On Monday June 17th LevizAlbania held a special event to highlight its support to civic and media initiatives during the last four years, to present the online portal www.PortaVendore.al and to award prizes to journalists working with the portal.
“LevizAlbania is one of the instruments where Albania and Switzerland cooperate in order to produce democratic change. I have seen through examples that young people can stand before big businesses and influence them to improve environmental standards. Other young people have stood before mayors to make them consider community needs. Activists have peacefully and within the rule of law interrupted or stopped the destruction of important rivers and other spaces by their protests and actions”, said Swiss Ambassador Adrian Maître.
The event opened with a street theatrical performance by the Albania Community Assist (ACA) where young people depicted typical electoral events, political maneuverings and mayor’s shifts in their behavior prior and after the elections.
“LevizAlbania received over 1,300 applications through five calls for applications proposing to stimulate change and to seek more democracy, more involvement in decision-making, more transparency, and more investment in favor of policies for citizens. It has fulfilled one of its core missions by reaching 56 municipalities or 92% of Albania's territory”, said the head of the implementing consortium of LevizAlbania, Andi Dobrushi.
Three independent journalists received awards by the project, in recognition of their reporting work. The prize for Best Investigative Article was delivered by Swiss Ambassador Maître to journalist Fatbardha Nergjoni, a freelancer from Elbasan. The award for two Best In-Depth Articles went to journalists Sami Curri and Geri Emiri.
The jury members also rewarded with a gratitude certificate the editor of Porta Vendore Elisa Gjerani and journalist Artan Rama, for their contribution in the platform.
A video presentation highlighted the benefits of the Porta Vendore platform as a virtual place for storing, sharing, reporting and informing on local government performance. This portal brings together independent and investigative journalists that write and report on local governance issues. It serves the purpose of increasing transparency and accountability on the part of municipalities, as well as informing and educating citizens on their rights regarding elected authorities.
LevizAlbania has supported a wide range of initiatives coming from citizens, both groups and individuals that improve local democracy including environmental protection, public finances and municipal transparency.