Vienna / Tirana, 30 Juni 2021: Election-Watch.EU (wahlbeobachtung.org) has successfully concluded the project „Civic Education for Youth in Albania and the Western Balkans“, which has been implemented with Young Professionals Network (YPN) and supported by Robert Bosch Foundation since 2020.
In the context of this project, Election-Watch.EU has supported young and first-time voters in their critical engagement with the electoral process around the parliamentary elections on 25 April 2021 and encouraged them to actively participate in a non-partisan manner.
The workshop „Active Youth in the Electoral Process“, which took place online and in Albania in the beginning of March, contributed to strengthen the knowledge and skills of a young generation of Albanian voters and included modules on Albania’s integration in the EU. The Central Election Commission supported the workshop that took place in respect of Covid-19 rules with a contribution on novelties in the electoral process. As a consequence of the workshop, two thirds of the participants became actively involved on election day, namely as non-partisan observers or as technical operators in the election administration at the local level.
What is more, through practice-oriented and participatory modules, the participants received the opportunity to develop their own contents for young voter education and were encouraged to disseminate the lessons learned from the workshop to a larger audience in the context of follow-up projects. Several proposals were submitted, three were selected, and two were successfully implemented.
With one project, participants encouraged young voters to critically participate in the elections and advocated against vote buying through a social media campaign with videos from Elbasan, Korça und Shkodra. In another project, participants assessed the views of 200 youth in four districts regarding elections under the conditions of Covid-19, the integrity of the electoral process and alternative voting techniques. The results of this study were shared in the media and summarised in an Infographic which can be used for future electoral reform advocacy.
Participants have positively evaluated the project, which will also be reflected in the context of a study on civic education at the University of Roehampton, in its entirety. The participants’ election day and the results of the follow-up projects were discussed at a closing event in Albania during which ideas for future projects on the inclusion of youth in the electoral process and in electoral reforms were also discussed.