Three main lines of intervention were identified for Albania


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Socio-Economic Study for MUD


In 2015, the Ministry of Urban Development (MUD) initiated the process of preparing new Local Development Plans - strategic documents outlining the vision and actions for the development of territorial units.

Realising the importance of an efficient community consultation process, especially in areas of informal settlements, the Ministry decided to seek additional advice from social science researchers on community participation in decision-making, and evaluation of social programmes and services. 

Intervention Logic +
On request of the Ministry of Urban Development, as an important project partner, PERFORM supported an evaluation of previous local development plans, which served as a starting point toward designing an appropriate methodology for community consultation to be used in drafting of the new plans. The evaluation results indicated the most common pitfalls hindering community participation, and recommendations and tools for overcoming them. 

Subsequently, PERFORM supported the design of a community participation methodology that incorporated best practices while addressing the local context. The underlying aim was to have local plans that were more responsive to citizens’ needs, giving them a higher sense of ownership, and a tool for requesting accountability. The methodology design process was closely coordinated with the Ministry of Urban Development. 

Additionally, several interviews were organised with the staff of subordinate agencies, which, along with municipalities, are the bodies responsible for ensuring that communities are duly consulted in the drafting of local development plans. 

Particularly, insights gained through interviews with the staff of five out of eleven directorates of the Ministry were used to identify institutional impediments in using research evidence and collaborating with the social science research sector, and to produce a set of recommendations that would help the Ministry address these barriers in the future. 
Results +
The intervention provided the Ministry with a methodology for participatory development and community consultation in drafting new local development plans. The related expected result was for the Ministry, subordinate agencies and municipalities to internalise the methodology and reflect it in their requirement to consultancy companies. During 2016, half of the total number of local development plans were initiated and the rest will follow in the coming year(s). The Ministry of Urban Development distributed the methodology to the consultancy companies/organisations contracted in the first round, and PERFORM expects that uptake of the methodology will be even more substantial in the next round.

Moreover, this pilot case served to identify leverage points for the Ministry of Urban Development to adapt its organisational functioning and working culture to embrace the use of research evidence; thus creating a permanent mutual collaboration culture between the Ministry and the research sector, which will continue beyond the facilitation of PERFORM.
Next steps to expand systemic change +
Fulfilment of the objectives of this intervention could produce benefits that go beyond drafting of local development plans. In fact, there is potential for the positive outcomes to extend to other MUD activities, for instance, the community consultation methodology could be used in other planning processes.

At this moment, the Ministry of Urban Development is continuing the dialogue with PERFORM toward designing the second phase of this intervention, capitalising on the results of the first phase with the goal of improving evidence-based practices and establishing a sustainable collaboration mechanism with the research sector.

Following the review of the strategy behind the development and implementation of this intervention, and based on the experience and lessons learned, PERFORM plans to showcase its approach to other interested institutions, increasing the chance of replicating this pilot to other ministries.

*Photo by Ministry of Urban Development of the Republic of Albania