Albania is one of the countries with the youngest population in region and Europe where young people represent 23% of population.
Recognizing their vital role as agents of change in society, UNICEF launched a program, already implemented in 33 countries around the world, also in Albania in cooperation with ICTSlab.
In the framework of “Transforming the national response to human trafficking in and from Albania” program and with financial support of United Kingdom, UPSHIFT was implemented for the first time in the northern town of Albania, the edition of Upshift Kukës on January 28-29-30, 2022.
UPSHIFT aims to increase capacities and create aspirations for young people in Albania so that they can contribute and benefit in their communities. At the core of this initiative is building easily transferable skills, engaging and empowering youth focused on social entrepreneurship.
It is an initiative that support young people in Albania with economic and social opportunities and integrates them in development processes by giving them active roles in society.
The support of UPSHIFT is a guarantee for youth who aim to develop solutions for problems they face in local communities through social entrepreneurship, technology, innovation, comprehensiveness, and community volunteering.
Dozens of young people aged 15-24 years old were organized in groups of 3-5 individuals from Kukës, Bajram Curri towns and Shishtavec, Topojan and Bushtricë areas answered the call of UPSHIFT.
In addition to the support during 3-day workshop, young people joining UPSHIFT learn about Design Thinking and gain soft skills developing autonomy and competitiveness.
10 groups and 50 young people joined UPSHIFT and were support by mentors such as: Anxhela Gjana, Andrea Shtjefni, Besart Mataj, Emiriona Velia, Ervisa Todaj, Eltion Kuptrija, Gladiola Ismailaj, Krisi Kllapi, Lorela Karabushi and Sonila Zeneli.
During the first day of workshop UPSHIFT youth started working on problem tree and 5 Why-s. They revaluated target groups and stakeholders and the rest of the day continued with design challenge, brainstorming, concepting, and modeling.
On the second day they started building first prototypes which were evaluated by Minister of State for Youth and Children Ms. Bora Muzhaqi. The rest of the day moved on working with budget and preparing for pitching.
The last day of UPSHIFT with the final moment where the jury of UPSHIFT consisting of Ms. Esmeralda Shala, ICTSlab Director; Sonila Pema, Project Manager Emigraiton for Development/Human Rights at UNICEF and Jola Foto Project Manager Modern Slavery Fund at UK Embassy in Albania gave their verdict announcing the winners of UPSHIFT Kukës: Alf Changers shkolla Hafzi Nela, Kukës; Master Minds, gjimnazi Skenderbeu, Has; Klubi Sportiv, Shkolla Mesme Ahmet Voka, Gostil; Nature Voice, shkolla Hafzi Nela, Kukës; Terreni Sportiv Shkolla e Mesme e Bashkuar, Bushtricë.
The winning projects will receive financial support of up to 1,000 euros for their realization and implementation which will be followed by the 21st century skills laboratory center ICTSlab.
The event was made possible by UNICEF in cooperation with ICTSlab and financial support from the United Kingdom.
Winners of UPSHIFT Kukës
The school “Ahmet Voka” lacks a sports field. The group created by Rejardi, Eraldi and Englanjeta think that the solution is to create a sports field. This environment will serve the students to develop various activities.
The group “Alf Changers” from Kukës created by Flavina, Ledina, Fabioni, Luiza, Artemisa and Lidiani want to help all students passionate about reading by enriching the school library with new books.
Hasi Master Minds group created by Joana, Fidenisa, Xhensilda, Syrgena and Enkelejda want to equip their art class with the tools needed to turn it into a movie theater.
The “sports club” from Bushtrica created by Hasime, Gimi, Soni, Rama and Isufi have noticed that their school lacks the sports equipment needed for the development of the Physical Education class. To help, they want to build a school sports environment.
The group Nature Voice created by Ardi, Eljona, Enes, Irini, Rubini are worried about the malnutrition of their peers. They thought that this problem should be solved by planting some fruit trees in the school.