Young people 14-24 years old represent 14.3 percent of the population of Albania and yet despite and challenges they face every day in their local communities are numerous, the root causes remain almost the same from economic factors to cultural practices, social order and lack of education.
Targeting the need of this age group in particular in the developing countries, UNICEF developed a social innovation movement called Upshift and since 2020 it is being implemented in Albania in cooperation with ICTSlab and the support of Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Children, United Nations in Albania and SDG Fund, a investment fund of Goverment of Netherland.
October closed with the organization of the sixth Upshift program in Albania and for more than a year open the called to the young people from Tirana, Durres, Shkodra, Korça and Lezha to become part of this movement.
During Upshift young people develop ideas, services and models to address some of the key issues they face every day in their communities by building recreation centers, applications and services successfully fighting back isolation of youth and bring them together.
Durrës city opened the doors of the sixth edition of Upshift on October 29-30-31. 28 groups and more than 130 young people from Durrës, Kavaja, Rrogozhina, Golemi, Shkozeti and Spitalla applied to join and each one of them was motivated by a social problem in their community.
9 teams and 43 young people successfully managed to pass the selection stage and become part of 3 intensive days of social innovation.
Upshift interventions in local communities helped young people develop and learn through a human-centered methodology, introduced them to mentoring opportunities and funding support increasing their competence and potential for a positive social impact.
For the first time Upshift was modeled in Kosovo in 2014 and was selected by World Bank as an example for youth development.
Proven as one of the most successful and advanced curriculums implemented at young ages in 34 countries around the world, with Design Thinking Upshift trains youth during a three-day workshop introducing them to concepts such as Problem Tree, Design Challenge, Conception and Modeling, Prototyping, Budget Building and Idea Presentation.
With the support of mentors Thoma Axha, Eliona Bregasi, Pranvera Krasniqi, Andrea Shtjefni, Albion Bylykbashi, Lorela Karabushi, Gentian Guni, Denada Isufi and Keli Kërtusha young people learned how to turn an idea into a reality.
The decision of the jury consisting of the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Albania, Mr. Reinout Vos, UNICEF Deputy Representative Ms. Edina Kozma, General Director of the National Youth Agency Ms. Kleina Kasanai and the local entrepreneur Mr. Erjon Jakova announced the winners Rainbow, Book Lovers, Cherry on the top, Hosts, Sunshine.
A sixth group was announced as on the project that will be financed by ICTSlab and their business partners.
Ms. Fregis Sala, Advisor to the Minister of State for Youth and Children, Mr. Bleron Menzelxhiu, advisor to the Mayor of Tirana, Ms. Fiona McCluney, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Albania, Mr. Kushtrim Shala co-founder of ICTSmedia and Ms. Esmeralda Shala, director of ICTSlab were special guests of this event.
Throughout the six editions of UPSHIFT 31 winners were announced and all the them financed. Till this day their projects left a mark on several communities around Albania.
The winning projects are financed upto 1,300 euros by UNICEF in order to implement their idea. This activity was made possible through UNICEF Albania by SDG FUND through funding from the Dutch government and the organization of ICTSlab. Enjoys the partnership of the Ministry of Education, the Minister of State for Youth and Children, United Nations Albania.
The Winners of Upshift Durrës-Kavajë
Rainbow Team created by Sara, Bujari, Ergisa, Eralda. Faced with a great love for arts, pictures and music, these young people together with others from their school face the with the impossibility of gaining more in-depth knowledge in the field of music and painting. They would love to learn more but 45 minutes a week is not enough. Building an environment adapted and well equipped with the right material base in the solution of the problem these young people face. Having such a place in their school will create for them more opportunities to achieve more and thus more benefits for young people that poses talent. This place will become an opened door for every child who want to start their beautiful journey of arts.
Book Lovers Team comes from Durrës and is created by Stela, Matera, Alkida, Dead he Visjana. Their school Neim Babameto lacks a library where children can go and study. But they have also found a place which they can turn into a functional library and not only creating an enabling environment but also help their peers read as much books as they can to further improve themselves. The library will also serve for activities that students will undertake voluntarily.
Mikpritësit Team comes from Durrës and consists for Alesia, Egi, Ana Maria, Donaldi and Klea. They have noticed that Durrës lacks a source of detailed information about tourist destinations depriving tourists of a full experience in Durrës. They believe that this problem can easily be solved by an application which serves as a virtual guide. With four different maps, this application will guide tourist towards archeological places, coastline, urban transport line and traditional Durrës cuisine. This app will be available through Play Store and App Store.
Sunshine Team is also from Durrës. The team of Kejsi, Xhesika, Gersa, Dashnori, and Oresti don’t remember the last time they had a physical education class properly since their new gym is empty and they end up doing their lessons in their class since they also don’t have a school yard. They plan to use the financial support of Upshift to buy the base material such as ball for soccer, basketball, volleyball, mattress and mini football nets.
Cherry on the Top Team is created by Paulina, Mara, Arber, Kejsi and Floralba and they come from Hasan Koci School. Their problem is lack of equipment for physical education class. By completing the gym with the main equipment, they hope it will have a positive impact for the children of this school helping them get involved in many sports competitions.
Fab Four Team comes of Kavaja and consists of Era, Samanta, Xhoja and Halil. After some research and discussions with young people of Kavaja, they understood that this town lacks a place for the development of artistic skills. Given the positive effects on creativity, imagination and the fact that over the years Kavaja has produced talent in the field of art, even of international proportions, they worked to find a solution to this problem. Their solution means creating artistic skills class in the premises of the gymnasium “Aleksandër Moisiu”.