„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


9th July 2018

On June 26th took place a round-table meeting of key persons who, for the recent several years, have been involved in various kinds of YMCA activities in Albania. The purpose of the meeting was to give a good foundation for building the national YMCA movement in Albania.

The meeting was initiated and facilitated by YMCA Europe, however, the process was agreed with all people and parts involved:  Astrit Bajo, David Chang, Egla Lula and Fatmir Lugji. The round-table form of was chosen purposely: the meeting was closing a certain period in the process of rebuilding the National Movement of YMCA in Albania.  After several years of contact and collaboration with various local associations it was necessary to gather all the key leaders in one place at the same time to take a crucial decision towards returning Albania to the group of countries where YMCA exists on the national level.  

For the last 4 years one YMCA organisation (YMCA Tirana) in Albania has been staying in regular contact with YMCA Europe and its member movements. Also their representatives have participated in various YMCA Europe’s programme initiatives. Thanks to this Albania, as a country, kept continuity in active cooperation with YMCA Europe. Moreover, they have been implementing the policies policies related to the previous and present Strategic Plans of YMCA Europe. A remarkable role in it played the YMCAs from the neighbouring countries: YMCA Bitola, YMCA Thessaloniki and above all YMCA in Kosovo.

Certainly YMCA Tirana is a local organisation only, without rights of representing the whole country.  That did not allow them to benefit from the all the opportunities offered to the member movements. Moreover Besides YMCA Tirana there are other forms YMCA activities run by YMCA Shkodra or other organisations in Tirana.  All this determines the need of creation national structures. The question is not  "if ", but "how " to achieve this objective? That was one of the main matters of consideration of the round-table meeting.

Although YMCA Tirana represents the most advanced organisational model, the foundation of the NM cannot be a simple conversion of a local YMCA into YMCA Albania. A wider formula of the national organisation, where YMCA Tirana is a member, and the access for other YMCA associations is open (with fulfilling necessary conditions). Various options were discussed and it was agreed that before the formal structures of National Movements are registered in the court, a national representation would be formed as a collective body, which is above any local association and would become a partner for YMCA Europe.

Other key matters to sort-out were a model of local YMCA association and programme profile of YMCA in Albania. Also the role of YMCA Europe in the process of building the NM needed to be clearly defined.  All these three issues are essential for the vision of Albanian movement and future strategy of development and as such were discussed and concluded by the Action Plan accompanied with a realistic timeline.

Beside the round-table meeting, the Albania hosts organised visits to the places where youth activities are run. It was very encouraging to see  that the initiatives of YMCA leaders have support of municipality authorities e.g. Mr Adriatik Merko, the head of Administrative Unit no.6, Kombinat, where YMCA runs charity projects. Also very interesting activities are run by Tirana English School, which introduces innovative approach to education in Albania.

A great importance had the meeting the youth involved in YMCA activities. Their presence and genuine enthusiasm proved that they need YMCA and it’s is their place.

Author/Source: Adam Rychlik – YMCA Europe Executive Secretary