Speeches Shim

1999 - 2000


In May 1999, USAID/OTI launched a program in Albania with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The Albania Transition Initiative (ATI) was designed to alleviate the impact of the Kosovo refugee crisis on Albanian host communities. Following the return of the refugees, USAID/OTI shifted its focus from simple community improvement projects to a more process-oriented program of community engagement and empowerment. In July 2000, when USAID/OTI programing ended, ATI had completed 44 infrastructure projects in 22 cities and towns, including school, bridge and community center rehabilitation.


USAID/OTI focused ATI to re-instill within Albanian communities a sense of hope for the future as a first step toward rebuilding a vibrant civil society. Toward this end, the project pursued the following objectives:

  • Demonstrate the power and possibility of local civic action in Albania through concrete community projects;
  • Instill principles of accountability of democratically elected local governments to their constituencies; and
  • Publicize models of effective civic action throughout Albania using local media so that the broadest population is exposed to the powerful experiences of local communities engaged in civic action.


To strengthen civil society in Albania, ATI had two primary components:

  • Community Action Plans (CAPs): The CAPs formalized an existing and critical element of the project – the role of community action and engagement around each community improvement project funded.
  • Program-wide media campaign: ATI demonstrated the power of citizens to take action to improve their lives and their communities. The media campaign focused on that theme and extended the lessons learned to the widest audience possible in Albania.
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