motivate the local businesses and citizens to get engaged in the process of waste segregation at source. They are confident this will positively impact tourism.

“In the long term, we are contributing to our own city, to the place where we live and raise our children, where Albanian and foreign tourists come. There’s an enormous joy in knowing that you have truly done something for your city. Something small, but still beautiful and worth the effort.”- concludes Irena.

The Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2) financed by the European Union (EU) works to strengthen participatory democracies and the EU integration process in the Western Balkans (WB) through empowerment of civil society and youth to actively take part in decision making by stimulating an enabling legal and financial environment for CSOs.

Resource: ReLOaD: Partnership between local government and civil society to benefit environment | United Nations Development Programme (undp.org)

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