For the past year I have been working with three other women in the health sector of my group as part of the Peace Corps Anti-Trafficking committee. This was one of the many committees that I decided to join when starting my service. The group before us had created an anti-trafficking facilitation guide during their service and we wanted to expand on that during our time on the committee. We began brainstorming and reached out to an anti-trafficking NGO in Tirana to partner together for an anti-trafficking training of trainers. We decided that we wanted to work with professionals across the country to implement activities for youth and marginalized populations regarding human rights and anti-trafficking. The NGO, Different and Equal, was extremely interested in working together to make this dream a reality and we decided to apply for a US Embassy Democracy Grant in the summer/fall of 2014. Another member of the ATIP committee spearheaded most of the grant writing with help for the rest of us on the committee and after a few months of waiting, we were informed that we had received the grant. Then the work began. We emailed back and forth, sometimes over ten emails a day, to make sure that all the details were in order throughout the entire planning process. Each member of ATIP was in charge of leading a session at the national training of trainers conference. I led a lesson about working with youth and developing interactive lesson plans. It was really quite the experience for me to have the opportunity and the honor of working with so many wonderful professionals dedicated to stopping trafficking in Albania. We were even able to print and translate over 500 copies of the facilitation guide that the group before us created. Those guides are being distributed to Peace Corps volunteers and organizations all over Albania. I am so proud of the work our ATIP committee did over the past year and I can’t wait to see what the next group has in store for the committee. Here is the press release with more detailed information about the project.
PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE AND LOCAL NGO COMPLETE ANTI-TRAFFICKING TRAINING IN TIRANA
The Peace Corps Albania Anti-Trafficking in Persons Committee (ATIP) partnered with Tirana-based not-for-profit organization, “Different and Equal” (D&E), completed a successful training of trainers (ToT) at the Hotel Mondial in Tirana on Feb. 11-12.
The trainers were awarded a US Embassy Democracy Commission Small Grant for a year-long anti-trafficking education prevention program last June. The project consists of two parts: Phase I, a 2-day training of trainers; and Phase 2, community-based educational sessions by the participants in their communities, in conjunction with a 6-month monitoring and evaluation component, implemented by Different & Equal, assisted by Peace Corps Volunteers.
Approximately 40 Albanian professionals, representing many communities were educated on human rights and human trafficking, along with key sessions preparing participants with the information and skills needed to deliver trafficking prevention lessons to raise awareness and strengthen grass-roots efforts to end trafficking within their communities.
Sessions included topics such as, What Makes a ‘Victim’ Vulnerable, Risk Factors and Warning Signs, Designing Your Training: Step by Step, and How to Deliver an Effective Presentation.
Trafficking of human beings continues to be a major problem for Albanian society, rooted in deep poverty, corruption and the pervasive desire of poor people to migrate in search for better opportunities within or outside the country. According to US Department of State TIP Report 2014, Albania is a source country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.
Participants were enthusiastic in their participation and role as trainees and trainers. The ToT had a wide variety of individuals from small towns to the capital city. Participants were chosen for a variety of attributes, including diversity of experience, access to a variety of communities, and skill sets. Most participants seemed invigorated by the sessions, as expressed by lively discussion and sharing of thoughts and experiences. ATIP and D&E are optimistic that the energy displayed during the two days of training will drive participants to provide a variety of community activities to educate a broad range of Albanian society.
Also present at the concluding ceremony were Deputy Minister of Interior and National Coordinator for Anti-Trafficking Elona Gjebrea, US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Valerie O’Brien, and Peace Corps Country Director Earl Wall.
Anti-Trafficking in Persons Committee (ATIP) Albania: ATIP is a an initiative of Peace Corps Albania, which promotes the dignity and safety of vulnerable women and children by combating human trafficking through spreading awareness and reducing stigma, empowering women and children to recognize and avoid dangerous situations, and supporting Peace Corps Volunteers, local NGOs, and state agencies in the fight against human trafficking.
Different & Equal: D&E is an Albanian non-for-profit organization established in May 2004 that provides education, intervention and reintegration services for Albanian victims of trafficking.