Danish Support to the Albanian Ombudsman
Democratic reform is critical to Albania’s transition to rule of law, and the EU has identified an effective Ombudsman as an important step towards Albanian EU candidate status. The Ombudsman in Albania was established in 1999 and has a strong constitutional mandate to protect the rights, freedoms and lawful interests of individuals from unlawful/improper actions or failures to act of organs of public administration. By virtue of this strong formal mandate, the Ombudsman has primarily reacted in response to complaints, yet it's desirous to develop a strategic framework for its operations with a view to a more proactive role.
This project supported institutional capacity building and strengthening of links with civil society and media in order to make the Ombudsman more effective in three strategic areas reflecting the organisational set-up and priorities of the institution. The TA worked closely with the Albanian Ombudsman to involve appropriate national and international technical assistance required for successful implementation. The three strategic areas were:
- Local government: Comprehensive awareness campaigns on access to justice in ten local regions, technical support to three new regional offices, transparency manuals and training for municipal and commune staff on human rights and conflict mediation
- Prison and detentions: Better quality joint inspections with civil society partners and interdisciplinary teams, carried out to the scope of 80 per year and complemented by training of staff, new publishing initiatives and international experience exchange
- Civil society and media: National Civil Society Network to be chaired by the Ombudsman and involved in inspections, case review and publicity efforts with Media Professionals Network to engage in two-way dialogue and media co-productions
The project also managed a1,5 million DKK fund in support to Albanian CSOs. (September 2013-June 2015)
This work included:
a) Setting up fund guidelines and establishing the application process
b) Organising the evaluation of proposals, negotiating with and contracting the selected grantees
c) Supporting the granted NGOs throughout the project implementation
d) Monitoring of the individual grants as well as evaluation the whole grant Scheme.
e) Scrutinising financial and narrative reports from the NGOS
Six Albanian NGOs were awarded grants of in average 25 000 €, with the aim to support the project activities.