On the 2nd and 3rd of December 2011, two days of training on capacity building were organized by Ardjana Mani, an Albanian Ban Advocate and Ilir Shkalla from ALB-AID (Albanian Association for Integration and Development) in Tirana for a group of eight persons who are landmine and cluster munition survivors as well as persons with disabilities, all coming from Kukes (North East Albania).
The purpose of the workshop was to create a group of campaigners who would, thanks to practical as well as theoretical training, be better armed to take future actions as to enhance the rights of persons with disabilities in Albania.
During the first day participants received training on media skills. They realized the importance of media involvement and coverage to highlight good actions taken but also to denunciate situations or inappropriate politics in relation to their activities. They learned how to setup an interview and how to deal with journalists in general as well as the importance of addressing a strong and structured message to the media.
After the evaluation of the situation of the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) and the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) in Albania, they had the opportunity to discuss the actual needs of survivors and persons with disabilities. They succeeded in identifying several key points such as the need of a clear definition of disability, the need for a categorization and the reform of the state’s financial support for survivors, etc.
During the second day, they analyzed the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and discussed the actual position of the Albanian government. They pointed out the deploring lack of information available to persons with disabilities as well as the lack of a detailed database yet needed to appropriately implement the CRPD in the future.
To push the Albanian government to ratify the CRPD and to experiment with the practical side of the training, the participants were then involved in a march toward the main boulevard of Tirana. For this occasion, a press release was organized, opened by Mr Jonuz Kola, the executive director of ALB-AID and followed by an interview of Ardjana Mani. The media coverage was very successful as nine TV stations transmitted Ardjana’s statement and four newspapers published an article about the training and the march.
To crown it all, a petition which claims the rights of persons with disabilities and lists their needs (as identified by the participants during their discussions) was signed by the participants and a group of survivors from the Gerdec zone. This petition will be submitted to the Albanian Parliament after being circulated among other NGOs fighting for the rights of persons with disabilities.
The last session of the training was devoted to another practical activity dealing with short message writing. It allowed the campaigners to understand how to structure an official letter, how to find the right correspondent and how to formulate their message for it to be as effective as possible.
The participants then returned to Kukes hoping for further training and activities to be organized to strengthen their capacity and to push for a greater consideration of the rights of persons with disabilities, including survivors, by the Albanian government.