A two-week study visit (3 - 17 March 2015) took place in Albania in the Shkodra, Malesi e Madhe and Puke Districts (Shkodra Region), in the framework of the one-year KEP AUSTRIA project for the development of a “New micro-credit scheme to women empowerment”. The Project is co-financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation with around 50.000 EUR.

18 women entrepreneurs participated in the study and various meetings were held with the Municipality of Shkodra and with local NGOs and institutions such as Hapat e Lehte, Gruaja tek Gruaja, Comunita' Papa Giovanni XXIII, Teuleda, SHGPAZ.
Two round tables were carried out with the Project Partners, FondiBesa, MAG2 Finance and LVIA, in order to present their expertise and methodology for promoting women‘s enterprises.
The two-week study visit tried to understand why women normally do not access credit systems and analysed how to target and best serve women entrepreneurs and boost employment. It analysed the period 2010-13 and was based on: a collection of recommendations and suggestions for the promotion of a gender-friendly business environment; an overview of the situation of women entrepreneurs in the Shkodra Region (i.e. socio-demographic profile of women entrepreneurs, types of women-owned enterprises); an overview of the situation of women’s access to finance, business management and business promotion and a mapping of the Credit Institutions in Shkodra, Malesi and Madhe.

The study will constitute a basis for the realisation of the micro credit scheme.
Both qualitative and quantitative research methods adopting participatory data collection were applied and a semi-structured questionnaire was prepared and will be used in the forthcoming weeks.

The project matches two of the four pillars of the “National Strategy for Employment and Skills 2014-2020”, of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth of Albania: effective labour market policies and social inclusion and territorial cohesion. *** The KEP AUSTRIA - part of CEI Know-how Exchange Programme - is financed by Austria, with funding provided by the Austrian Development Cooperation (based on an agreement between the Central European Initiative and Austrian Development Agency). The Programme aims at promoting capacity building and technical assistance through know-how transfer from CEI EU to CEI non-EU Member States.
For more information: pibernik@cei.int