Invest in Women, Transform a Community: Mirdita Women Lead Economic Revival of the Region

March 11, 2024

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, highlights the critical importance of supporting women’s and girls’ rights for achieving sustainable economies and improving the quality of life, in particular in vulnerable and underdeveloped communities.

The Milieukontakt NGO successfully concluded its project titled “Sustainable Tourism Development of Mirdita through the Promotion of Culture Heritage”, supported through the EU4Culture grants programme. The project’s closing event showcased its significant achievements, especially in empowering women and young girls within the local community.

Mirdita’s rich tapestry of cultural, historical, and natural heritage, along with its deep-rooted traditions, served as the foundation for this initiative. The project aimed at preserving these traditions and leveraging the region’s unique attributes to address socio-economic challenges. It provided training for over a hundred women and girls in handicrafts, woodwork, and tourism services, fostering social inclusion, active community participation, and creating sustainable livelihood opportunities, particularly in rural areas like Mirdita.

One of the project’s highlights was the focus on professional courses in handicrafts, where participants, primarily young girls, explored various embroidery techniques and the creation of traditional clothing. This immersion into Mirdita’s cultural heritage not only contributed to its preservation but also enhanced tourism, as showcasing these unique cultural aspects attracts visitors and increases appreciation for the region.

Additionally, the project enabled women artisans to exhibit their products at fairs and events and equipped them with new skills for online product promotion through social media and digital marketing.

“We are proud of Mirdita’s authentic assets, which have been passed down from generation to generation, as well as cultural, historical and natural resources of this region.  We are committed to promoting these treasures through tourism to turn them into a sustainable source of income for the Mirdita community. We are grateful for the work of the organization of Milieukontakt, the EU and UNOPS in this remarkable project.” noted Albert Mëlyshi, the mayor of Mirdita.

“By passing traditions from professionals to the younger generation, this project not only preserved what was built over years but also infused innovative and digital elements. This approach reignited hope for sustainable development in the local community. Particularly in Mirdita, where five such grants were implemented, the project stood out due to the visible enthusiasm of participants. They eagerly shared their learnings, passed on knowledge, and even taught children, showcasing the community’s tangible progress.” noted Entela Sulka, Programme Officer, Transport, Tourism/Culture and Telecommunication, Delegation of the European Union to Albania.

“Your efforts to empower communities by teaching important skills, especially to women and youth, really stands out. New skills have created new opportunities for income generation and improving socio-economic development of Mirdita” underlined Pamela Lama, UNOPS/EU4Culture Senior Programme Manager.