TIRANA – May 17 2011. The Albanian Local Capacity Development Foundation (ALCDF) launched officially its activities in Albania though a ceremony held at the premises of the hotel Rogner Europapark. Participants included the Minister for Innovation and Information and Communication Technology, Mr. Genc Pollo, senior government representatives, representatives of national and local institutions, representatives from donor governments and international organizations, and members of nongovernmental organizations in the country.
In her opening remarks, Ms.Valbona Ylli, the Executive Director of LEAA and one of the 6 (six) cofounders of ALCDF Foundation, welcomed all participants and made known what these organizations had prompted to create ALCDF Foundation.
Minister for Innovation and for Information and Communication Technology, Mr. Genc Pollo, congratulated the Albanian Local Capacity Development Foundation, or known as ALCDF, to undertake such initiatives, which enable rural communities to better address their needs and become partners in implementing innovative ideas. Mr. Pollo expressed his belief that this project will be successful, because the preliminary data are positive. He even added that implementation of this initiative in Albania can serve as example success for other countries where the LCDF initiative will be implemented in the near future. On behalf of the Ministry he leads said that projects involving information and communication technologies have one more reason to succeed. Fiber connections or wireless to Internet are another factor that facilitates the operation of ALCDF portal (PREX ALBANIA).
While Ms Elvana Zhezha, Director of SNV Albania and Kosovë, explained that today's meeting unites the power, melts the visions, and give the hope that such an initiative will find a fertile land from the part of donors and any other interested entities will find the way of a safe investment. Development of rural environment is the path of sustainable development into solid security, towards conservation of resources and balanced regional development.
His Excellency, Mr. Henk van den Dool GC, in his capacity as a member of the Board of Directors of ALCDF commended the initiators for the ideals, objectives and commitment and their working methods. He stressed that ALCDF is playing its role in a more modern way, through the internet and touchable actions. According to Mr. Van Dool, the aid, however great, lose meaning if not supported by the local community. Its role is to connect ALCDF with stakeholders and the international community. He ended the speech saying that ALCDF deserves our interest, the commitment of the government and international partners.
After the greeting speeches, Mrs. Lindita Manga, ALCDF Executive Director took the floor and made an expose of ALCDF activities. She started historically by making known to the participants why and how an initiative of six local Albanian NGO-s, turned out to be a strong and articulated need for change and constituted to a Foundation as ALCDF. She also made known the activities of the two divisions of the Foundation: the Partnerships for Innovation Fund and shared some results from the first round of the application and the activities of the Brokering Facility for Capacity Development and PREX Albania Portal. The phase of the First Round inclined to more requests for capacity development projects in the field of Forestry, local governance, tourism and agriculture. The findings and numbers gave ALCDF a clearer view on the tendencies of local actors for capacity development. The focus of application was on technical assistance, marketing plans, urban plans, strategic regional plans, strategies on tourism, trainings etc.
The beneficiaries of the P4I First Round projects felt very enthusiastic about what ALCDF had done so far. While the Head of the Regional Council of Korce, Mr.Ilia Mile expressed to participants that the projects approved for Korca Region were very ambitious and in line with the regional development policy. Furthermore the head of Melan Commune of Diber Qark, Mr. Neki Mehmeti, underlined that he was happy that his Commune was assisted in the process of Development of Capacities. Mr. Zenel Shehi another beneficiary of the P4I grants sees ALCDF as the best way of brokering to the best expertise in the country. He had the hope that the “chestnuts cancer” disease, the area he came from was affected, was to be prevented through the specialists selected by the ALCDF procedures. Mr. Hasan Drazhi, in his capacity as Regional Mentor of Elbasani Qark explained the situation of the winning projects in the communes and local associations of his are. He congratulated ALCDF staff with the progress of the first round and announced some of the winning projects of the first round of ALCDF.
After all the presentations, Mrs. Dhurata Thanasi, ALCDF Business Manager explained to all participants how the new portal of ALCDF or as newly called PREX Albania was functioning. She mentioned that ALCDF formula is innovative itself by epitomizing its mission through two innovative and complementary units the P4I and PREX ALBANIA. She explained what PREX Albania stands for and how the Albanian expertise would be part of a regional, continental and, why not, a global network. All the phases of registering to PREX Albania portal were explained through a Power Point presentation.
The discussions generated a lot of question making from the part of the interested participants to ALCDF future activities, ways of granting, fundraising issues, donor’s involvement etc.
Mrs. Manga, Minister Pollo and Ambassador Dool replied to the participants and invited all to be part of the PREX ALBANIA.
The ceremony was concluded with a cocktail buffet and interviews to the national media.