Albania’s Joint Programme (JP) for Integrated Social Protection leverages cross-sectoral coordination to improve municipal social protection delivery. The JP’s goal is to translate policy intent into local actions to ensure that the most vulnerable have access to quality social care services. Institutional capacity and delivery tools will be strengthened through improved data systems and monitoring and evaluation, while effective investments in human and financial resources will be made to promote social inclusion and cohesion.
Many activities have been implemented over the JP’s first six months. Meetings have been held in pilot municipalities to better understand the local context, map existing services and assess the needs which will be the basis of the social care plan. Efforts have been initiated to support the municipalities in both social protection policy design and the capacities needed to put them into place. Human rights have been mainstreamed by including local civil society in discussions with decision-makers, and promoting consensus-building on social policies. An online platform has also been developed to serve as a resource hub for all in-service social workers and staff administering aspects of social protection.
The JP has repurposed up to 20% of funding to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the most vulnerable. The team has worked to reinforce the government’s COVID-19 communications, and supported coordination across key sectors, data and monitoring and evaluation for impact and response. Thus, despite the global health crisis, the JP in Albania has made great strides towards improving social protection delivery at the municipal level.