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European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.


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Aksion Plus


EVS Accreditation Details
EVS accreditation type
organisation_acctype: 
Receiving
Coordinating
EVS accreditation expiry date 09/04/2017
Location Tirana, Albania
Organisation topics
organisation_theme: 
Media and communication/Youth information
Health
Inclusion topics
organisation_inclusion: 
Cultural differences
Economic difficulties

EVS accreditation number

2013-SI-116

For more information about volunteering and European Voluntary Service in particular, visit the Voluntary Activities section of this website.

Please note, information about organisations and projects is only available in English.
Project Environment

1. Project environment:

Tirana is the largest city and the capital of Albania. It is a fascinating city of contrasts and a great place to explore. It covers an area of 41.8 sq kms. The city is located in the middle of Albania, about 30 kms away from the coast of the Adriatic. The average altitude of the city is 110 meters above the sea level. The city is surrounded by hills and mountains. The Dajti Mountain lies to the east. A small opening lies to the northwest of the valley which overlooks the Adriatic Sea. A wide plain lies to the northwest. The River Tirana flows through the northern part of the city while the River Lane is another important water body. The city has four artificial lakes. These are Tirana, Tufina, Farka, and Paskuqani. You can travel to Tirana by air to the Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza (Rinas International Airport) which is connected to all major European cities. The airport is located about 17 kms away from the city. You can reach the city by the Rinas Express buses that run from the airport to the Skanderbeg Square.Trains and buses are best used for domestic transport within Tirana, though the standard of service is not very good. If you are arriving from Italy, you can travel by boat to the port city of Durres and take the train from there to Tirana. The city enjoys a Mediterranean type of climate. Summers are hot and dry while winters are cool and wet.
The main center of Aksion Plus is located in Tirana where are developed and implemented the major activities but also the other branches are located in the main cities of Albania, Durres, Elbasan, Vlora, Shkoder and Korca. The volunteers would be involved in projects to raise awareness about drugs & HIV, mainly among young communities. These projects would have an impact also at national level as the volunteers would develop skills to be applied at a later stage at country level, in his/her country of origin, among young population. Volunteers would help us in our daily tasks and collaborate, learn with our network of members and partners. The volunteer will live in the apartment with all necessary facilities for life such as kitchen (cooking and food storing facilities), bathroom (shower, toilet, washing machine), bedroom and a living room. The apartment will also have TV, lap top, phone and internet so he/she can communicate with his/her family and friends in home country. Our team will involve the volunteer and engage him in several activities in order to feel very comfort in the albanian society.
Volunteer will receive a mobile phone too, in order to communicate easier with the mentor. Since EVS service is planned for 1 or 2 volunteers at the same time, in case of 2 volunteers, they will share the apartment, but they will have two separate bedrooms. Volunteer will be able to cook in the apartment and buy food in the nearby restaurants. Food allowance will be agreed with the volunteer and sending organization. Monthly food allowance and pocket money will be either directly paid to the volunteers by sending organization, or if agreed Aksion Plus will pay part of the food allowance to the local market and part to the volunteer. The apartment will be located in the vicinity of the office – 5 to 15 minutes walk. Volunteer will have his/her own work space, that includes pc/lap top and internet.
Office also has the equipment such as printers, scanner, digital cameras and similar. However, the work will occasionally demand work with bigger groups of youngsters in local schools, youth offices, during seminars or organization of bigger events. The volunteers will have the conditions to develop their language skills through learning Albanian; the Albanian language lessons will be organized 2 times a week. Social integration of the volunteer will be supported by mentor. Mentors will be persons who were engaged in student exchanges; they will be responsible to take care of the volunteers who get the position in our organization and take care of their needs and help them to adjust to life in Tirana. Also the volunteer will be in contact with other youngsters who are working as volunteers at our office.
Albanians are very hospitable, so the volunteer will be able to adjust him/herself very soon. Aksion Plus volunteers and staff will assist them in every step by offering advice, support in whatever situation they might encounter. The infrastructure of the center is so perfect and can provide everything a foreign volunteer might need. Tirana is quite an interesting city offering diverse possibilities for work but also for leisure, knowing new people as well as to contribute for several needs of the community.

2. Proposed activities for EVS volunteers:

Aksion Plus offers a wide range of possibilities for local volunteers, as well as for foreign volunteers. We have been hosting a young lady volunteer from Greece during 2004-2005 and another boy from Bosnia worked with the National Youth Council. Both parties shared their experience according to the background and skills. This experience was very useful and productive. Both volunteers were involved in daily activities, and they gave their contribution based on their skills. In the same time they started to learn Albanian language. During the time they stayed with our organization they were supervised and mentored by one of our social workers. A foreign volunteer will find a working environment where young and active staff delivers services to youth in high schools. Volunteers will tentatively be involved and give their contribution in the following activities:

• Research, surveys and questionnaires with youth in high schools regarding their knowledge and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS/drugs and reproductive health
• Public relations and foreign relationships
• Organization of training sessions
• Translation and proof writing of projects, publications and articles, website maintenance and updating the information online
• Assist in advocacy and protection of human right campaigns.
• Prevention, provision of education and training with youth in high schools
• Service and education to other vulnerable groups i.e. Roma, drug users, migrants, street children.

The communities we serve differ from youth in high schools to drug users and Roma communities. So there are opportunities for volunteers to choose among these groups we work. Also they can work with the staff of Aksion Plus to prepare activities in the office as well as in schools. There are no precise rules of conduct, but some ways to behave and communicate can be taught from the local people. Yet it is difficult to communicate with drug users, but Albanian people are very friendly and hospitable, especially with foreigners.
Every volunteer would be engaged five days a week, 6 hours a day, including lunch break. Weekends are free. This working time can be flexible depending on the work. If he/she works during the weekend due to the activities, or works longer hours during the trainings/seminars, she/he will have days off accordingly. Working hours will involve language lessons two times a week, as well as meeting with mentor once a week, and meeting with supervisor once in 2 weeks. The work of the volunteers will be supervised and it will be in coherence or in collaboration with the work of local volunteers. National holidays are days off.

The calendar of activities will also be agreed with the volunteer to define his needs and interest about working in our organization. During the presence of the volunteers in Aksion Plus they will be also involved in our activities like trainings in high schools, universities on prevention and treatment of drug abuse/HIV/AIDS. Trainings that are in going on process are also with medical and psycho-social staff of primary health care, prohibition office, directory of prisons etc. Also we organize activities with stakeholders about drug policy and drug legislation in Albania.

3. Volunteer profiles and recruitment process:

Volunteers from organizations which work in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention and drug treatment are preferred. But also activists from human rights groups are welcomed. Volunteers having experience with advocacy and lobbying skills: volunteers who are able to provide training for peers or TOTs; volunteers who have skills in writing reports or various publications: volunteers with excellent computer skills website design, Photoshop and other computer proficiencies.
Besides this, we are willing to host volunteers with few skills and abilities. They will have the opportunities to work and learn from the activities of our organization in the field of AIDS prevention and how we are dealing with drug users. These volunteers will also serve as bridges between our organization and other NGOs in their countries. Our staffs are proficient in many foreign languages: English, Italian, and German. They will assist volunteers to find accommodation, know more about Albanian realities, local people, customs and our history. Volunteers can also help us in proof reading our projects, reports and other informative materials. Volunteers from neighbouring countries are welcomed, taking into account similarities and same patterns. Not only HIV/drugs related organizations are welcomed; art & culture is also one of the areas of our interest. Albanian people have many skills and they are interested to learn more about other’s culture. Most of them know foreign languages, are open toward literature, art and painting. Aksion Plus has many artists who work to prepare our publications, posters and brochures. The selection process will be managed by the EVS Volunteer Coordinator, together with the Project Coordinator, and will have an open and non-discriminatory approach. The purpose of the selection process is to enable the organisations involved (Coordinating, Host and Sending) to assess the volunteers and make suitable placements. This will be made possible through various forms of both written and spoken communication.

The selection process will consist of the following:

- Transmission of the candidature (CV and letter of motivation) of the volunteer/sending organisation to the coordinating and host organisations;
- Evaluation of documents sent
- Interviews with candidates (in person, by Skype or by phone)
- Communication of results.

4. Number of volunteers hosted:

Our organization is able to host 4 volunteers at the same time.

5. Risk prevention, protection and safety:

Our organization in Tirana is located 10 min walking from the city centre. We are based in a 2 store building beside the American Embassy in Tirana. It is a quiet area and safe also because the police that are working at the embassy, but now days Albania is considered a safe place to live and work.
There is a good environment for anyone to get education, to work, to express himself especially in Tirana that now as a population over than 1milion residents. Many prejudices surround Albania, but the country is now safe for travel. In fact, despite poor street lighting, the level of petty crime is much less than in most Western countries.
Each volunteer will have a mentor in the office that will welcome and guide him/her throughout the year. The mentor will work daily with the volunteer and will be reachable in the evenings if needed. The mentor supports the volunteer finding a safe accommodation, language courses, interacting with other volunteers. Our team is young and friendly and will support as much as possible the integration of the volunteer in our organization in Tirana. The volunteer’s welfare will be at the forefront of the programme. We will make sure they feel safe, free from harm, abuse, or neglect. All the volunteers will receive information and training around health and safety, risk assessment and cultural learning to prevent possible conflicts. Aksion Plus runs as e team and we always are in contact with new people and we are able to create a motivational environment for the volunteer to feel accepted and ready to learn and to involve himself to our projects. Every week there with be a staff meeting to discuss regarding the projects, the objectives and of course the needs and process of involving in to the NGO, the relations with the staff members to improve the communication between them.

During their service the volunteers will have a regular contact by phone, email and internet telephone with the project leader of their sending organisation at least one time per months. Therefore the volunteer will receive all contact details (e-mail, telephon number, post adress) of the sending organisation as well as the sending organisation will have all contact details of the volunteer in the hosting country. In addition to the their midterm and final report of the volunteers, they will be asked to write a monthly reports about their activities, integration and social elements and intercultural learning experiences abroad. The function of these reports is e.g. to get an overview of the volunteers situation. Aksion Plus will take responsibility for arranging the comfortable and safe accommodation for the volunteer. Open communication is very important for Aksion Plus-staff, and volunteers will have daily contact with us. We will check in informally with volunteers both on a day to day basis and in regularly scheduled meetings.
If volunteers have any issues related to work or living conditions, they will have the opportunity to inform their supervisors who will take steps to address the issues as quickly as possible.

6. Special needs (for long term EVS volunteers):

We prefer volunteers with full abilities of living and working in a hectic environment working with different target groups such as youngsters, drug users, LGBT, Sex Workers and Roma Community.
Both genders are welcomed. Staff members are trained to work with young people and some of them have experience and knowledge regarding youth exchange. As we are working in the field of harm-reduction the staff members are with different backgrounds such as doctors, psychiatrists, counsellors and social workers so Aksion Plus can support the needs of youngsters coming to our organization. Aksion Plus staff members have a long experience working with groups with disabilities and those living in the margins of society such as: drug users, Roma people, LGBT and very often we are able to handle people with mental health problems caused by prolonged drug use or other psychiatric related problems.

Motivation and EVS experience

Our motivation to participate in EVS follows our longterm experience with the Youth Programme and the realisation of different youth projects by us and our national and international partners. Aksion Plus is founded in 1992 from a group of volunteers to prevent the spread of Hiv/Aids. Aksion Plus is working in other towns of Albania exept Tirana in HIV/AIDS/Drugs prevention, Methadone Maintence Treatement education on sexual & reproductive health of youth. Actually we are running the eight year of the project of Methadone therapy is an ongoing natural process of the Aksion Plus strategy in providing complementary services to drug users. Methadone Centre started by Aksion Plus in 2005 in Tirana supported by Soros and now we have 5 other MMT centres in other towns. We provide professional training to various groups: peer educators, staff members, teachers, police officers, health practitioners, social workers, members from other NGOs. Also we involve a lot volunteers in our programs. We want to participate in European Voluntary Service as a Host Organization and give the young people the chance for intercultural exchange, giving the possibility of getting information and education regarding the areas that we are working with. We have the aim to raise awareness of young people about drug abuse,HIV/AIDS prevention and treatmet.
During the volunteering, both the volunteer and the members of Aksion Plus can learn from each other. This will automatically create the process of intercultural communication. We consider, this itself, as a best way of intercultural learning. It contributes in a very productive way to our appreciation of the diversity of today’s Europe, respecting ethnic, religious, sexual and other differences, certainly when working into this field of health, where a lot of values and norms are influencing the point of view, like for example when dealing with sexual and reproductive health and rights. While working in the field of health, mainly sexual education and promotion, also the intercultural dimension of this fields, but from different cultural backgrounds, is a strong learning point, as well for us as hosting organisation, as for the volunteer. We will do our best to integrate the volunteers into our care-team, offering them guidance and support in all respects as well as any help to cope with difficult situations that might occur.

Description of the organisation

The Humanitarian Association "Aksion Plus" aims:

- to be institutionalized as a potential and an outstanding alternative that promotes AIDS/STI/drug prevention.
- deal with sexual education and other related initiatives.
- to recruit intellectuals, youngsters, doctors, social workers, teachers etc and by doing so, promoting concrete and useful initiatives in the above-mentioned objectives.
- to raise the public awareness regarding AIDS prevention and other preventive means.
- to support and assist people living with HIV/AIDS, drug users and other vulnerable groups to be integrated into the society.
- to exert the influence in establishing a new progressive humanitarian movement in the fight against AIDS.
- to co-operate and co-ordinate with other similar and useful initiatives, aiming in the fight of AIDS.
- to sensitize the population targeting youngsters inside and outside schools

Aksion Plus is a non-profiting organization
Number of paid staff who work for the organization: 8 persons part-time and 6 full time
Aksion Plus has an Advisory Board composed by 7 members (4 from Tirana and 3 from A+ branches); the executive Board composed by three persons; a project coordinator/public relationships, a finance officer, and the team of 5 specialized trainers. The most important issues are discussed in the General Assembly.
Aksion Plus involves a lot of volunteers from the Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and youth from high schools. Aksion Plus is a very skilled organization in providing training to various groups: students, social workers, health practitioners, media journalists, NGO members, staff, teachers, parents and police officers.

Aksion Plus works in close collaboration with:
The National Youth Council structures/infrastructure i.e. Youth Parliament, Youth Centres, volunteers, trainers, social workers. Institute of Public Health, Albanian Group of Human Rights to protect the rights of drug users. Some controversial cases of drug users were treated by this NPO, Ministry of Public Order, Regional Office of Drug trafficking and other Police forces. UNICEF. Aksion Plus was actively involved in the Rapid Assessment and Response funded and monitored by UNICEF. UNFPA recently funded the creation of a friendly space for drug users. Also training, non-formal activities, publications etc.

Aksion Plus is implementing the following services and activities:
Methadone Maintenance Program for nearly 200 clients in Tirana and 300 in MMT centers in 5 other towns. This program is supported by Soros (IHRD) and currently by GFATM
Improving the sexual and reproductive health of drug users, creation of friendly spaces for them (in collaboration with UNFPA).
Surveys, questionnaires, assessment of the situation with respect to drug use (Aksion Plus was involved actively during the latest Behavioral/Biological Surveillance conducted by Family Health International – August 2005)
Outreach (contacts with DU s, providing information and life skills, collecting used syringes, condom distribution etc)
Raise the awareness of the general population
Training with students of Social Work, DU s, peer educators, and other youth
Formal and non formal education with the staff and volunteers
Publication of brochures, posters and other material
Medical assistance and simple medical training, referral to other services.
Training with the police forces with the Anti-drug Dept regarding drug use, harm reduction, protection of human rights of DU s.
Series of seminars and lectures in high schools of Tirana. Another very useful service that is now available on the center is counseling, one to one or group counseling.
Lectures at the Faculty of Social Work and Psychology to present the center’s activities and have their input in the Center.
There are four main directions of our activities:
Prevention-education-communication-peer education from social workers and psychologists to youngsters in high school concerning HIV/AIDS/drugs/reproductive health. Also raising the awareness of general public for these problems (Social Youth Center and other branches of Aksion Plus in other towns of Albania). Peer education is one of the most important tools we use to build life skills/capacities, and to modify the risky sexual behaviors.
Service and treatment for vulnerable groups – implementing a holistic program in order to reduce harms that are related to drug use, prevention of HIV/AIDS/STIs among the injecting drug users and other consequences, both individual and social (training, peer education, individual and group counseling, outreach in the drug scene, research, condom distribution, advocacy, protection of human rights, referral to other services etc).
Capacity building and advocacy. Aksion Plus trainers are capable to deliver training sessions to various targeted groups: students in high schools, Social Work and Psychology students, teachers, journalists, police officers, parents, health practitioners, volunteers and other care givers. Advocacy is also one of the main components of our work. Advocacy is implemented in two levels: 1- Governmental and policy makers 2- Foreign agencies, UN agencies and other national/international networks. Aksion Plus is a member of regional and international networks: CEEHRN, SWAN, IHRD, SEEA-Adriatic Network on Harm Reduction and Addiction, CRANSTOUN.
Publication, research Aksion Plus is a specialized organization in producing Training Modules, Guidelines, posters, brochures, leaflets, newsletters and other informing materials. We are capable to conduct our own researches and studies with targeted groups: youth in high schools, drug users and sex workers (certified by UN agencies). Very often we cooperate with other specialized structures to conduct research and evaluation interventions (UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO, Institute of Public Health).

Contact details
Organisation name Aksion Plus
Street Rr. Stavro Vinjau, Qendra e Shendetit Mendor Nr.1
Postal code 1001
Town/city Tirana
Country Albania
Email address gencaxionp@albmail.com
Website www.aksionplus.net
Telephone number +355692066359
Fax number

Last update: 10/04/2014