Youth guide for Durrës is a group of volunteers youth who have been established in the context of the project supported by UNDP through the Regional Program for Local Democracy in the Western Balkans and lasted from June 2019-June to 2020. 84 youngsters were trained as tourist guides for the coastal city in the context of this project. Of these, 64 young people from Durrës were trained as guides and gained knowledge that could be used as a tool for employment and self-employment in the field of tourism, while another 20 were trained to prepare videos and promotional spots for assets of the Durrës region (TIC & Multimedia), using new technologies for the promotion of the archaeological, historical, cultural, artistic, culinary and other historical resourced of Durrës city.
This group of youngsters are now all a part of Udhetim i Lire volunteers and supporting activities with the main focus on the promotion of cultural and heritage values of Durrës city.
About Youth Guide for Durrës
The youth guide volunteers have been actively engaged in the promotion of cultural heritage of Durrës city. They accompany groups of tourists to the most important cultural sites in Durres city, making them informed and aware of their importance and cultural values. In the past, Durrës as a coastal city with rising numbers of tourists was missing an initiative that involved local youth in promoting cultural heritage in Durres. In collaboration with Directorate of Education, Innovation, Sports, Culture, Religious Communities in Durrës Municipality, this group of volunteers have been participating in various activities related to awareness on environmental issues and tourism.
This volunteer practice has firstly been designed to inform the youth community in social and cultural activities mainly related to environmental issues and psycho-social education. This group of youth have participated in supporting youth and families affected by the earthquake in Durrës in November 2019. They have organized psycho-social activities in collaboration with the association staff in the hotels where these families have been accommodated. This initiative have been followed even in the high schools attended by the supported youngsters.
Main stakeholders of the practice are Durrës Municipality, and especially the Directorate of Education, Innovation, Sports, Culture, Religious Communities in Durres Municipality, Local Educational Office. These stakeholders support and engage youth trained on delivering touristic guides for Durrës city.
Duration of the Good practice
2019 – ongoing
The main institution in charge
Udhëtim i Lirë-Liberi di Viaggiare
Miranda Mansaku, President of Udhëtim i Lirë-Liberi di Viaggiare
T: +355 695720494
The geographical scope of the Good practice
Location of the practice
Durrës, Durrës region, Albania
The exact cost depends on the number of volunteers, and the number of travel required for volunteers to be able to actively participate in the initiative. In general, you should secure funds for:
- Initial capacity building for volunteers (training and lectures)
- Covering the cost of travel for the volunteers
- Promotional materials used by the group of volunteers as T-shirts and badges
Evidence of success
Since 2020 this group of youth volunteers have been actively engaged in the activities related to cultural, heritage and touristic values promotion. The idea implemented in 2019, with the group of volunteers, continued in other projects in order to promote and grow further this group of youngsters. The program is supported on a local level by Durrës Municipality and other stakeholders.
One of the most important achievements of this volunteer group was the publication of the guide of the city of Durrës, which contains materials prepared by young people trained during the project.
The volunteer work has been affected by the pandemic situation but the association have supported their engagement through online sessions. They have been motivated to continue creating and developing concrete actions in different fields, including social, cultural, and artistic ones. Supporting this group and their ideas have been realized upon the association’s funds and unfortunately, sometime adversities have been encountered. Some of the youth volunteers live in suburban areas of Durrës city which makes it difficult for them to attend association volunteering work, and some others due to their studies have moved abroad and left the group. The association have supported this group through capacity-building session.
Potential for learning or transfer
The group of youngsters that participated in the Youth Guide program are now shaping the role of youth volunteer in social community life. They have been working in their own communities’ especially high schools in order to raise awareness of the importance of volunteering and to encourage youth participation in civil society.
Working with their peers, and realizing peer-to-peer education, especially in cultural heritage have strengthened their role as volunteers. They continue to share their experience in order to serve as a role model and influence their peers and friends, fighting the stigma toward volunteer work. 5 of them are now group leaders working and promoting youth volunteer work.
How to start?
This group of volunteers was established with the support of UNDP in the context of the project “Youth Guide of Durres”. The UNDP support covered the costs of initial capacity building of the youth volunteers. Throughout the duration of the project, it also received financial support from the Durrës Municipality.
To assure the sustainability of this program and to support the volunteers and their work as best as possible it is crucial to connect with institutions such as:
- The Municipality
- Local Educational Institutions (Directorates or other high level authorities on education)
- Directorate of Education, Innovation, Sports, Culture, Religious Communities in Durres Municipality
- Local high schools and universities
- Regional Employment Office
The group of volunteers was established after a set of training on communication, TIC and multimedia, elements of touristic guides etc.
This group of youngsters have been the focus of the association for raising their skills and capacities not only in the context of tourism since 2020. Some of the training they have attended in order to be involved in different areas of the association’s work has been on soft skills; the decision-making process; conflict resolution; communication; psycho-social activities; networking; and writing a project proposal. This training has been offered by the staff of the association but also assured in the context of different projects implemented by the association. Groups of volunteers are the focus of association activities.
Database of volunteers
Through these two years, the association has established a database of volunteers in order to identify and support their needs for capacity building and encourage them in the implementation of their skills and abilities.
Through the association website, the youth who are interested in volunteering can apply and be contacted immediately for further communications. Within the big group of volunteers, there are small and organized groups who in the context of different initiatives are engaged and responsible for their local youth communities.