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#GreenBerat – Project benefiting the Roma and Egyptian Community awarded with first prize during successful Prize Winning Ceremony for Public Awareness Contest in Berat Region, Albania

On Saturday, 17th October 2020, the prosperous participants of the #GreenBerat contest were awarded during a ceremony in Berat, where also Ornela Çuçi, Deputy Minister at Ministry for Tourism and Environment, the Mayors of the Municipalities and the Deputy Ambassador of Switzerland in Albania Patrik Meier were present.

The competition was performed under the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO ISWM Berat project, supported by INFRASTRUKTUR & UMWELT, in consortium with SEHLHOFF, Germany and FLAG, Albania. Its aim was to involve the community and raise awareness towards global and especially local issues and problems regarding waste management and the environment. According to COVID-19 Protocol, the ceremony was framed by an exhibition of products made as part of the competition and a reception for all participants.

More than 30 projects were performed to win prizes between 25,000 ALL up to 300,000 ALL. Many groups of children from Kindergarten, students with their teachers, NGOs, youth centres, neighbourhood initiatives and sport clubs performed various activities with the overall aim of a green and healthy environment: Creative recycling und upcycling, clean-up campaigns, public awareness and education. It is worth mentioning, that more than half of the projects were submitted by women. Based on short descriptions and photo and video documentations of the performed projects a committee of representatives from Berat Region Municipalities evaluated the projects.

The first ranked project was established by the NGO “Shoqata Egjiptiane Ndihmë për të Varfërit” (“Egyptian Relief Society for the Poor”). The main aim was to support the Roma and Egyptian families in Berat which earn part of their livelihoods from collecting recyclables from bins, rivers and the landfill under unhealthy and dangerous conditions. The working group identified families from the Roma and Egyptian Community, who wanted to participate and families and businesses in their neighbourhood willing to separately collect recyclables. The NGO organised protection equipment (e.g. gloves) and bags for collection. In total, 450 bags were collected and sold by the beneficiary families. Thereby, the first ranked project shows inclusion and cooperation of waste pickers in their neighbourhood, increased recycling, emphasised on safer working conditions and increased awareness for waste management and recycling.