Civil Society Index

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CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
The CIVICUS Civil Society Index Analytical Country Report for Albania is prepared by the research
team of the Institute for Democracy and Mediation, with the advice and mentorship of the CIVICUS
researchers and program advisors.
The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the
views of UNDP.
Elona Dhembo
Blerta Picari
Edlira Peco
Egest Gjokuta
Rovena Sorra
Llukan Tako
Nevila Sokoli
Sotiraq Hroni
Artan Karini
Amy Bartlett
Bilal Zeb
Jacob M. Mati
Jennifer Williams
Mark Nowottny
Megan MacGarry
Tracy Anderson
Entela Lako, Programme Analyst
ZAZANI Design & Publicity (SOTIRI Group)
IDM, Tirana 2010
The publication of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index Analytical Country Report for Albania is made possible with UNDP
assistance financed through the UN Coherence Fund in the framework of
the One UN Programme for Albania.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
ollowing two decades of transition to democ-
racy, I am pleased that we can share with all in-
terested parties the first comprehensive assessment
of the state of Civil Society in Albania supported
by UNDP. This report will no doubt contribute and
serve public and private institutions in the country,
international development partners that continue to
support Albania to further its democratic achieve-
ments, reforms, social inclusion, and economic vi-
ability. While the main focus here is the level of
development of civil society, the findings on their
own indicate a certain level of maturity that comes
as result of local initiatives, the social and political
context in which civil society operates, but also the
international support to this important and indis –
pensable component of democratic institutions in
the country. The Civil Society Index is also a focal
reference document for challenges ahead for the de-
velopment and consolidation of the sector. UNDP’s involvement and support for this un-
dertaking was developed with a view to aligning na-
tional perceptions and understanding of civil soci –
ety with standards and experiences of democracies
worldwide. The timing also coincides with the role
of civil society becoming stronger in consolidating
democracy, rule of law and sustainable develop-
ment. This joint endeavour’s principal target is the
strengthening of civil society in Albania, based on
in-depth analysis and assessment of its role, the val-
ues it stands for and its interactions with citizens. It
also looks at the internal governance and organisa –
tion, influence on policies and the mutually reinforc –
ing impact that civil society has on the socio-eco –
nomic and political context where it operates and
vice-versa. I take the opportunity to express the apprecia –
tion of my colleagues at UNDP for the professional
work carried out by the Institute for Democracy and
Mediation (IDM) as the national coordinator and
implementing organisation of this undertaking as
well as to all member organisations of the National
Advisory Committee that helped with their inputs
and advice throughout the year. I would also like to recognize the continuous
and highly qualified support provided by CIVICUS
(World Alliance for Citizen Participation – Johan –
nesburg, South Africa) to IDM, which was based
on global standards and methodology while at the
same time ensuring adequate reference to the local
context and environment. Through this in-depth assessment, readers
will have access to a shared body of knowledge on
the state of civil society in Albania which will serve
as a sound baseline to develop dialogue among a
broad range of stakeholders. It is also expected to
generate ideas for evidence-based actions aimed at
strengthening capacities of civil society increasing-
ly focused on influencing processes and delivering
tangible results to society at large. With the inten –
tion of launching an ongoing process of reflection
and actions by all relevant actors, this report reveals
the highlights of this assessment. It starts with a
historical background of the civil society in Alba –
nia, followed by the central section of the analysis
with findings and conclusions for each of the five
dimensions of civil society – civic engagement, lev-
el of organisation, values, impact and environment.
The study concludes with general conclusions and
recommendations based on a critical-constructive
analysis. The Civil Society Index is currently under the
second wave of implementation in more than forty
countries worldwide. The responsibility and chal –
lenge to act on the recommendations and to create
momentum for strengthened civil society initiatives
and engagement rests with a wider range of societal
actors. Accordingly, this study represents an invi-
tation and a call for involvement that is addressed
to all Albanian stakeholders to make optimal use of
this knowledge as a means of paving the way for
civil society to play its crucial role in the develop-
ment of all aspects of life in Albania and beyond.
Gulden Turkoz-Cosslett
UNDP Resident Representative UN Resident Coordinator

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
n the course of implementation of the CIVICUS
Civil Society Index (CSI) for Albania, the Insti-
tute for Democracy and Mediation has cooperated
with a wide range of institutions present in the
country. These reach civil society associations, cen-
tral government, legislative body, independent in-
stitutions, local and regional public bodies, national
and international organisations, the private sector,
media reporters and observers, and the academic
community. IDM would like to express its high esteem
and gratitude to all members of the CSI project’s
Advisory Committee (AC) – Aleksander Cipa (As-
sociation of Albanian Journalists), Alken Myftiu
(Regional Environment Centre), Alketa Leskaj
(Women’s Centre “Hapat e Lehte”), Andi Kananaj
(MJAFT! Movement), Antuen Skenderi (MJAFT!
Movement), Arbjan Mazniku (Agenda Institute),
Ariola Shehaj (Union of Chambers of Commerce
& Industry of Albania), Arjan Cala (Tjeter Vizion),
Auron Pashaj (Institute for Development Research
& Alternatives), Blerina Metaj (Children’s Rights
Centre of Albania), Brikena Puka (Vatra Centre),
Brunilda Bakshevani (Open Society Foundation
Albania), Elsa Ballauri (Albanian Human Rights
Group), Enri Hide (European University of Ti-
rana), Eranda Ndregjoni (Gender Alliance for De-
velopment Centre), Ersida Sefa (Albanian Helsinki
Committee), Genci Terpo (Albanian Human Rights
Group), Kadri Gega (Association of Municipalities),
Leke Sokoli (Institute of Sociology), Lutfi Dervishi
(Transparency International Albania), Mangalina
Cana (NEHEMIA), Mirjam Reci (Civil Society
Development Centre, Durres), Nevila Jahaj (Youth
Parliament, Fier), Oriana Arapi (Department of
Strategy and Donor Coordination, Council of Min –
isters), Rasim Gjoka (Albanian Foundation for Con-
flict Resolution), Skender Veliu (Union of Albanian
Roma “Amaro-Drom”), and Zef Preci (Albanian
Center for Economic Research). Special thanks goes to the sizeable IDM team
– Artan Karini, Besnik Baka, Blerta Picari, Edlira
Peco, Egest Gjokuta, Elona Dhembo, Llukan Tako,
Manjola Doko, Mariola Qesaraku, Marsida Bandilli , Nevila Sokoli and Rovena Sorra – and beyond any
doubt, to the team-leader of the CSI implementa

tion in Albania and main author of the analytical
country report – IDM Program Director Gjergji
Vurmo, who has guided the entire assessment pro-
cess since its inception. Last but not least, we are
particularly grateful for the support and continuous
advice of IDM Executive Sotiraq Hroni and IDM
Advisory Board and associates. IDM is particularly grateful to CIVICUS:
World Alliance for Citizen Participation (Johannes-
burg, South Africa) for this research partnership op-
portunity and in particular its excellent team of re-
searchers and programme advisors – Amy Bartlett,
Bilal Zeb, Jacob M. Mati, Jennifer Williams, Mark
Nowottny, Megan MacGarry and Tracy Anderson.
Their advice, guidance and partnership have been
crucial in effectively executing this complex process.
The CIVICUS guidance greatly contributed to de-
velopment of internal capacities of IDM as well as
those of the wider Albanian third sector. Last but not least, the CSI implementation in
Albania could not have been possible without the
financial support of the UNDP in Albania. This
support took the shape of a partnership striving to –
wards a common goal – civil society development
through shared knowledge, evidence-based strate-
gies and enhanced capacities, all in the pursuit of
strengthening the third sector’s position and influ-
ence. Special thanks go to Entela Lako and the rest
of the UNDP team, for their efforts and kind assis-
tance to enable a result-driven partnership between
the two institutions, as well as for their continuous
involvement and support to all the major CSI proj-
ect activities.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
………………………………………………….. i
…………………………………….. ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS………………………………………………..
…………………………………………….. iii
TABLES AND FIGURES……………………………………………….
LIST OF ACRONYMS ………………………………………………………………
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY………………………………………………………………
I. THE CIVIL SOCIETY INDEX PROJECT ………………………………………………………………3
I.1. PROJECT BACKGROUND………………………………………………………………
I.2. PROJECT APPROACH…………………………………………………………….
I.3. CSI IMPLEMENTATION………………………………………………………………
I.4. LIMITATIONS OF THE CSI STUDY……………………………………………………………6
II. CIVIL SOCIETY IN ALBANIA ………………………………………………………………
………………. 7
II.3. MAPPING OF CIVIL SOCIETY……………………………………………………………………10
III.1 CIVIC ENGAGEMENT………………………………………………………………
…………………12 III.1.1. Extent of socially-based engagement……………………………………………………12
III.1.2. Depth of socially-based engagement…………………………………………………….13
III.1.3. Diversity within socially-based engagement…………………………………………14
III.1.4. Extent of political engagement…………………………………………………………
III.1.5. Depth of political engagement…………………………………………………………
III.1.6. Diversity of political engagement…………………………………………………………15
………………………………………………….. .15
III. 2: LEVEL OF ORGANISATION………………………………………………………………
…….15 III. 2.1. Internal governance………………………………………………………………
III.2.2. Support Infrastructure………………………………………………………………
III.2.3. Sectoral communication…………………………………………………………..
III.2.4. Human resources………………………………………………………………
III. 2.5. Financial and technological resources…………………………………………………..17
III.2.6 International Linkages………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………….. …..18
III.3: PRACTICE OF VALUES……………………………………………………………
…………………18 III.3.1 Democratic decision-making governance……………………………………………….19
III. 3.2 Labour regulations………………………………………………………………
III.3.3 Code of conduct and transparency…………………………………………………………20
III.3.4 Environmental standards ………………………………………………………………
III.3.5 Perceptions of values in civil society as a whole……………………………………20
III.4 PERCEPTION OF IMPACT………………………………………………………………
………….21 III.4.1. Responsiveness (internal perceptions)…………………………………………………..22
III.4.2. Social impact (internal perception)………………………………………………………..
III.4.3. Policy impact (internal perceptions)………………………………………………………2

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
III.4.4. Responsiveness (external perceptions)………………………………………………….22
III.4.5. Social impact (external perceptions)……………………………………………………..23
III.4.6. Policy impact (external perceptions)……………………………………………………..23
III.4.7. Change in attitudes between members of CS and non-members…………23
III.5. ENVIRONMENT………………………………………………………………
…………………………..25 III.5.1 Socio-economic context…………………………………………………………….
III.5.2 Socio-political context…………………………………………………………….
III.5.3 Socio-cultural context…………………………………………………………….
V. RECOMMENDATIONS………………………………………………………….
VI. CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………… 36
Annex I. List of Advisory Committee Members……………………………………………………36
Annex II. Case Studies………………………………………………………………
Annex III. Population Survey Methodology…………………………………………………………..37
Annex IV. Organisational Survey Methodology……………………………………………………..38
Annex V. External Perceptions Survey Methodology……………………………………………39
Annex VI. CSI Data Indicator Matrix for Albania…………………………………………………40

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
Table 1.1.1: List of CSI implementing countries 2008-2009…………………………………………3
Table III.4.7.1: Level of (non)acceptance of specific actions by citizens………………………25
Table A.III.1: Population Survey Respondents according to age-groups……………………..37
Table A.V.1: EPS’ respondents according to sector………………………………………………………..39
Figure 1: The CSI Diamond for Albania 2009…………………………………………………
Figure I.2.1: The CSI Diamond…………………………………….
Figure I.3.1: CSI Project Implementation Stages………………………………………………………….5
Figure II.3.1: Social forces’ analysis………………………………………………………………
Figure II.3.2: Albanian Civil Society Mapping………………………………………………………………11
Figure III.1.1: Civic engagement sub-dimensions’ scores (in %)………………………….
Figure III.1.1.1: Citizens’ motivation to join CS initiatives……………………………………………13
Figure III.1.2.1: Indicators for Depth of socially based engagement……………………………13
Figure III.1.5.1: Indicators for Depth of political engagement……………………………………..15
Figure III.2.1.: Level of Organisation subdimensions’ scores………………………………………..15
Figure III.2.1.1. Financial transparency………………………………………………………………
Figure III.3.1: Practice of Values sub-dimensions’ scores……………………………………………..18
Figure III.3.2.1: Indicators for Labour Regulations……………………………………………………….19
Figure III.3.5.1: Perception of values: Indicators’ scores………………………………………………20
Figure III.4.1: Perception of Impact Sub-dimensions’ scores……………………………………….21
Figure III.4.7.1: Change in attitudes: Indicators’ scores………………………………………………..24
Figure III.4.7.2: Level of citizens’ (in)tolerance……………………………………………………………..24
Figure III.5.1: Environment: Sub-dimensions’ scores…………………………………………………….26
Figure A.III.1: Respondents’ religious background (PS)……………………………………………….38
Figure A.III.2: Religious and non-religious respondents……………………………………………….38
Figure A.IV.1: Age groups among surveyed CSOs’ representatives (OS)……………………..38

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
AAJ Association of Albanian Journalists
AC Advisory Committee
ACER Albanian Centre for Economic
ADRF Albanian Disability Rights Foundation
AFCR Albanian Foundation of Conflict
AHC Albanian Helsinki Committee
AHRG Albanian Human Rights Group
BCI Basic Capabilities Index
BiH Bosnia and Herzegovina
CBO Community Based Organisations
CPI Corruption Perception Index
CS Civil Society
CSDC Civil Society Development Center
CSI CIVICUS Civil Society Index
CSO Civil Society Organisation
CPC Consumer Protection Commission
CRCA Children Rights Center of Albania
EPS External Perception Survey
EC European Commission
EU European Union
EUT European University of Tirana
FH Freedom House
GADC Gender Alliance for Development
GNI Gross National Income
GTZ Gesellchaft fur Technische
HDPC Human Development Promotion
HIVOS Humanist Institute for Development
HRW Human Rights Watch
ICCO Interchurch Organisation for
Development Cooperation
IDM Institute for Democracy and
IFAD International Fund of Agricultural
INGO International Non-governmental
IS Institute of Sociology
IDRA Institute for Development Research
and Alternative
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
NCO National Coordinating Organisation
NGO Non Governmental Organisation
NIT National Implementation Team NOVIB
Netherlands Organisation for
Development Cooperation
NSSED National Strategy on Social and
Economic Development
OS Organisational Survey
OSCE Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Europe
OSFA Open Society Foundation Albania
PS Population Survey
PRSP Poverty Reduction Strategic
REC Regional Environmental Centre
SA South Africa
SEE South Eastern Europe
SNV Netherlands Development
TIA Transparency International Albania
UNDP United Nations Development
UNU United Nations University
USAID United States Agency for International
WB World Bank

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
he Civil Society Index (CSI) is an action
research project implemented by and for
civil society actors worldwide. It is based
on a comprehensive methodology developed by
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizens Participa –
tion (hereafter CIVICUS). It aims to assess the state
of civil society and to create a knowledge base for
strengthening civil society. The CSI for Albania was
conducted by the Institute for Democracy and Me-
diation (IDM) under the guidance and support of
the CIVICUS team. The assessment of civil society
is carried out with respect to five key dimensions,
with a total of 28 sub-dimensions which are con –
figured into 67 separate indicators. A wide range
of research methods and analytical tools are used
in this assessment. The research relies on a variety
of primary and secondary sources – a set of three
surveys, five case studies, focus group discussions
and other consultation activities conducted in the
framework of the project, as well as diverse second-
ary data sources.
The roots of civil society in Albania can be traced
back to the Albanian renaissance period (1831 to
1912) with predominantly sporadic and individu –
alistic initiatives originating from the Diaspora
communities. After independence from the Otto –
man Empire in 1912, the historical circumstances
did not favour the development of an active third
sector in the country. The establishment of a com –
munist regime after World War II, which soon be-
came one of the cruellest dictatorships in Europe,
completely dashed hopes for an active civil society
or even academic discourse on the concept for al-
most half a century in the country. In the past two
decades since the demise of the dictatorship, Alba –
nian civil society has made great strides, reaching
today’s moderately developed level. Beginning with
more idealistic initiatives and interactions with the
citizens in the early 1990s, Albanian civil society has
become more pragmatic in the course of years. Even
though public debate on the role of civil society has intensified in the recent years, there have been only
a few studies which have provided only a fragment-
ed knowledge base.
As an action-oriented assessment tool the CSI is
used to assess the state of Albanian civil society. It
is based on a broad definition of civil society as “the
arena, outside of the family, the state, and the market,
which is created by individual and collective actions, or

ganisations and institutions to advance shared interests ”.
The CSI assessment combines multiple indicators,
using the same or comparable metrics, to provide a
visual display of five key dimensions:
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: The extent to which indi-
viduals engage in social and policy-related initiatives
institutionalisation that characterises civil society
PRACTICE OF VALUES: The extent to which
CS practices some core values
PERCEIVED IMPACT: The extent to which civ –
il society is able to impact the social and policy arena,
according to internal and external perceptions.
four dimensions are analysed in the context of
‘external environment’, which includes the socio-
economic, political and cultural variables within
Figure 1: The CSI Diamond for Albania 2009

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
which civil society operates.
The five dimensions are graphically plotted in a Civ-
il Society Diamond which is a portrayal of empirical
structural and normative manifestations of civil so-
ciety. The CSI Diamond also includes the conditions
that support or inhibit civil society’s development as
well as the consequences (impact) of civil society’s
activities in society at large. As shown in figure 1,
the Albanian third sector is moderately developed.
It operates in a generally enabling environment and
at a relatively developed organisational level that ap –
pears supportive to the general practice of values
within the sector. Its major deficiencies consist of
the low degree of civic engagement and also the
limited impact.
Highly qualified and efficient human resources and
management, flexibility in responding to develop-
ing situations, networking potential, resistance to
political pressure, objectivity, highly knowledgeable
about and receptive to contemporary approaches,
capable to provide qualitative expertise and help in-
stitutional building are some of the major strengths
of the Albanian civil society. On the opposite side, the performance and role of country’s third sector
are affected by widespread citizens’ scepticism to

wards activism and civil society impact, concerns
over essential aspects such as transparency and
governance, sustainability, a largely donor-driven
agenda, underdeveloped dialogue and exchange
with decision-makers, as well as poor performance
on advocacy and policy cycles.
Given the growing importance of civil society’s role
in governance and other sectors, the challenges for
its development are not isolated within the sector.
Hence, the responsibility to add value to these ef-
forts should not rest solely with civil society actors.
The CSI therefore draws a set of recommendations
for all stakeholders proposing that concerted efforts
need to be directed at addressing deficits in civic en-
gagement, transparency, accountability, sustainabil-
ity of actions and resources, capacities to influence
the policy cycle based on local inputs, dialogue and
exchange with governmental and other actors, lack
of civil society platforms in remote / rural areas etc.
The eventual interventions must form part of an in-
clusive plan d’action that relies on the commitment
of a broad range of actors.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
ivil society is playing an increasingly impor-
tant role in governance and development
around the world. In most countries, how-
ever, knowledge about the state and shape of civil
society is limited. Moreover, opportunities for civil
society stakeholders to come together to collectively
discuss, reflect and act on the strengths, weaknesses,
challenges and opportunities facing civil society also
remain limited. The CSI contributes to redressing
these limitations. It aims at creating a knowledge
base and momentum for civil society strengthening
initiatives. It is initiated and implemented by, and
for civil society organisations at the country level,
in partnership with CIVICUS. The CSI implemen –
tation actively involves and disseminates its findings
to a broad range of stakeholders including civil so-
ciety, government, the media, donors, aca –
demics, and the public at large.
The following key steps in CSI implemen –
tation take place at the country level:
Assessment: CSI uses an innovative
mix of participatory research meth-
ods, data sources, and case studies to
comprehensively assess the state of
civil society using five dimensions:
Civic Engagement, Level of organisa –
tion, Practice of Values, Perception of
Impact and the Environmental Con-
Collective Reflection: implementation
involves structured dialogue among
diverse civil society stakeholders that
enables the identification of civil society’s spe-
cific strengths and weaknesses
Joint Action: the actors involved use a participa –
tory and consultative process to develop and im-
plement a concrete action agenda to strengthen
civil society in a country.
The following four sections provide a background
on CSI, its key principles and approaches, as well as
a snapshot of the methodology used in the genera –
tion of this report in Albania and its limitations.
The CSI first emerged as a concept over a decade
ago as a follow-up to the 1997 New Civic Atlas pub-
lication by CIVICUS, which contained profiles of
civil society in 60 countries around the world (Hei –
nrich and Naidoo (2001). The first version of the
CSI methodology, developed by CIVICUS with the
help of Helmut Anheier, was unveiled in 1999. An
initial pilot of the tool was carried out in 2000 in 13
1. The pilot implementation process and
results were evaluated, leading to a revision of the
methodology. Subsequently, CIVICUS successfully
implemented the first phase of the CSI between
2003 and 2006 in 53 countries worldwide. This im-
plementation directly involved more than 7,000 civil
society stakeholders (Heinrich 2008).
Intent on continuing to improve the research-ac –
1. Albania
2. Argentina
3. Armenia
4. Bahrain
5. Belarus
6. Bulgaria
7. Burkina Faso
8. Chile
9. Croatia
10. Cyprus
11. Djibouti
12. Democratic
Rep. of Congo
13. Georgia 14. Ghana
15. Italy
16. Japan
17. Jordan
18. Kazakhstan
19. Kosovo
20. Lebanon
21. Liberia
22. Macedonia
23. Madagascar
24. Mali
25. Malta
26. Mexico
27. Nicaragua 28. Niger
29. Philippines
30. Russia
31. Serbia
32. Slovenia
33. South Korea
34. Sudan
35. Togo
36. Turkey
37. Uganda
38. Ukraine
39. Uruguay
40. Venezuela
41. Zambia
Table I.1.1: List of CSI implementing countries 2008-2009

The pilot countries were Belarus, Canada, Croatia, Estonia, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Romania, South Africa, Ukraine, Uru-
guay, and Wales.
Note that this list was accurate as of the publication of this Analytical Country Report, but may have changed slightly since the publication,
due to countries being added or dropped during the implementation cycle.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
tion orientation of the tool, CIVICUS worked with
the Centre for Social Investment at the University
of Heidelberg, as well as with partners and other
stakeholders, to rigorously evaluate and revise
the CSI methodology for a second time before the
start of this current phase of CSI. With this new
and streamlined methodology in place, CIVICUS
launched the new phase of the CSI in 2008 and se-
lected its country partners, including both previous
and new implementers, from all over the globe to
participate in the project. Table I.1.1 below includes
a list of implementing countries in the current phase
of the CSI.
The current CSI project approach continues to mar-
ry assessment and evidence with reflections and ac-
tion. This approach provides an important reference
point for all work carried out within the framework
of the CSI. As such, CSI does not produce knowl-
edge for its own sake but instead seeks to directly
apply the knowledge generated to stimulate strate-
gies that enhance the effectiveness and role of civil
society. With this in mind, the CSI’s fundamental
methodological bedrocks which have greatly influ-
enced the implementation that this report is based
upon, include the following
INCLUSIVENESS: The CSI framework strives to
incorporate a variety of theoretical viewpoints, as
well as being inclusive in terms of civil society indi –
cators, actors and processes included in the project.
UNIVERSALITy: Since the CSI is a global proj-
ect, its methodology seeks to accommodate national
variations in context and concepts within its frame-
COMPARABILITy: The CSI aims not to rank, but
instead to comparatively measure different aspects
of civil society worldwide. The possibility for com –
parisons exists both between different countries or
regions within one phase of CSI implementation
and between phases. VERSATILITy: The CSI is specifically designed
to achieve an appropriate balance between interna-
tional comparability and national flexibility in the
implementation of the project.
DIALOGUE: One of the key elements of the CSI
is its participatory approach, involving a wide range
of stakeholders who collectively own and run the
project in their respective countries.
EVELOPMENT : Country partners
are firstly trained on the CSI methodology during
a three day regional workshop. After the training,
partners are supported through the implementation
cycle by the CSI team at CIVICUS. Partners partici-
pating in the project also gain substantial skills in
research, training and facilitation in implementing
the CSI in-country.
NETw ORKING: The participatory and inclusive
nature of the different CSI tools (e.g. focus groups,
the Advisory Committee, the National Workshops)
should create new spaces where very diverse actors
can discover synergies and forge new alliances, in-
cluding at a cross-sectoral level. Some countries in
the last phase have also participated in regional con –
ferences to discuss the CSI findings as well as cross-
national civil society issues.
CHANGE: The principal aim of the CSI is to gen-
erate information that is of practical use to civil
society practitioners and other primary stakehold-
ers. Therefore, the CSI framework seeks to identify
aspects of civil society that can be changed and to
generate information and knowledge relevant to
action-oriented goals.
With the above mentioned foundations, the CSI
methodology uses a combination of participatory
and scientific research methods to generate an assess-
ment of the state of civil society at the national level.
The CSI measures the following core dimensions:
(1) Civic Engagement
(2) Level of Organisation
(3) Practice of Values
(4) Perceived Impact
(5) External Environment
3. For in-depth explanations of these principles, please see Mati, Silva and Anderson (2010), Assessing and Strengthening Civil Society Worldwide:
An updated programme description of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index Phase 2008-2010. CIVICUS, Johannesburg.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
These dimensions are illustrated visually
through the Civil Society Diamond (see
Figure I.2.1 below), which is one of the
most essential and well-known components
of the CSI project. To form the Civil Soci-
ety Diamond, 67 quantitative indicators are
aggregated into 28 sub-dimensions which
are then assembled into the five final di-
mensions along a 0-100 percentage scale.
The Diamond’s size seeks to portray an em-
pirical picture of the state of civil society,
the conditions that support or inhibit civil
society’s development, as well as the conse-
quences of civil society’s activities for soci –
ety at large. The context or environment is
represented visually by a circle around the
axes of the Civil Society Diamond, and is not re-
garded as part of the state of civil society but rather
as something external that still remains a crucial el-
ement for its wellbeing.
There are several key CSI programme implementa –
tion activities as well as several structures involved,
as summarized by the figure below
4. The major
tools and elements of the CSI implementation at the
national level include: Multiple surveys, including: (i) a Population

Survey, gathering the views of citizens on civil society and gauging their involvement in
groups and associations; (ii) an Organisational
Survey measuring the meso-level of civil soci

ety and defining characteristics of CSOs; and
(iii) an External Perceptions Survey aiming at
measuring the perception that stakeholders, ex-
perts and policy makers in key sectors have of
civil society’s impact
Tailored case studies which focus on issues of impor-

tance to the specific civil society country context.
Advisory Committee (AC) meetings made up of

civil society experts to advise on the project and
its implementation at the country level
Regional and thematic focus groups where civil

society stakeholders reflect and share views on
civil society’s role in society
Figure I.3.1. CSI Project Implementation Stages
Following this in-depth research and the extensive
collection of information, the findings are presented
and debated at a National Workshop, which brings
together a large group of civil society and non-civil
society stakeholders and allows interested parties to
discuss and develop strategies for addressing identi –
fied priority issues. This Analytical Country Report
is one of the major outputs of the CSI implemen –
tation process in Albania, and presents highlights
from the research conducted, including summaries
of civil society’s strengths and weaknesses as well
as recommendations for strengthening civil society.
4. For a detailed discussion on each of these steps in the process, please see Mati et al (cited in footnote 3).
Figure I.2.1: The CSI Diamond

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
The CSI, like every other model that strives to pro-
vide a comprehensive assessment of a given sector,
has its own limitations. In the case of CSI Albania,
two major categories of limitations have been ob-
served by IDM and other project participants, as
Methodological limitations:
• Although the CSI
methodology allows for minor adjustments to
respond to the local context, these interventions
cannot modify the core indicators. This concern
is however partially addressed in the Albanian
context through the introduction of additional
questions in the quantitative surveys so as to al-
low an in-depth exploration of the local con –
text. The broadly inclusive definition of civil
society represents another concern, emphasized
by project participants during the AC meetings,
focus groups and structured interviews. While
generally agreeing on the proposed constituent
sub-sectors of civil society, the public percep-
tion and common use of the term “civil society”
in Albania does not necessarily comply with the
5. For instance, the perception of “burial societies” as part of civil society is almost inexistent amongst the public while political parties are most
usually perceived as non-compliant with the definition of civil society.
6. Unfortunately, in the case of this indicator – which points out a disturbing phenomenon among CSOs in Albania the CSI Diamond model assigns
a value without accounting for the percentage of “Refusals”.
broad definition employed by CIVICUS. Hence,
the positive and significant contribution of non-
profit organisations, which are largely perceived
and referred to as “civil society” in Albania,
may be moderately scored out eventually by the
negative inputs provided by other sub-sectors
of civil society (according to CSI definition) or
even the lack of active “non-traditional” seg –
ments of civil society
Limitations related to the CSI implementa-

tion: The implementation of the CSI model is
unavoidably linked to various challenges which
derive from the diverse contexts and settings
over time, and between different sectors in any
given country. One of the major challenges evi-
denced during the implementation of the CSI in
Albania was the surprisingly high rate of refus –
als to answer questions related to internal gov-
ernance, financial and human resource manage-
ment in the Organisational Survey. Almost 40%
of the surveyed CSOs refused to provide infor-
mation on these aspects
6. Another difficulty on
the same survey was in compiling the survey
sample, due to the fact that official data provide
information only on formally registered CSOs,
many of which are not necessarily active.
These limitations do not significantly impact the va –
lidity of the overall research work and outcomes.
Within the framework of the methodology, the CSI
study in Albania now presents a valuable source of
knowledge on the state, progress, performance and
challenges of Albanian CS vis-à-vis the state, the
private sector and the citizens at large.
The full database of the quantitative research
(surveys data), qualitative research analysis (case
studies), Action Brief and other CSI outputs are
accessible at IDM’s official web-page at
The publication of the Albanian CSI Analytical Country Report and its dissemination to a large au-
dience of stakeholders and interested actors is only the beginning of a process that strives to work
with different stakeholders in fusing lessons from the past to the concerns of today. This report offers
insights on civil society’s bonds with citizens, civil society’s level of organisation and networking, its
practice of values, its impact, as well as the environment within which it operates. It does not pretend to
offer absolute truths of the past nor an uncontested strategy for the future. Rather, it offers information
on civil society’s progress in the past two decades, while extending an open invitation to stakeholders
to engage in the design of fact-based strategies to help Albanian civil society fulfil its natural role in
Albanian society.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
lbania declared its independence from the
Ottoman Empire in 1912. The period from
1912 to 1944 was characterised by national
struggles aimed at establishing and strengthening
the Albanian state’s foundations as well as guaran-
teeing territorial freedom and independence. For 46
years after 1944, the country was ruled by a xeno-
phobic communist regime that came to power at the
end of World War II and carried through until its
collapse in the early 1990s ushering in democracy.
Although the transition period has had its challenges
including poverty, high unemployment, widespread
corruption, poor infrastructure and organised crime
etc. successive governments have tried to deal with
many of these problems and Albania has come a
great deal forward on its path towards democratiza –
tion and development. Yet, considerable efforts are
still needed to address remaining concerns.
Up to now little research has focused on the Albanian
civil society. Furthermore, the few studies in the area
deal mainly with the contemporary Albanian CS era
(e.g. HDPC, “Third Sector Development in Albania”
2009). However, traces of civil society in Albania
go back to several decades if not centuries ago. The
contribution of Albanian elites in the development
of the country and civil society since the renais-
sance is hailed as being of paramount importance
(Thengjilli, 2004; Sulstarova, 2008). Nonetheless,
given the historical circumstances, such initiatives
were often sporadic and mainly individualistic, and
coming from the Diaspora communities (Thengjilli,
2004; Sulstarova, 2008). As such, these contributions
are difficult to define and unite under the concept of
a civil society sector as defined today
7 .
The main explanation often provided for this spo-
radic development of civil society sector after the
independence in 1912, is that the communist regime
abolished basic human rights such as freedom of
speech, which hindered civil society activism as in
other communist countries (Howard, 2003). The
fall of communism in Albania was forewarned and
even led by civic movements such as the demonstra –
tions and the hunger strike of workers in the min –
ing industry and the protests of Tirana University
students in the early 1990s. Prior to these events, a
number of demonstrations against the communist
rule took place in 1990 culminating with the protest
of July 2nd, 1990 when some 5000 demonstrators
sought refuge in foreign embassies. The establish-
ment of a multi-party democratic regime restored
guarantees for basic human rights, opening the path
for new developments including that of the civil
society sector. Yet, a long road lay ahead to a con –
solidated democracy and a developed civil society
As pointed out above, there is little literature to re-
view on the history of civil society in Albania and
even less on the concept itself. Defining civil society
is a difficult task not only in countries like Albania
because it is a relatively new concept in the schol –
arly discourse, but also in countries with a recog –
nised tradition of the third sector (Jochum, Prat-
ten, and Wilding 2005). Terms such as civil society,
non-governmental organisations, and not-for-profit
organisations have been added to the Albanian dis-
course only after the fall of communism.
The modern definitions of civil society may vary,
but the task of defining it in pre-1990s Albania is
altogether a different issue. As Brinton (2003) ex-
plains, civil society in the communist context had
a different meaning mainly due to the existence
of a blurry separation between the public and the
private sphere combined with the fact that freedom
of expression and association did not always exist.
Hence, activities which would resemble those of to –
day’s civil society would be impossible to develop
7. CIVICUS defines civil society as “the arena – outside of the family, the state, and the market – which is created by individual and collective ac –
tions, organisations and institutions to advance shared interests”.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
independent of the state. “It was only in the small
space between the regime and the individual that
dissidence against regime occurred” (Brinton, 2003:
Such a past left Albania unprepared for the develop-
ment of the civil society following the fall of com-
munism. The recent developments of the sector
have emphasized the need for new definitions and
measures to regulate it. The way civil society has
been perceived in the last two decades has been shift-
ing from a narrow concept related mainly to NGOs,
to a broader one encompassing the realm between
the state and the market.
Nonetheless, there exist few definitions we can point
out as official and widely agreed upon in Albania and
these are the definitions utilised for legislative pur-
poses. The Civil Society Charter in Albania (2009),
a draft agreement document between state and civil
society, refers to the civil society as the non-gov-
ernmental sector. It states that “The Civil Society
Charter aims to establish a partnership between the
non-governmental sector in Albania and the gov-
ernment at national and local level …” (draft of The
Civil Society Charter 2009:1). On the other hand,
article 2 of Law No. 8788, of 07.05.2001 on “Non-
for profit organisations” defines non-governmental
organisations as “associations, foundations, centres,
activities that are organised independently, without
state interference.” The not-for-profit dimension is
defined as “any economic or non-economic activity
from which the incomes generated are used for ac –
tivities encompassed in the organisation statute”.
The short history of Albania as a free and indepen-
dent country, and even shorter history as a func-
tioning democracy, has been largely reflected in the
history of its civil society. Nonetheless, Albanian
civil society emerged much earlier. Although not
organised and structured organisational forms, Al-
banian elites have been active in what Brinton (2003:
1) calls the common domain between “the citizens
of the state and the power of the state’s governing
apparatus.” A look at Albanian history reveals that
such activism reached its pinnacle during the Alba -nian renaissance (19th century). Zef Jubani, Naum
Veqilharxhi, Thimi Mitko, Elena Gjika, Dhimiter
Kamarda are among the outstanding activists of
the time who through individual or networking ini

tiatives, contributed to the unification and develop-
ment of the country (Thengjilli, 2004). Typical for
this period was activism from the Diaspora commu-
Civil society development in ex-communist coun-
tries like Albania has been addressed more often in
the post 1989 period. Many of the scholarly works
of this period correlate the level of civil society de-
velopment to that of democratization (Ekiert, 1992;
Bernhard, 1996; Geremek, 1992). However, such
works do not sufficiently explain the complexity of
civil society development in these countries (Brin-
ton, 2007 and 2003). The modern history of the
Albanian civil society spans less than two decades
of intense developments and trends. Human rights
organisations were among the first ones to be estab-
lished with the first formal organisation– the Forum
for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms – established in 1991. This was in re-
sponse to the long and great suffering of Albanians
under the frequent violation of human rights dur-
ing Communism. The other large group of NGOs
and interest groups to develop were women rights
NGOs. Such a development fit well in the context
of a patriarchal society where many issues related
to women’s rights and gender inequalities needed to
be addressed.
Besides human rights and women’s NGOs and as –
sociations, the post-communist transition period
saw the development of new forms of organisations
known as think tanks. The first think tank estab-
lished in 1992 was the Albanian Centre for Eco –
nomic Research (ACER). Other areas that received
attention were conflict resolution and management
(especially with the revival of the Kanun and blood
feuds), environment, economic development, youth,
and media. Almost 30% of the NGOs and asso –
ciations registered and active in these two decades
were registered during the early transition period,
1991-1996 (HDPC, 2009:14).
Albania’s development was seriously challenged by
the 1997 crisis caused by the collapse of the pyra –
mid schemes. This had a severe negative impact

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
on the country’s economic, political and social life.
The situation was further complicated by the war
in Kosovo and the fact that up to one million Koso-
vars were forced to take refuge in Albania. These
developments led to the development of a large
community of NGOs in Albania dealing with issues
ranging from women’s rights to landmines (HRW,
1999). Almost 49 percent of the registered NGOs
in Albania were established between 1997 and 2001
(HDPC, 2009).
Civil society activity after 2005 was marked by new
developments which have also reflected on the way
civil society is perceived. This period was marked by
a growing tendency of civil society actors to transi-
tion to politics, blurring the boundaries between the
two sectors in the public’s opinion (Tushi, 2008; Boci
2008). As a result many NGO financial supporters
reduced their funding resulting in the diminished
size and geographical coverage of the third sector.
Regardless of the decline in the Albanian third sec-
tor, recent positive efforts have been made by the
Albanian Government towards the improvement of
the legislation on civil society. In October 2007, the
Council of Ministers established a separate budget
line in the State Budget “For the support of Civil
Society”. In March 2009, the Albanian Parliament
approved the Law “On the organisation and func-
tioning of the civil society support agency” and the
procedures applicable to the distribution of funds in
supporting the civil society. Other steps were taken
by international organisations towards strengthen-
ing civil society in Albania. One of the most im-
portant results of such initiatives is the wide con –
sultation and approval of the Civil Society Charter
in 2009. Despite these developments, there are still,
very few government ministries and departments
that have established mechanisms for engaging with
civil society and their administrative capacity to do
so is often inadequate.
Even though, there are no formal mechanisms for
consultations between state and civil society, the Al-
banian government has begun to consult civil soci –
ety organisations and other stakeholders on drafting
laws. In practice, there are examples of CSO contri –
bution in the field of law – and policy – development. These include the drafting of the Constitution of
the Republic of Albania (1998), the National Strat-
egy on Social and Economic Development (2002-
2006), and the Strategy on Decentralization of Lo

cal Governments (2000). For example, central and
local government, civil society and donors were all
engaged in the preparation of the “National Strat-
egy for Social and Economic Development” (Min –
istry of Finance, 2001)
8. Civil society was able to
articulate sector based priority actions in a number
of other areas such as education, health, agriculture
and social protection etc.
In addition to the impulsive civic movements in the
early 1990s against the communist regime, civic
activism and civil society in general has played an
important role in the subsequent transition period,
particularly through awareness raising and address-
ing concerns related to freedom of expression, hu-
man and minority rights etc. Support was generated
to restore the state institutions and rule of law af-
ter the 1997 crisis in Albania and civic activism was
particularly vigorous during the Kosovo refugee cri-
ses (1999). A number of successful anti-corruption
initiatives and movements have assisted democrati-
sation and institutional development efforts during
the 2000s which marks also a period of more active
involvement of CSOs in the design of policies and
legislative framework. Several examples include:
Drafting of the Law on Measures against Vio-

lence in Family Relations (adopted in June 2007).
This measure was based on a draft law present-
ed by women’s NGOs to Parliament in 2006,
with the backing of a public petition signed by
20,000 people. Apart from defining domestic
violence as a crime punishable by law, the Law
also established a coordination unit of govern-
ment authorities fighting domestic violence, led
by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and
Equal Opportunities;
The Law On Legal Aid (December 2008), which

set the provisions for a structured system of le-
gal aid and access to justice for people in need,
was the work of a project organised by the Free
Legal Service (a Tirana-based NGO), in co-op –
eration with government and civil society part-
8. Ministry of Finance (2001). Please see

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
A Consumer Protection Commission (CPC),

was established in April 2009 and has started
to address the first disputes between consumers
and service providers. The CPC’s five members
include representatives of the Government and
of civil society;
This section presents a brief overview of the com –
position of civil society in the country. Two maps
have been developed with the purpose of offering
a graphical representation of the main actors and
factors influencing civil society in Albania. The
maps presented below are products of the discus-
sions between CSOs’ representatives – members of
the Advisory Committee (AC) established under the
auspices of the CSI project in Albania. The purpose
of this activity was to create two visual ‘maps’ of
influential actors in the country in order to a) iden –
tify and discuss the relationship between civil soci –
ety actors and other influential actors within society
at large and b) identify and discuss relationships
among influential civil society groups within the
civil society arena. The first map shows the Albanian society makeup,
highlighting main actors and factors. The govern-
ment, political parties in the country and law en-
forcement are given crucial importance as the corner
stone of society. Other important actors are univer-
sities (academia), civil society actors such NGOs, In-
ternational Donors and media, which influence the
Albanian government.
In addition to interacting with each other, the stake-
holders listed above, along with the government
have to face several issues highlighted as key; in-
cluding corruption, environment pollution, human
rights, law and EU regulations. Although the busi-
ness community, unions, CBOs and religious groups
are also considered important actors in the society,
no links were identified with the rest of the social
forces. Nonetheless, the few connections and the ac

tors identified are all believed to be largely influ-
enced by the context as the cultural makeup and
The second map brings together the key civil so-
ciety actors in Albania and includes local and in-
ternational actors. Although the map presents the
main actors, it does not include any presentation on
the relations between them; hence, no such trends
are part of this map. It is interesting to note that
Figure II.3.1. Social forces analysis

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
a variety of groups are represented through differ-
ent organisations and institutions. Women NGOs,
minority groups, development agencies, educational institutions, thinks tanks, environmental groups, social
services, children and youth organisations and even re-
ligious groups are all represented in the map.
Figure II.3.2. Albanian Civil Society Mapping

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
Civic Engagement, the first dimension in the focus
of this analysis, is composed of six sub-dimensions,
structured into thirteen specific indicators that offer
a picture of the extent and depth to which individu-
als engage in social and policy-related initiatives. It
is on the basis of these indicator scores that the gen-
eral assessment of the Civic Engagement dimen –
sion is generated using data gathered mainly from
the Population Survey.
Although the individual scores of all the six sub-
dimensions that make up the Civic Engagement di-
mension hover around medium values (50 to 60%),
the cumulative Civic Engagement dimension score
at 47.6% is the lowest amongst the five dimensions.
This low score is largely influenced by low levels of
extent and depth of civic engagement, as analyzed
in detail in the following sections.
III.1.1. Extent of socially-based en –
The first sub-dimension explores the extent of citi-
zens’ engagement in social activities and organisa –
tions by looking at the percentages of respondents active in social organisations or ac –
tivities. The three specific indicators
used to generate the score for this
sub-dimension are: extent of social
membership; extent of social volun-
teering; and extent of community
Generally, Albanian citizens display
high levels of “indifference” towards
involvement in various social actions,
which is a common feature of soci –
eties in transition or early stages of
post-transition with a relatively un-
settled middle class and high levels
of inequities
9. The fact that a con –
siderable majority of respondents
in the Population Survey (60.7%)
describe themselves as belonging
to the lower middle class, working
class or lower
10 corroborates collec –
tive behaviour theorists’ argument that lower class –
es participation in collective action is traditionally
low. Only 18.4% of respondents describe themselves
as active members of social organisations such as
9. The analysis of the socio-economic context (under dimension five) shows that Albania has a high Gini coefficient for Inequality which is almost
twice the EU average.
According to the Population survey, approximately 42.6% of respondents declare up to 40.000 ALL (approximately 285 EUR) monthly incomes
and almost half of this group declares up to 25.000 ALL / month (round 180 EUR). According to the official data issued by the Institute of Statis-
tics of Albania (INSTAT), average income per capita in 2008 stand at 2.785 EUR (4.073$) a year or roughly 230 EUR monthly, i.e. approximately
28.000 ALL. See detailed information see official website of INSTAT:
flash%202008/PBB%202008.pdf. For the official information on the exchange rates for 2008, see Bank of Albania website at: https://www.bankofal-

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
sport clubs, voluntary or service organisations. The
survey indicates a high correlation between “social
membership” and “social volunteering” as 18.1% of
respondents reported doing voluntary work for at
least one social organisation. A slightly better score
was recorded for “Community engagement”. 29.4%
of respondents reported engaging several times a
year in social activities with other people at sports
clubs or voluntary/service organisations.
The survey results indicate that Albanian citizens
are more likely to spend time sporadically with peo-
ple in social activities than in being active members
of social organisations. They are also
less likely to dedicate time to voluntary
work. This may be a consequence of
the high percentage of the respondents
describing themselves as “lower middle
class” or lower. It may also be linked to
the continuing prevailing perception
that “volunteerism” is a phenomenon of
the communist dictatorship. These con-
clusions are to a certain extent support-
ed also by respondent’s answers to the
following question: If you were to take
part in civil society activities, what would be
your personal motivation for that?
A considerable percentage of respon-
dents (31%) declared that “personal in-
terest” would be their main motivation,
while roughly 7% say that they “would
not join such initiatives”. Nevertheless,
despite low levels of civic engagement, a majority
of respondents remain open to such opportunities as long as they see “shared values with the initia-
tive” (44%) or “trust the organisers” (14%). Only 3%
listed as their main motivation to “encourage friends
to participate.”
III.1.2. Depth of socially-based en

The second sub-dimension explores the depth of
citizens’ engagement in social activities and organi-
sations by measuring the percentages of respon-
dents active in more than one organisation or activi –
ties. More specifically, the three indicators used to
generate the value for this sub-dimension
are: depth of social membership; depth of
social volunteering; and depth of commu-
nity engagement.
As shown in Figure III.1.2.1., more re-
spondents report engaging in social activi –
ties at least once a month (45.2%), than en-
gaging in voluntary work at more than one
organisation (26.1%), or active member –
ship in a social organisation (17.3%). The
fact that the depth of “Social Membership”
indicator scores lower than the depth of
“Social Volunteering” is understandable as
“volunteerism” is predominantly related to
a specifics “cause” and individuals’ contri –
butions do not need to be limited by mem –
bership in an organisation.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
III.1.3. Diversity within socially-
based engagement
This sub-dimension measures diversity in the com-
munity that engages in social activities through
the use of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status,
regional distribution and rural / urban divide vari-
ables. At 91.7%, the indicator shows a very high lev-
el of diversity in this group, making it actually the
highest score compared to all other indicators in the
Albanian CSI Diamond.
The high score shows that active membership in
social organisations is not limited to specific social
groups. It is however essential to re-emphasize that
the extent of social membership remains very low,
as only 18.4% of the respondents report being affili –
ated with social organisations or actions.
III.1.4. Extent of political engage –
The fourth sub-dimension of “Civic Engagement”
-extent of political engagement-scored 27.3%, a val-
ue slightly higher than the score of the indicator on
the extent of socially-based engagement. The indi –
cators for this sub-dimension provide an assessment
of the level of involvement of citizens, individually
or via organised forms in politically oriented ac –
tivities. Specifically, the sub-dimension looks at the
extent of citizens’ engagement (membership, vol-
unteering as well as individual activism) in political
activism (boycotts, petitions etc.) and organisations
–labour unions, political parties, professional asso –
ciations, consumer, humanitarian or environmental
When asked whether they are active members of
a political organisation, 23.7% of the respondents
replied positively. This compares to 18.4% of the
respondents replying positively to the question on
whether they are active members of social organi-
sations. Also more respondents (29.9%) reported
doing voluntary work for political organisations, as compared to only 18.1% who report doing vol-
untary work for social organisations. Despite the
involvement in voluntary political activities, only
24.5% of respondents declare to be members of
political organisations. A slightly higher percent-
age of respondents (28.2%) say that they have taken
part in various political actions (signing a petition,
boycotts and peaceful demonstrations) in the last
five years
The slightly higher score of the political engage-
ment sub-dimension compared to the social based
engagement sub-dimension is to a degree under –
standable given the nature of these organisations/
actions and the expectations they give rise to in
terms of expected or desired impact on the involved
individuals’ lives. On the other hand, the expecta –
tions from socially-based engagement raises are typ-
ically of a different nature, and may sometimes not
be adequately appreciated by members of societies
facing economic and other challenges. Nevertheless,
the above argument explains only the prevalence of
political over socially based engagement. The rela-
tively low level of political engagement may be a
direct consequence of the low levels of the public’s
confidence in political organisations, a conclusion
supported by the findings of the Population Sur-
vey which indicates that political parties and labour
unions enjoy least confidence by citizens.
III.1.5. Depth of political engage –
The depth of political engagement sub-dimension
captures the portion of the population that is “polit-
ically active” in more than one political organisation
or engaged in several political activities. The overall
score for this sub-dimension is generated from the
following indicators: depth of political membership;
depth of political volunteering; and depth of indi –
vidual activism.
As Figure III.1.5.1 shows, the indicators of this sub-
dimension generally display similar trends as in the
11. CSI includes under the “political organisations” groups not only political parties, but also other organisations targeting diverse policies or
causes such as environmental organisations, labour unions, professional associations etc. The same criteria are used also to define the concept of
“political activism” such as signing a petition, joining in boycotts or attending peaceful demonstrations.
12. This finding is interesting when considered in tandem with the respondents’ readiness to take a legitimate action against an institution. Data
from the Population survey show that the majority of those interviewed would take such a step “when personally concerned” (53.2%) or when “rela-
tives” (15.3%) and “friends” (2%) are concerned. Only around 22% of those interviewed would take an action when they believe the institution is not
functioning properly or when people in general are concerned while the remaining group of 7% of respondents would not consider it at all.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
case of the sub-dimension measuring the “depth of
socially – based engagement”. Of those who are ac-
tive, 24.5% declare that they are members of more
than one political association, while 46.3% have par –
ticipated in various political actions (boycott, peti-
tion, demonstrations) on a regular basis.
III.1.6. Diversity of political en –
The sixth and final sub-dimension of the “Civic
Engagement” dimension, explores the diversity of
that portion of the population that actively practic –
es various forms of political engagement – i.e. the
percentage of members of organisations belonging
to social groups such as women, people from diverse
ethnic and racial backgrounds, those from rural ar –
eas, the elderly, and the youth. At 80%, this high
score indicates a high degree of diversity among the
politically-active people.
Civic engagement is the weakest dimen-
sion of the Albanian civil society. The
CSI findings for this dimension reflect
the state of the Albanian society, char-
acterised by significant socio-economic
as well as democratic deficit concerns.
This result needs to be considered in
context of the fact that major efforts
have been invested by the international
partners, Albanian civil society actors,
and the donor community targeting
issues of democratisation and good
governance. Only recently has the fo- cus shifted
towards an active citizenry.
The low levels of membership and
volunteerism in civic organisations
signals indifference amongst Albanian
citizens towards civic engagement and
civil society in general. Despite the
widespread “apathy”, political engage-
ment fares slightly better compared to
socially based engagement.
A prevailing feature of civic engage-
ment – social or political – in Alba –
nia is that there are no distinctions in
terms of the social and demographic
categories of people that are active in
social or political organisations and ac –
tions. The political and socially based diversity indi –
cators notch the highest scores amongst all indica-
tors. If proper approach and concerted actions are
employed, a higher rate of civic engagement can be
achieved with people of diverse backgrounds.
The organisational dimension of the CSI explores
the conditions that enable the functioning of civil
society in Albania. It provides an assessment of the
internal infrastructure of CSOs in terms of gover-
nance, financial and human resource management,
communication, technology, cooperation with other
CSOs, and international linkages, which altogether
offer a clear picture on the degree of institutionalisa –
tion that characterises civil society. CSI for Albania in-
dicates a score of 57.9% for this dimension of Alba –

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
nian Civil Society
The final score for the Level of Organisa-
tion dimension is arrived at by combining
six sub-dimensions and eight indicators
dealing with:
Internal governance

Support infrastructure

Sectoral communication

Human resources

Financial & technological resources

International linkages

The assessment of the first five sub-di-
mensions is based on the findings of the
Organisational Survey. The last sub-di-
mension, International linkages, is scored
based on data from the Union of Interna-
tional Associations (
III. 2.1. Internal governance
With a single indicator, this sub-dimension focuses
principally on the management aspects of civil soci –
ety organisations. The score for this indicator (sub-
dimension) is given as the portion of organisations
that have a Board of Directors or a formal Steering
Committee. According to the Organisational Survey,
this percentage and score for the sub-dimension of
Internal Governance is 85.2%. This score has been
considered as highly questionable by a considerable
number of actors during the regional focus groups,
the second AC meeting, individual interviews with
opinion makers or policy makers etc. Despite the
differences, the various definitions of the concept of
governance rely on a combination of several com –
mon elements such as accountability, inclusiveness
or transparency which indicate the level of the gov-
ernance system. It is on this ground that different
actors involved in the CSI project in Albania have
contested the assessment of CSOs’ internal gov-
ernance on the basis of the management indicator
only, without reference to other elements that char –
acterize good governance. The issue takes a graver tone if viewed in combina

tion with a transparency measure such as the avail-
ability of the organisations’ financial information.
To illustrate – although almost 69.5% of surveyed
CSOs declare that their financial information is pub-
licly available, nearly 42% of them refused to answer
the question on where this information can be found.
Worse still, the portion of CSOs whose information
can be found on a publicly available source (annual
report, CSO website or to a lesser extent the state
tax office) is only 43.2%
III.2.2. Support Infrastructure
The score for this sub-dimension is also generated
on the basis of a single indicator titled “Support
organisations“ which identifies the portion of sur-
veyed CSOs that are formal members of federations,
umbrella groups or other support networks. 72.7%
of surveyed organisations declared that they are
members of at least one support network. A total
of 92 networks and umbrella organisations were
listed in the CSOs replies, 48 of these are national
structures and 44 Regional, European, and global
13. IDM and Civicus: World Alliance For Citizen Participation would like to thank the Union of International Associations for their collaboration
with the CSI project in providing this data.
14. Typically, the “Donor” is viewed as a public source of information since donors are usually assumed to be open to requests for information.
However, a particular donor would typically provide only partial information on any given CSO…unless the given donor is the only supporter of the
CSO. A similar argument is raised for the “Other non-public” option (see Figure III.2.1.1) which includes sources such as auditing companies (these
have a legal obligation not to disclose any information to the public), or the CSO’s Bank (a similar legal obligation not to disclose any information
of the client to the public) etc.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
This sub-dimension and the corresponding result
from the Organisational Survey were debated at
length by a majority of participants at the Regional
focus groups. Although the existence of such sup-
port networks and CSOs’ affiliation is considered a
positive element for the development of civil soci-
ety, there is scepticism of the real impact and sus-
tainability of the national support networks. Most
participants of the regional focus groups stated that
donors’ financial support is essential on both ac –
counts – impact and sustainability – for the majority
of the national networks: “They [networks / umbrella organisations] are
active and deliver results only for as long as there
is funding from the donor”
Such dependence on donors’ financial support has
been identified by regional focus group participants
as one of the weaknesses of such networks and their
members in general.
III.2.3. Sectoral communication
The sectoral communication sub-dimension looks
at the extent of communication / information ex-
change and interactions among civil society organi-
sations in the country that work on similar issues.
This portion was found out to be 87.6%, indicat-
ing a high level of sectoral communication, which
is considered a positive factor for civil society in
Albania. Another 88.5% of organisations have ex-
changed information with other CSOs in the past
three months.
III.2.4. Human resources
Sustainability of human resources is viewed as an
essential indicator of the level of organisation of
civil society. The CSI methodology for this com –
ponent tries to evaluate the human resource base
by looking at the ratio of paid staff to volunteers.
The analysis of the Organisational survey shows
that only 16.1% of the organisations have a strong
human resources base. The cost and sustainability of human resources is one of the most problematic
issues for a predominantly project-based civil soci

ety in Albania
15. Having built up the needed infra –
structure (communication, experience and support
networks) in the past two decades of generous sup-
port from foreign donors, Albanian CSOs must now
adapt their strategies to an environment that is ex-
periencing donor withdrawal.
For the moment it does not appear that CSOs are
fully prepared to be self sustainable, or at least their
plans do not go beyond the existing framework of
opportunities and conditions. The majority of CSOs
(57%) report that foreign (non-EU) donors are their
main source of financial support, followed by the
Government (17.8%) and indigenous corporations
(10%). Only a minor portion of the organisations
list their own services (2.2%), individual donations
(2.2%) or membership fees (2.2.%) as a financing
source. Although the EU has allocated considerable
funds for civil society in Albania, funds which are
expected to grow in the near future, only 7.8% of
CSOs expect to take advantage of this opportunity.
III. 2.5. Financial and technological
This sub-dimension’s score (79.7%) was derived
from two key indicators: financial sustainability and
technological resources. The Organisational Survey
found that 75.3% of surveyed organisations have a
strong and stable financial resource base, measured
by comparing the Albanian CSOs’ revenues and ex-
penditures to those of the previous year
16. Despite
the difficulties that the third sector has experienced
in the past few years in terms of available funding,
its financial sustainability remains at relatively sat-
isfactory levels. The organisational survey indicates
that 29.4% of CSOs experienced an increase in rev-
enues as compared to one year ago while for another
36.5% of CSOs the revenues remained the same. For
34.1% the revenues have decreased. In contrast, ex-
penditures have increased for 37.9% of CSOs and
15. According to the Organisational Survey, 75.3% of surveyed CSOs consider the donors’ priorities very important in shaping the civil society’s
agenda. Less than 50% of surveyed organisations consider important other factors such as needs and priorities of various interest groups and mar-
ginalized communities. While donors can easily impose their agenda through their funding priorities, Albanian CSOs remain unable to influence them.
72% of the surveyed organisations believe that the Albanian civil society has been “somewhat successful” in its attempts to influence foreign donors’
priorities, while 13.4% believe that it has been “not at all successful”. Only 8.5% of respondents believe that civil society in the country has been “very
successful” in this account.
16. The formula used to calculate this score relies on the ratio between expenditures and revenues as a source to provide an assessment of financial

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
remained the same for the majority of them (42.5%).
Only 19.5% of CSOs declare that expenditures de-
creased during this period.
III.2.6 International Linkages
This sub-dimension score (6%) shows the number
of international non-governmental organisations
(INGOs) present in the country as a ratio to the
number of known INGOs.
Overall, the analysis of the indicators and sub-di-
mensions of the Level of Organisation dimension
of the CSI for Albania points out to a satisfactory
performance compared to the other dimensions,
especially given the development context. On the
whole, Albanian civil society operates under a rela-
tively well-developed framework of infrastructure
and resources, with needed internal structures of
governance, intensive interactions, and networking.
However, if internal governance is considered as a
full set of principles and democratic practices of
good governance, it is obvious that Albanian CSOs
must focus particular attention to improving trans-
parency and accountability.
The weakest point of this dimension is the sustain-
ability of human resources, which is the result of
a series of external factors. On another note, CSI
for Albania confirms the often-repeated conclusion
that local CSOs remain largely donor-driven and
dependant, while their activities are predominantly
Given the citizens’ indifference to-
wards associating with CSOs, the low
number of membership-based CSOs,
an underdeveloped philanthropic
culture, and minimal interest of the
private sector in supporting civil so-
ciety, donors’ funding appears to be
the main lifeline for the vast majority
of CSOs. These factors have signifi –
cantly conditioned the sustainability
of human resources especially in the
last few years when many donors have
withdrawn from the region, leaving
the responsibility to support Alba –
nian civil society to the EC/EU pro- grams and eventually to the Government. Neither
of the two is taking full responsibility – either be-
cause the Government is unprepared for such a step,
or because of a lack of capabilities on the CSOs’ side
to cope with the bureaucratic application and grant
procedures under various EC programs.
This aspect has influenced not only the sustainabil-
ity of human resources but also the sustainability
of civil society actions, where established networks
continue to operate only for the period of time for
which funding is available. Funding for CSOs, how-
ever, has been increasingly limited to periods of up
to one-year or less.
Accordingly, these challenges require a combined
approach that would not only facilitate access to
EC funding, but would also drive CSOs to diversify
their financing sources and deliver services to be-
come self-sustainable. The combined approach must
also include appropriate actions to promote and con

solidate a culture of philanthropic giving, and inter-
est from the business. In addition, funding may be
made available through governmental programs for
services that can be offered by CSOs.
The extent to which civil society practices some
core values is the focus of this dimension. Data for
the dimension is generated mainly through the Or-
ganisational Survey. At 62.4%, the overall score of
this dimension represents the highest value of all
five dimensions of the CSI.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
The Practice of Values dimension consists of five
sub-dimensions that examine the behaviour of Al-
banian civil society with regard to core values:Democratic decision-making governance

Labour regulations

Code of conduct and transparency

Environmental standards

Perceptions of values in civil society as a whole

As shown in figure III.3.1 Albanian civil society
scores the lowest (52.9%) in democratic decision
making governance, and the highest in transpar –
ency and code of conduct (71.8%). The following
sections explain the trends for each sub-dimension
and the facts revealed throughout the CSI.
III.3.1. Democratic decision-mak –
ing governance
The sub-dimension shows the extent of demo-
cratic decision making practices within civil society
in terms of who makes decisions in organisations
– members, staff, appointed or
elected leaders, appointed or
elected boards etc. The score
includes only the percentage
of those CSOs where mem –
bers, staff, elected board, and
elected leaders conduct the in-
ternal decision making for the
organisation. According to the
Organisational Survey data this
figure totals to 52.9% of the
surveyed CSOs. More CSOs
entrust decision making to an
appointed leader (27.6%) or to
an appointed board (19.5%),
as opposed to an elected lead-
er (17.2%) and elected board
(27.6%). Barely 8% of surveyed CSOs declare that
decisions within the organisation are taken by the
members (6.9%) and the staff (roughly 1.2%).
The data seem to reflect the low number of mem –
bership-based CSOs, which due to their structure
are more open to and often use more inclusive prac –
tices of decision making – e.g. members’ assembly.
Furthermore, a majority of participants in the focus
group discussions emphasized that the need for a prompt decision-making structure within the CSO
that provides timely responses and adapts well to
changing conditions and the pressures of “dead-
lines” may have actually led to these practices.
III.3.2. Labour regulations
This sub-dimension looks at the situation of labour
rights and policies among civil society organisations.
The overall score for this sub-dimension at 61.5%
is generated from four key indicators: Equal op-
portunity policies, CSO staff membership in labour
unions, Labour rights trainings and Publicly avail-
able labour standards policy in the organisation.
As shown in Figure III.3.2.1, Albanian civil society
organisations rank closely in three out of these four
indicators, with the only outlier being membership
in labour unions which notches a score less than half
of the average of the other indicators. It is essential
to note that the Organisational Survey asked CSOs
about the existence of such practices, but it did not
include additional questions to check the reliability
of their answers, a step that was taken in the case of
organisations’ financial information.
73.2% of surveyed CSOs declare that they have
written policies in place regarding equal opportuni-
ty and/or equal pay for equal work for both women
and men. Also, approximately 70% of respondents
report that their CSO holds trainings on labour
rights for new staff, and about 68% say that they
have a publicly available policy for labour rights

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
standards. Lastly, the score of the “membership in
labour unions” indicator represents an average of
the percentage of paid staff that are members for all
surveyed CSOs. The low score comes as no surprise
considering that for 67.2% of surveyed CSOs the
number of paid staff that are members of labour
unions is zero.
III.3.3. Code of conduct
and transparency
The score of the sub-dimension is
based exclusively on the quantitative
data that assess the practice of publicly
available codes of conduct and trans-
parency as core values. According to
the Organisational Survey data, Alba-
nian civil society displays a relatively
high level of endorsement on both
values. 74.1% of the surveyed CSOs
declare that they have a publicly avail-
able code of conduct for their staff
and 69.5% declare that their financial
information is publicly available. The
second indicator should be approached with caution
as almost 42% of the surveyed CSOs choose not to
answer the question on where such information can
be found, while of those who answered the question,
less than half offer a valid available source (e.g. a
printed annual report and/or website).
III.3.4. Environmental standards
It essential for the civil society assessment to look
at the extent to which actors that help building an
environmentally-sensitive society are actually hon-
ouring these values in their day to day work. This
sub-dimension’s score represents the percentage
of CSOs that have a publicly available policy on
environmental standards. Out of the 90 surveyed
organisations, 57.1% declare that they do possess
such policy. Most significantly, almost 46% of CSOs
with no policy for environmental standards have not
thought of adopting one in the future.
III.3.5. Perceptions of values in civ-
il society as a whole
Unlike the first four sub-dimensions where answers
from CSOs help generate scores on CSOs them-
selves as individual entities of civil society, the last sub-dimension offers an assessment for the third
sector as a whole. As such, perceptions of levels of
non-violence, peace, internal democracy, corruption,
intolerance, transparency and civil society’s promo-
tion of peace and non-violence are measured.
Figure III.3.5.1 summarises the individual scores
of each of the indicators. The first indicator (Non-
violence) refers only to the perceptions of surveyed
CSOs that declare that “there are forces within civil
society that use violence” (23.8%). These respon-
dents are further asked about the “intensity” as to
whether or not these groups are isolated and wheth-
er they use violence regularly or sporadically. Ac

cordingly, the score (i.e. percentage) of 51.9 for this
indicator refers only to the 23.8% of surveyed CSOs
that acknowledge the existence of forces within civ-
il society using violence.
The second indicator (Internal democracy) shows
the perception of surveyed CSOs on the role played
by civil society in promoting democratic decision
making within CS organisations and groups. 81.6%
of the interviewed CSOs responded positively, with
58.6% declaring that civil society’s efforts in this re-
gard are significant or at least moderate (23%). A to –
tal of 18.4% of surveyed CSOs appear more critical
and declared that civil society’s efforts in this regard
are either limited or insignificant.
The perceived level of corruption within civil soci –
ety represents perhaps one of the most surprising
findings of the Organisational Survey, which aligns
with the perception trends identified in the External

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
Perceptions Survey. Surprisingly, CSOs exhibited a
high level of self-criticism on the degree of trans-
parency and good governance in the sector. 38.3%
report that corruption is frequent and 26.7% declare
that it is occasional. The score of this indicator also
takes into account the percentage of respondents
who declare that instances of corruption are very
rare (only 9.3%) or who refuse or do not have an
opinion (25.6%). According to CSOs’ representa-
tives, most frequent cases of corruptive practices
within civil society include “lack of accountabil-
ity and transparency in the management of funds”
(48.2%), “dependence from the state” (10.6%) and
“corruption in decision-making and staff manage-
ment” (9.4%). Similarly, the External Perception
Survey reveals that respondents (opinion and deci-
sion makers, representatives of academia, media and
donors) are sceptic about the transparency of third
sector with 56.25% declaring that “most CSOs lack
Intolerance within civil society indicator represents
one of the best scored indicators for this sub-dimen –
sion with an 83% score, slightly below the indicator
on the promotion of non-violence and peace (83.7%).
The weight of intolerant groups in relation to civil
society in general is seen by a substantial majority
of respondents (almost 78%) as not significant.
Even though the practice of values dimension re-
ceives the highest score of all five dimensions of the
civil society assessment in Albania, the analysis of
sub-dimensions and indi –
cators raises a number of
issues which have drawn
the attention of the vari-
ous stakeholders involved
in the CSI implementa –
tion. The low score on
the “democratic decision-
making governance” indi –
cator provides additional
evidence to the justifiabil-
ity of the concerns raised
by CSO representatives
themselves (at AC Meet-
ings, focus groups and in
the Organisational Survey)
on the understanding and
applicability of good gov- ernance principles and accountability within civil
society. The debate extends to other sub-dimensions
assessing labour, environmental, transparency and
other standards that should shape third sectors’ ap

proach and not be treated as formal standards.
The strongest values of Albanian civil society are
non-violence, equal opportunities for men and wom-
en, peace, and tolerance. Internal democracy, as per-
ceived by third sectors’ representatives also appears
to be a well-established value. However, the lack of
transparency (the weakest value of civil society)
overshadows internal democracy, and the CSI shows
that both internal and external actors’ perceptions
support this finding. Perhaps the best description of
these concerns is one that observes civil society as
“an efficient actor in promoting internal democracy
and democratic governance, but which is still half
way to fully practice it internally”. The structural
settings of the civil society, characterized by a small
share of membership-based organisations, may ex-
plain to a certain extent but not necessarily justify
this situation.
The data for the evaluation of the perception of CS
impact is gathered through all three surveys con –
ducted under the framework of the CSI project –
Population, External Perception and Organisational
Surveys. Hence, the overall score reflects not only
CSOs’ attitudes but also the perception of citizens

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
and the experience of the carefully selected sample
of opinion and policy/decision makers, representa-
tives of academia, private sector personnel, and do-
nors. Through a total of seven sub-dimensions and
17 indicators that look at a variety of variables – im-
pact on social concerns, policy making, and civic at-
titudes – the analysis focuses on the internal and ex-
ternal perceptions of responsiveness, social impact,
policy impact and general impact of civil society on
attitudes in society.
As the low score of only 49.9% for this dimension
of CSI suggests, impact is one of the most prob-
lematic elements of Albanian third sector, together
with the relatively low level of Civic Engagement.
III.4.1. Responsiveness (internal
The score for this first sub-dimension is generated
from the perception of surveyed organisations on
the impact of civil society on two of the most im-
portant social concerns in the country – transparent
governance and the fight against corruption. On the
issue of corruption (first indicator), 41.9% of re-
spondents declare that civil society’s impact is tan-
gible while 54.7% believe that the impact has been
limited and 3.4% believe that CS has had no impact.
The second indicator – perceived impact of civil
society on transparent governance – scores better
with 59.8% declaring that civil society’s impact has
been tangible, while 35.6% of respondents believe
that civil society has had limited impact and 4.6%
see no impact on transparent governance from civil
III.4.2. Social impact (internal per –
The second sub-dimension is also generated from
the Organisational Survey. It looks at the perceived
impact of civil society as a whole on key social is-
sues as selected by the surveyed CSOs themselves.
A majority of surveyed CSOs (more than 65%) sug-
gested social development, education and training,
and support to vulnerable and marginalized groups
as the key issues. There are two indicators that help
generate the score for this sub-dimension: perceived
impact of civil society in general on selected areas;
and perceived impact of the surveyed organisation on selected areas.
Both indicators score relatively high, with the sec-
ond one (impact of own organisation) scoring high-
er than the impact of civil society in general. The
impact of civil society on the suggested issues is
characterized as “high level” or “tangible“ by almost
73% of surveyed organisations with an even larger
group of almost 87% of respondents who declare
that the impact of their organisation is of “high
level” or “tangible”.
III.4.3. Policy impact (internal per

The third sub-dimension looks at the policy impact
and policy activity of civil society as perceived by
representatives of surveyed organisations. There
are three indicators that help generate the score for
this sub-dimension: general policy impact of civil
society on policy making processes; policy activity
of own organisation; and successes from activities
in policy-related fields (experience of surveyed or-
The first indicator shows that a majority of CSOs
(66.3%) see tangible or high level impact of civil so-
ciety in policy activities in general. The highest score
for this sub-dimension’s set of indicators is achieved
on the “policy activity of own organisation” indica-
tor, with 73.8% of surveyed organisations declar-
ing that in the past two years their organisation has
pushed for concrete policy options. However, when
asked about the success of the policy activity in the
experience of their own organisation, the average
score for all surveyed organisations drops to 37.9%
which is the lowest score for this sub-dimension’s
III.4.4. Responsiveness (external
In addition to the internal actors’ perceptions
(CSOs) this dimension’s score also reflects the as –
sessment of the perceptions of external actors via
the External Perceptions Survey on the impact of
civil society on (two indicators) “transparent gov-
ernance” and “poverty reduction & economic devel-
opment”. The findings of the External Perceptions
Survey reveal that the perceived impact of civil so-

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
ciety on transparent governance stands higher than
the perceived impact on poverty reduction, with the
latter standing at less than half as compared to the
former. Almost 64.5% of respondents believe that
the impact of civil society is relatively tangible or
higher. On the other hand, almost a quarter of re-
spondents (24.5%) share the same opinion when it
comes to poverty reduction and economic develop-
ment. Hence the average score for this sub-dimen-
sion stands at 45.2%.
III.4.5. Social impact (external per –
This sub-dimension looks at the impact of civil so-
ciety as a whole on key social issues as perceived by
external actors. The two indicators that help gener-
ate the score for this sub-dimension are: the impact
of civil society on key social fields and the impact of
civil society on the social context in general
For the first indicator, the “issues and sectors” are
selected by respondents of the External Percep-
tions Survey themselves. The survey indicates that
the main areas where respondents see civil soci –
ety as being most active are “social development”
(23.33%) and “support to poor / marginalized
groups” (21.67%). Other issues such as “Environ-
ment” (13.33%) or “EU integration” (11.67%) were
also suggested by numerous respondents.
60.1% of respondents see the impact of civil society
on the above mentioned social concerns as moder-
ately or highly tangible. When asked about the gen-
eral social context, a smaller group of respondents
see civil society’s impact as moderate or highly tan –
gible which leads to a score of 40.6% for this indica-
III.4.6. Policy impact (external per –
The sixth sub-dimension looks at the perception
of external actors on the policy impact and policy
activity of civil society. The 53.2% score for this
sub-dimension reflects the overall assessment on
two indicators: policy impact on selected policy ar -eas where the third sector has been most active ac

cording to respondents of the External Perceptions
Survey; and the general impact of civil society on
the overall policy making context in Albania.
On the first indicator (impact on selected policy ar –
eas), the respondents of the External Perceptions
Survey were invited to share the outcomes of CS
activism in the policy areas in which, in their opin-
ion, civil society has been most active
17. Twice as
many of these external actors perceive civil soci –
ety’s impact as high in selected policy fields (75% of
the respondents) than in the general policy making
context in the country. When asked about the im-
pact of civil society as a whole on the policy making
context in general, the vast majority of respondents
(69%) perceive this impact as limited or as complete-
ly lacking. None of them sees a high level impact of
civil society in the general policy context. Hence,
the score for the second indicator relies solely on the
percentage of respondents who characterize this in-
fluence as “some impact” (31.3%).
III.4.7. Change in attitudes between
members of CS and non-members
The last component of the “Perception of Impact”
dimension deals with the attitudes of citizens, their
trust in civil society and the distinctions between
citizens that are CSO members and non-members.
The score for this sub-dimension is generated on
the basis of four key indicators: Difference in trust
between civil society members and non-members;
Difference in tolerance levels between civil society
members and non-members; Difference in pub-
lic spiritedness between civil society members and
non-members and Trust in civil society.
As shown in Figure III.4.7.1, for the first three in-
dicators, the differences between CSO members
and non-members are rather small or non-existent.
The fourth indicator, trust in civil society, shows a
greater difference of opinion between civil society
members and non-members.
The first indicator is related to the levels of trust
in society and draws its data from the Population
17. Answering to the question: In what policy fields, do you think that civil society has been most active? External Perceptions Survey respondents
suggest a total of five general categories (areas) with a total of more than 60-70 policy issues. The main categories of suggested policy issues include
local governance, gender issues, EU integration, marginalized groups, good governance etc.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
Survey. The vast majority of respondents (92.5%)
declare that “one should be very careful in dealing
with people” and only 7.5% say
that most people can be trusted.
The indicator looks at the differ-
ences between respondents that
are CSO members and non mem –
bers which appear to stand at a
The second indicator focuses on
the difference of tolerance levels
between civil society members
and non-members. The results of
this indicator are somewhat dis-
couraging, not only because they
show a substantial propensity of
the Albanian public to discrimi –
nate against certain members of
society, but also because there is
no difference between civil soci –
ety members and non-members.
When asked as to “whether they
would like to have as neighbours certain groups of
people”, Albanian citizens display different levels
of tolerance towards various social groups (Figure
III.4.7.2). Known as a country of religious harmony,
respondents show the highest level of tolerance for
people of a different religion (90.4% would accept to
having neighbours of a different religious affiliation)
and so they do for other social categories such as
handicapped persons (88.8%), large families (88.7%)
or single mothers (85.1%). While still standing at
above 70%, the level of tolerance takes a downward turn when questioned about vari-
ous minorities – ethnic minorities
(73.3%) and people of a different
race (72.9%) – and it reaches the
lowest point when asked about
Roma minorities where almost
half of respondents (49.3%)
would not like them as neighbours.
On the least preferred side of the
graph – i.e. categories of people
whom respondents would not pre-
fer to have as neighbours – stand
five main groups, led by “people
with penal precedents” (91.5%).
Numerous respondents appear to
be intolerant also towards “homo-
sexuals” (79.4%) and “people with
HIV/AIDS” (79%).
The third indicator – difference in public spiritedness
between civil society members and non-members –
is judged in terms of the individuals willingness or
refusal to accept various actions, social activities or
state of being, i.e. whether they see them as justifi –
able or not. The Population Survey data on this ac –
count (see Table III.4.7.1) confirm the previously
presented intolerant attitude towards certain cate-
gories of people among citizens (e.g. homosexuality
is considered by respondents as more unacceptable
than “euthanasia”).

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
The debate on the impact of civil society represents
a constant feature of the civil society development
process and performance in general. This debate has
gained intensity particularly in the recent years in
Albania and has become one of the central topics
of the public discourse, expanding from the limit-
ed framework of “what donors want or expect”. A
growing awareness among the general public and
key actors has now shifted the debate to focusing
on the question of “what the public interest is and
what the citizens and other local stakeholders can
and should expect from civil society actors”.
The Perception of Impact is one of the most com –
plex CSI dimensions that reflects the perceptions
of internal and external actors while also observ-
ing the differences in the perceptions civil society
members and individuals who have not associated
themselves with CSOs. Predictably, there is a signif-
icant gap between the level of perceived impact by
internal actors (CSO representatives) and external
actors observing from the “outside”.
The differences between civil society members and
non-members are relatively minor or even inexis-
tent on issues such as “trusting other people”, “tol-
erance” towards certain categories (or lack of it),
“attitudes towards certain actions and activities”.
The one area where there are considerable differ –
ences between CSO members and those who are not, is trust in civil society.
Both, internal and external ac

tors see a generally satisfactory
civil society impact on transpar –
ent governance. Interestingly,
external actors and CSOs rep-
resentatives share the same per-
ceptions on the areas where civil
society has been most active; ar –
eas such as social development,
support to poor / marginalized
groups etc. However, the two
sides do not fully agree (at a dif –
ference of almost 29%) on the
social impact of civil society; ex-
ternal actors appear more scepti-
cal while CSOs’ representatives
tend to have a high opinion about
their impact on social concerns.
Civil society’s policy impact represents also an in-
teresting case. While it is viewed positively by more
than half of the surveyed internal and external ac –
tors, it is interesting to note that most external ac –
tors rate civil society’s policy impact as having high
impact, which differs with CSO members, the ma-
jority of which see social impact as an area where
civil society has had a high tangible impact.
This section examines the external environment –
social, economic, political and cultural context, in
which civil society in Albania functions. The score
for this dimension, one of the highest compared to
the other dimensions, 57.9%, is generated from the
scores of three sub-dimensions combining a total
of twelve indicators. The primary data used for the
scores of certain sub-dimensions and indicators are
only partially generated through the surveys con –
ducted under the CSI project – more specifically,
through the Organisational and Population surveys
with various other sources used to generate the
score for the first sub-dimension and some of the
indicators of the remaining two sub-dimensions.
Figure III.5.1 plots the limits imposed by the socio-
economic, cultural and political conditions where
most problematic seems to be the socio-cultural con –

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
text with a score of 45.8%. A larger “environmental
room” – the marked area of the triangle – is enabled
by the relatively high scores of the socio-economic
(68.1%) and socio-political context (59.7%).
III.5.1. Socio-economic context
The Socio-economic sub-dimension looks at the lo-
cal context where civil society operates on the basis
of four indicators. Differently from the other sub-
dimensions, the indicators of the “Socio-economic
context” employ external research data, gathered
independently from the CSI project in Albania. The
following indicators and sources are applied to gen-
erate the overall score of this sub-dimension: the
Social Watch Basic Capabilities Index (BCI), the
Transparency International Corruption Perception
Index, the “Gini Coefficient” (inequality) figures,
and the Gross National Income (GNI)
The first indicator (Basic Capabilities Index) is ob-
tained by calculating an average of three criteria
covering health and basic educational provision:
the percentage of children who survive until at
least their fifth year based on mortality statistics,
the percentage of children who reach fifth grade at school; and the percentage
of births attended by health
professionals. The “Social
Watch” indicator has a pos-
sible range of 0–100, where
higher values indicate high-
er levels of human capabili

ties which reflect the “dig-
nity for all” proclaimed by
the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. Although
Albania scores quite high on
this account, it doesn’t mean
that it has attained all the
goals of social well-being
The corruption score (34%)
represents another indicator that uses research data
from recognized external sources. The Transpar –
ency International Corruption Perception Index
(CPI) assesses the level of perceived corruption in
the public sector. The CPI is a “survey of surveys”,
based on 13 different expert and business surveys,
all of them measuring the overall extent of corrup-
19. The CPI score is generated employing a dif –
ferent scoring method than that used by CSI.
The Inequality score (68.9%), the third indicator of
this sub-dimension, is obtained from the widely used
Gini coefficient
20. A low Gini coefficient indicates
a more equal distribution, with 0 corresponding to
complete equality, while a higher Gini coefficient
indicates more unequal distribution, with 100 cor –
responding to complete inequality. Albania displays
one of the highest levels of inequality (almost 70)
which is almost twice the EU average level of in-
equality (Gini Index for EU in 2005 was 31).
The last indicator which deals with the economic
context is obtained from the World Bank’s World
Development Indicators and is calculated as the ra –
tio between external debt and GNI. The score for
18. Social Watch is an international network of citizens’ organisations in the struggle to eradicate poverty and the causes of poverty, to end all forms
of discrimination and racism, to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights. See
19. The CPI 2009 in Albania for instance has used the following sources: Bertelsmann Transformation Index by the Bertelsmann Foundation,
Country Risk Service & Country Forecast by Economist Intelligence Unit, Nations in Transit by Freedom House, HIS Global Insight, and World
Economic Forum (2008 & 2009 data). For further details see (TI) or (TI Albania).
20. The Gini coefficient was developed by Corrado Gini and is widely used in economics to measure inequality of income and wealth. For further
details see

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
Albania is 75.2%, a relatively high ratio which none-
theless, is not a definite sign of trouble since, there
are no absolute rules to determine when the ratio
of external debt to GNI is too high. The same ra-
tio could be sustainable for one country while being
simultaneously a heavy burden for another coun-
III.5.2. Socio-political context
The second sub-dimension looks at the socio-politi –
cal context in terms of political rights and freedoms,
rule of law and legal framework. It evaluates how
favourable are these conditions in the given context
for the development of civil society. A total of five
indicators help generate the specific Albanian score
(59.7%), using CSI and external sources as follows:
Political rights and freedoms – the source for

this indicator is the Freedom House (FH) re-
port Freedom in the World (Index of Political
Rule of law and personal freedoms – FH’s re-

port (Freedom in the World) is used for this in-
dicator as well (the first three elements of the
Index of Civil Liberties)
Associational and organisational rights – this

indicator comprises the fourth element of FH’s
Index of Civil Liberties (Freedom of associa –
tional and organisational rights)
Experience of legal framework – reveals the

perceptions of Albanian CSOs on the legal
framework for CS and on the existence of any
illegitimate restrictions from the government
State effectiveness – the source of this indicator

is the answer to the question “To what extent
is the state able to fulfil its defined functions?”
from the World Bank Governance Dataset
(UNU World Governance Survey).
The Freedom in the World report is the source for
the first three indicators of this sub-dimension
The score for the first indicator’s is taken from the Political Rights Index where Albania scores 65 in
a scale of 0 to 100. The remaining two indicators
– “Rule of law & personal freedoms” (64.6%) and
“Associational & organisational rights” (66.7%) – are
deducted from the Civil Liberties Index of the Free-
dom in the World.
The score for State effectiveness is generated from
an external (non-CSI) source – the World Gover-
nance Survey
23. Albania’s score points to a rela-
tively weak performance in this regard 24. Albania
together with Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH)
and Kosovo score lower than other WB countries
with an average score of less than 50 points in a
scale of 0-100.
The experience of legal framework indicator is gen-
erated from the findings of the Organisational Sur-
vey, specifically the two following questions:
Do you believe that your country’s regulations and
laws for civil society are fully enabling, moderately
enabling or quite limiting?
Has your organisation ever faced any illegitimate re-
striction or attack by local or central government?
The indicator’s score (59.9%) implies a moderately
acceptable environment for civil society in terms of
legal framework and the existence, or not, of any
illegitimate pressures by the central or local gov-
ernments but still with significant barriers to be ad-
dressed in order to ensure a better environment. A
substantial majority of CSOs (72.4%) declare that
they have not faced any illegitimate restrictions or
attacks by the local or central government, yet al-
most ¼ of the surveyed organisations do report such
25. In addition, almost 39% of the surveyed or-
ganisations believe that the legal framework on civil
society is “quite limiting” and roughly half of them
see it as only “moderately enabling” (51.8%), with a
meagre 1.2% viewing it as fully enabling.
21. For detailed information see WB World Development Indicators and
22. The scoring used is the forty point scale. For full details on the methodology of the “Freedom in the World” report please visit https://www.
23. Government Effectiveness 2008 Report is based on 3 surveys and 8 expert assessments: Bertelsmann Transformation Index, Business Enterprise
Environment Survey, Economist Intelligence Unit, Gallup World Poll, Global E-Governance Index, Global Insight Business Conditions & Risk Indi –
cators, Global Insight Global Risk Service, IFAD Rural Sector Performance Assessments, Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide,
WB Country Policy & Institutional Assessments, WEF Global Competitiveness Report. More information:
wgi/sc_country.asp or “Governance Matters VIII: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996-2008” by Kaufmann D., Kraay A. & Mas-
truzzi M. (Source:
24. See “Government Effectiveness” in SEE region

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
III.5.3. Socio-cultural context
The socio-cultural context is the last sub-dimension
of the Environment dimension. Through its three
key indicators, it looks at the levels of interpersonal
trust, tolerance and public spiritedness among the
citizens (Population Survey). More specifically, the
relevant issues for the score of this sub-dimension
(45.8%) consist of Trust, Tolerance, and Public
The first indicator (trust) reveals that respondents
of the Population Survey are predominantly dis-
trustful of other people in general. A considerable
majority (92.5%) declared that one needs to be very
careful in dealing with people. Only 7.5% of respon-
dents believe that “most people can be trusted. The
level of tolerance towards certain social groups (e.g.
drug addicts, people of a different race / religion /
minorities or who speak a different language, immi-
grants / homosexuals / heavy drinkers etc.) stands
at 41%. In relation to the last indicator (public spir-
itedness), the survey data show that a vast majority
of respondents (88.5%) tend to evaluate as “always
unacceptable” actions such as: Claiming govern-
ment benefits to which you are not entitled; avoid-
ing a fare on public transport; cheating on taxes if
you have a chance; or accepting a bribe in the course
of one’s duties.
The socio-economic and political context from which
the Albanian civil society obtains inputs, instru-
ments and facilities and on which it strives to exert
influence offers a generally acceptable set of condi-
tions. These conditions are appropriately reflected
in the general state of Albanian civil society devel-
opment. The advantages of a relatively enabling
socio-economic context and to a lesser extent those
of the socio-political context are significantly chal –
lenged by a rather problematic socio-cultural con –
text. However, the general concerns raised through
the CSI analysis on the Albanian context are quite
interdependent and hence serve as conditioning fac –
tors whose roots cannot be isolated within a single
25. CSOs’ perception of the level of dialogue and exchange of information with the state also points out to a potential problem. According to the
responding CSOs, the State – CS dialogue is limited (55.8%) or non-existent” (4.7%). Similar perceptions prevail also among external actors who see
CS relations with certain state institutions as non-effective – e.g. Parliament (40.7%), Judiciary (55.6%) or Government (42.9%). Surprisingly, CS deal-
ings with local government are considered as effective by 76.7% of EPS respondents.
The already existing basic capabilities provide a
starting point towards achieving social well-being,
an issue of particular importance in a society like
Albania with a very high level of inequality (almost
70%). Such a level of socio-economic development
and poor performance in addressing essential soci –
etal challenges on the other hand foster significant
lack of trust and confidence and even intolerance
towards social groups. Even more important, a civil
society that appears to be distant from the other
portions of society is by default relegated to a pe-
ripheral position from where it is unable to exert full
influence towards positive change.
Despite the progress achieved towards political
rights and freedoms, the political context remains
seriously challenged by a low level of “state effec-
tiveness” where corruption and rule of law remain
a central reform subject. Albania provides a rela-
tively enabling legal framework for civil society yet
achieving desired outcomes and influencing positive
developments appear to be difficult tasks for civil
society, not only due to its own internal challenges
or the limited dialogue and relatively inefficient in-
teractions with the state, but also due to the gener-
ally distrustful attitude of citizens towards the key
institutions, processes and even the third sector it-
self. These are characteristics of a vicious circle that
triggers negative reaction on all aspects, once poor
performance is noted even in a single element of the

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
his section summarizes the reflections
and opinions of the regional focus groups
participants (CS representatives, media,
academia & local authorities) on the strengths and
weaknesses of Albanian civil society based on their
experience and in view of the CSI findings (Febru-
ary – March 2010). The discussion is expected to
develop further at the national workshop in July
2010 which will serve also as a discussion forum on
potential solutions and strategies to address the ex-
isting challenges.
Despite the differences among some of the partici-
pants over the CIVICUS definition of civil society
as being too-extensive, participants articulated high
expectations towards the CSI outcomes and impact,
as they shall be derived from an approach and meth-
odology that is not limited in targets or even dimen –
sions under which civil society is examined.
The discussions in the focus groups were generally
driven by the main highlights of the CSI findings,
particularly by the identified concerns and chal –
lenges, rather than identified strengths. The most
intensive debates focussed above all on essential
concerns such as low levels of citizens’ participa –
tion in civil society actions and the reasons to dis/
trust in institutions and civil society (transparency
and good governance of CSOs), impact on policies,
sustainability of civil society and relationship with
donors, cooperation with governmental actors, pri-
vate sector and beneficiaries etc. Accordingly, this
section gives more space to weaknesses as compared
to strengths of civil society in an attempt to faith-
fully mirror the regional focus group discussions.
CSOs are generally open to networking and

exchange of information. The creation of
networks and encouraging civic participation through a range of organisations offers better
opportunities for active citizens;
Civil society organisations (especially think

tanks) have better capacities to influence poli-
cies and achieve greater impact;
CSOs’ advocacy and lobbying activity is fully

supported by, and well-grounded in research
work and analysis;
There is currently an upward trend in state

actors willingness to cooperate with CSOs, al-
though often driven by a pro-forma approach;
CSOs human resources and capacities are often

attractive to political and governmental actors.
Yet, once involved in politics, former civil soci –
ety members have failed to facilitate a greater
impact of civil society;
CSOs are generally flexible and efficient in ad-

justing to developing situations or sectors;
Compared to state institutions, CSOs are better

equipped with, and more aware of communica –
tion opportunities, particularly with regard to
interactions with beneficiaries and foreign/in-
ternational bodies;
CSOs have reached a higher level of efficiency

in human resources management as compared
to state agencies;
There is a high level of sensitivity among citi-

zens on specific situations or the needs of cer-
tain social groups (marginalized communities,
people in need etc.);
Civil society has been quite successful in pro-

moting certain values such as religious har –
mony, interethnic relations or good neighbourly
relations at the national and regional level;
Well targeted activities of CSOs do succeed in

attracting citizens’ support (for instance train-
ings for people in need or marginalized catego-
ries, e.g. unemployed women).
26. The reflection process and its results will be summarized in the Action Brief, which is a separate outcome of the CSI implementation and aims
to disseminate among a broad range of stakeholders concrete proposals on how to improve civil society development trends.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
Citizens are sceptical of civil society and per-

ceive CSOs mainly as a source of financial ben-
efits. Civic participation often depends on the
profile and credibility of CSOs;
CSOs do not rely on consultations with citizens

and interest groups during involvement in poli-
cy making processes;
Low levels of civic participation are often the

consequence of policy / decision makers under –
estimating the values of civic actions and initia-
Civil society is widely perceived as, and identi –

fied only with non profit organisations;
The painful transition period has lead to indi –

vidualistic attitudes and apathy towards volun-
Cooperation between the Government, civil so-

ciety and the private sector is at low levels, a fact
reflected in the lack of sustainability of civic ac –
tions and hence, lack of interest by citizens to be
included in “sporadic” (not sustainable) actions;
Cooperation between CSOs and the media is

more present on political issues while the politi-
cization of concerns and debates is often coun-
ter-productive for citizens’ participation;
Political bias is present among some CS organi-

sations and representatives, which undermines
their objectivity and hence public support;
Despite some success on gender equality and

women rights, civil society has not been able to
deliver positive results on issues related to the
fight against domestic violence, non-discrimina-
tion & integration of Roma or sexual minorities
Civil society actors do not see the inter-linkages

between certain negative phenomena and their
consequences. Rather they tend to focus on the
consequences and not with the root causes. The
same approach can be identified among donors
(who are more open to immediate results and
not to actions that build ground for sustainable
solutions by addressing the root causes). The
inter-linkages between blood feuds and proper-
ty issues, domestic violence, economic develop-
ment and social inequities etc. are one example
of this incorrect focus;
CSOs are largely based on, and dependent on

(foreign) donors’ funding and with the latter’s
withdrawal the sustainability of civil society’s actions, as well as existence of portions of it, is
Cases of interferences and/or unequal treat-

ment of CSOs by state authorities at central and
local level are still present;
Human resource management also appears to

be a weak point for CSOs despite the generally
high quality of human capacities;
The social context from where CSOs could draw

resources, support and even capacities (at the lo-
cal level) to implement their activities remains
Accountability, transparency and democratic

(internal governance among CSOs remain prob-
State – civil society dialogue and consultations

are often treated as a pro-forma instrument by
governmental actors;
Civil society actors are still in the phase of

“building capacities” for active involvement in
the policy shaping processes in the area of so-
cio-economic development, particularly in view
of EU approaches and policies;
CSOs still need to improve their capacities and

understanding on proper mechanisms for policy
impact, and how to use them;
The fact that civil society is fully project-based

and relies only on short term funding (up to a
year) is often reflected in the lack of sustain-
ability of impact;
The lack of coordination among state institu-

tions often negatively reflects in CSOs efforts to
improve policies

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
set of recommendations in support of the
development and consolidation of the third
sector in Albania has been drawn based on
the discussions of civil society actors and other rep-
resentatives (members of the Advisory Committee
and participants at the regional focus groups) as
well as on the analysis of the CSI findings for Al-
bania. The purpose is to provide food for thought
and to encourage an inclusive reflection process so
as to generate civil society strengthening initiatives
and commitment for follow up actions from a sub-
stantial number of stakeholders. The Policy Action
Brief, the final CSI Albania output, will supplement
the recommendations presented below by incorpo-
rating the suggestions and proposals from the na-
tional conference expected to be held in July 2010.
Including the recommendations from the national
conference, will allow for their official endorsement
by a wide range of national stakeholders.
The following recommendations focus on the ma-
jor concerns and highlights identified for all five di-
mensions of the CSI analysis of the Albanian civil
society – Civic Engagement, Level of Organisa –
tion, Practice of Values, Perception of Impact and
Environment. The set is divided into five sections,
depending on the type of targeted group or actor,
with the last section that covers recommendations
with shared interest for all key stakeholders:
Design and initiate actions to expand and deep-

en citizens’ participation in civil society actions
and structures, including initiatives that aim to
increase public confidence in civil society activi –
Initiate and implement actions that strive to

broaden the motivation and degree of involve-
ment of citizens not only in politically – orient-
ed organisations but also in other civil society
Increase communication and outreach capacities

towards citizens, communities, interest groups,
as well as towards advocacy efforts with gov-
ernmental actors and the donor community;
Diversify the focus areas of work and generate

ideas and strategies to become (self)sustainable;
Improve policy making capacities and build

strategies for effective advocacy and network-
Increase internal transparency, accountability

and democratic decision-making. Establish an
applicable set of standards (e.g. Code) and en-
courage civil society actors to endorse and im-
plement it within their internal structures;
Initiate actions to promote and strengthen civil

society and qualitative inputs from remote and
rural areas
Undertake campaigns and other actions to pro-

mote democratic values of non-discrimination,
tolerance, understanding and support for vari-
ous social groups, in particular for Roma, sexual
minorities, gender equality, people with disabili –
ties etc.;
Improve the quality of services and promote

established benchmarks as a reference for qual-
ity and objectivity with national, regional and
European institutions;
Intensify cooperation with regional and Euro-

pean centres and networks as an opportunity
to upgrade capacities, and integrate with EU-
based civil society.
Increase transparency, access to information,

dialogue, consultations and cooperation with
civil society organisations and enable a friendly-
environment for monitoring, watch-dog, and
advocacy activities of civil society actors;
Discontinue the formal approach in the policy-

making process and adopt mechanisms that ab-
sorb inputs from civil society actors in the policy
shaping stage, throughout the implementation,
monitoring and evaluation of impact to better
meet the challenges in the implementation of
the National Strategy for Development and In-
tegration, as well as other national strategies;
Improve the current tax & financial reporting

related legislation through a separate frame-

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
work for the third sector;
Enact measures and adopt legislation that en-

courages the private sector and the citizens at
large to support civic initiatives and/or expand
the use of voluntary services;
Take appropriate measures to implement the

recently developed “Charter of Civil Society”
with active involvement and a major say from
civil society actors;
Develop cross-sector support schemes for civil

society at the local and rural areas.
Diversify focus in terms of thematic areas,

type and geographical coverage of civil society
structures as eligible applicants (e.g. community
based organisations), based on wide and contin-
uous consultations with civil society actors and
other stakeholders;
Increase the cooperation and coordination

among donor organisations in the country, and
ensure the active participation of local civil so-
ciety. A genuine, non-formal structure of con –
sultations among donor, civil society and the
public sector could function at the national and
local levels to prioritize real needs and challeng –
es based on the local context;
Design medium term programs with flexible

time-spans and funding that enable civil society
actors to deliver sustainable results, monitoring
and evaluation of impact;
Adjust the complexity and requirements of for-

mal application procedures to the extend, scope
and targeted impact and encourage capacity
building for CSOs to be better prepared to meet
the criteria of application procedures;
Encourage support and capacity building for

membership-based organisations and particu-
larly to key partners of the social dialogue
framework such as labour unions, various pro-
fessional associations (journalists) etc;
Encourage initiatives aiming to increase trans-

parency, good governance and accountability
practices within civil society at large
sector, Media, Academia etc.)
Engage in joint consultations with civil society

and governmental actors to explore opportuni- ties for “civic-private” partnerships;
Build cooperation and inter-linkages with CSOs

(typically, think tanks), universities and the ex-
isting or recently established research and aca –
demic centres;
Identify converging interests amongst influen –

tial actors – CSOs / business / Media / Aca –
demia and the State – and initiate partnerships
based on shared resources, interactions and ac –
tive involvement to advance common priorities.
Improve institution building, rule of law and

accountability of public authorities at all levels
as a prerequisite for an active public and civil
Engage in developing and supporting civic plat-

forms in remote and/or rural areas that target
key socio-economic concerns, governance, hu-
man resources and other fundamental factors
for an active community, social cohesion and a
citizen-oriented governance;
Promote a more active role of civic actors in the

design, implementation, monitoring and evalu-
ation of policy frameworks and measures in the
areas of social and economic development, and
particularly in the context of EU integration;
Develop a more transparent and comprehensive

framework of shared responsibilities among
public and private actors for the country’s sus-
tainable development and European Integra –

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
he CSI implementation in Albania was
driven by the intention to present rel-
evant and evidence-based information on
the state of the third sector and equally important,
to share this body of knowledge with civil society
actors and stakeholders. The project’s comprehen-
sive methodology enables the reader to explore the
depth and extent of a variety of dimensions of civil
society and to link current phenomena with their
root causes and consequences. These are intercon-
nected throughout various perspectives of civil so-
ciety such as societal values, civic engagement and
activism, structure and development of civil society,
impact on policies and processes, and are embodied
in the very environment where civil society actors
operate, an environment that affects their actions,
and in which they struggle to influence society.
In the course of the one year CSI implementation,
a wide range of civil society actors and represen –
tatives from other sectors have been involved in
the various research and consultation activities of
this project. The far-reaching database of findings
and conclusions have been a subject of continuous
discussions, has gathered and shared “know-how”
from and with the involved participants and has al-
ready provided relevant arguments that are used in
the public discourse on topical issues
27. Most sig-
nificantly, this analytical report and the whole CSI
process has benefited from the thoughts and conclu –
sions drawn therein.
While all the necessary preconditions for a thought –
ful set of actions and processes for civil society de-
velopment have been created in the framework of
the CSI for Albania, the first results and the impact
on the strengthening of civil society in the country
are yet to be observed. The highlights of this pend –
ing process have been outlined throughout this work
and particularly in the “Recommendations” section
of the report. A much more detailed and profound
plan d’action will result from the National Workshop to be held in July 2010, which shall gather more than
100 representatives of civil society, political actors,
policy and decision makers, representatives of the
donor community, academic society and opinion-
makers, media, private sector etc. The implementa

tion of the recommendations outlined above and the
degree of the stakeholders’ commitment to engage
in concrete actions and generate ideas to effectively
address present concerns for Albanian civil society
remains as the main challenge ahead.
This process needs to be focussed on, though not
limited to, some of the key highlights that gave rise
to several particularly intensive debates and atten-
tion by Advisory Committee members, participants
at the series of regional focus groups and even with-
in structured interviews with individual CS activ –
ists, experts, officials, reporters etc.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT in Albania displays seri-
ous concerns over a limited breadth and depth of
social and political engagement despite the high de-
gree of diversity within such a limited engagement.
While indifference and even “apathy” towards civil
society actions and activism in general has signifi –
cantly impacted socially-based engagement, citizens
appear slightly more active and committed when it
comes to politically-based engagement. Despite the
low levels of confidence in political actors and some
of the state institutions (e.g. the judiciary) it seems
that politically-active-citizens see affiliation with
political organisations as a shortcut to the solution
of their personal economic or other concerns. This
points to a mindset that change comes from the top,
from the government or other sources of central-
ized power. Of course, there is room to hope for a
change in this mindset, which to a certain extent is
a traditional “by-traveller” of societies in transition
or early stages of post-transition era. For a major –
ity of citizens the main motivation to engage in civil
society actions are “shared values” and “trust in or-
ganizers”, as opposed to almost 1/3 of them whose
27. One of such examples is the use of the findings of CSI for Albania on citizens’ attitudes towards sexual minorities and their degree of (in)
tolerance which was indirectly referred in an article by a member of the project’s Advisory Committee in one of the Albanian dailies. Furthermore,
CSI findings have already attracted the attention of the donor community in Albania.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
motivation is derived from personal interest. How-
ever, change will not come solely from actions ori-
ented towards changing individual’s mindsets; their
confidence in elected institutions and more generally
their trust in a governance system that can function
without any interference from political shortcuts
must be gradually increased. Civic engagement will
become attractive for citizens within the space that
their economic status allows for once they see that
the processes, the actors and the governance system
they struggle to influence do function normally in a
polity with democratic values and principles. In an
ideal situation, this will be reflected in diametrically
reverse trends than the current prevailing ones, with
the majority of citizens showing greater readiness
to react against illegitimate actions of institutions
not only when personally concerned and with high-
er trust and confidence in state institutions, labour
unions, civil society, the media and other actors.
conclusions from this CSI assessment is that Alba-
nian civil society is relatively well-structured, with
functional internal structures, active interactions,
capacities to network and infrastructure. Neverthe-
less, the most significant and intensive part of the
discussions at the AC meetings and regional focus
groups has focused on the challenges and key con –
cerns raised by certain findings on this dimension.
A largely donor-driven civil society that appears to
be unable to influence donors’ priorities and almost
fully project-based CSOs which display concerns
over their sustainability, represent a major chal –
lenge for the third sector and the Albanian society
at large. Furthermore, the predominance of non-
membership-based CSOs as well as the weak per-
formance of the existing membership-based ones
(typically labour unions) has weakened the link with
the citizens and interest groups, despite the success
stories and results delivered in the framework of
certain civil society initiatives such as the 30% quota
of women representation in politics.
The non-sustainability of human resources is also a
direct consequence of the funding structure, char –
acterized by limited funding and duration of proj-
ects, lack of governmental funding or willingness
to “buy” cost-effective and qualitative services from
civil society and an inexistent role from the private
sector in the support of civil society. Another rea- son for the lack of sustainability of human resourc-
es, as suggested by the regional focus groups, is the
fact that the third sector is often used as a jumping
board into politics and this phenomenon (given the
high quality of CS representatives’ capacities) has
been particularly encouraged by political parties in
the last two general elections.
Significant discrepancies are observed between civil
society organisations in Tirana, CSOs in other ma-
jor cities and civil society structures in small urban
centres in terms of infrastructure, resources, ca

pacities and for remote and rural areas even (in)ex-
istence of formal civic structures. From a thematic
coverage perspective, Albanian civil society displays
similar discrepancy trends as in geographical cover-
age; reflecting the predominant focus of most do-
nors a considerable number of CSOs are very active
in some areas such as human rights, EU integra –
tion, gender women, anti-corruption, decentraliza –
tion etc. The lack of attention by donors’ in other
areas (e.g. security) explains the lack of, or the spo-
radic civic activity, despite the growing needs and
the contribution that civil society expertise is able
to deliver. The isolation and under representation
in civil society organisations of rural communities
(a view held by 70% of the CSO representatives in-
terviewed in the Organisational Survey) which are
essential in a predominantly agricultural economy,
represents an additional example in this context.
Last but not least, perhaps one of the most problem –
atic issues raised in the 2nd AC meeting and focus
groups is the issue of good governance and trans-
parency within civil society. The Albanian third sec-
tor shows a good performance with regard to CSI
formal indicators on internal governance (such as
the existence Boards). Yet, if civil society internal
governance is considered as a full set of principles
and democratic practices of good governance that
take into account its relationship with the citizens, it
is obvious that Albanian CSOs must focus particular
attention to improving levels of transparency and
accountability. In the past few years the issue of CS
transparency, accountability and relations with the
public / interest and funding agencies has often been
the subject of the public discourse, manifested in the
emergence of questions such as “Are CSOs account –
able only to donors? What is the role of the State
when civil society transparency and accountability

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
is concerned? What is the CSOs relationship with
the public interest? Prevalence of membership or
non-membership based CSOs?” etc. The CSI find-
ings in this respect will serve to elevate the quality
of the debate, the process of generating ideas and
most significantly, to tangible efforts aiming at im-
proving CS performance in this regard.
The PRACTICE OF VALUES within the sector
suggests that civil society appears to be “an efficient
actor in promoting democratic decision-making and
governance, but which is still half way to fully prac –
ticing it internally”. Concerns over the transparency
of the sector and the poor performance in internal
decision-making practices raise a question mark
over this aspect of civil society. Nonetheless, equal
opportunities for men and women, non-violence,
peace and tolerance are some of Albanian civil soci –
ety’s strongest values.
Civil society as a sector has succeeded in minimiz –
ing the extent and activity of intolerant groups to
almost inexistent levels within the third sector, yet
much remains to be done at the citizens’ level. As
the analysis of the “Environment” and “Impact” di-
mensions shows, serious concerns and prejudices to –
wards certain social groups or actions appear to be
widespread among citizens.
The general PERCEPTION OF IMPACT suggests
that civil society’s performance leaves much space
for improvement due to a variety of factors – mod-
erate levels of dialogue, interactions and exchange
with policy and decision making structures, the gap
between formal civil society structures and citizens
or interest groups, inability to impose genuinely lo-
cal agendas etc. While the differences between in-
ternal and external actors’ perceptions on the so-
cial and policy impact are evident, they all observe
a higher civil society impact in those areas where
donors have been more sensitive. According to the
regional focus group participants, the extensive em-
phasis of donors on “transparency & governance”
has resulted in more intensive activities by the CSOs
and also in a higher impact that is “accepted” as such
not only by civil society representatives but also by
external actors.
An evident discrepancy exists between the internal
and external actors’ perceptions on civil society’s impact – with the former tending to evaluate higher
the impact on social concerns, and the external ac

tors believing that the policy impact of civil society
stands higher than the social impact. Both, CSO rep-
resentatives and external actors suggest that civil
society has been more active in issues related to so-
cial development, support to poor and marginalized
groups. External actors add to this group also issues
related to the environment and EU integration.
On promoting understanding, tolerance and support
for certain social groups, it seems that civil society’s
performance has not yet met the expectations. Most
importantly, the (in)tolerance towards sexual mi-
norities, people with HIV/AIDS or Roma stands at
the same levels for members and non-members of
civil society structures. On the other hand, the reli –
gious harmony prevailing in the Albanian society at
large or the high degree of tolerance towards other
social groups (handicapped persons, immigrants,
national minorities etc.) does not appear to be an
achievement of civil society, but rather a traditional
and well-established value in Albanian society.
The Albanian civil society operates in a generally
enabling ENVIRONMENT with concerns, or chal –
lenges, being primarily concentrated in the sphere
of the socio-cultural and to a certain extent also at
the socio-political context. The root causes however
are not isolated within a single cluster of the gener-
al environment, rather, the identified concerns in the
other dimensions of the third sector and the other
various contextual settings at the society and state
level appear as significant factors that “threaten” the
environment, as a resource and also a target set of
processes, structures and actors for civil society.
Inequalities, trust, confidence in the rule of law and
democratic institutions, good governance & democ-
ratization, state efficiency, tolerance, citizens’ par –
ticipation, socio-economic development etc. repre-
sent some of the areas that need further attention
in order to ensure a more fostering environment for
civil society’s activities and impact. The eventual
interventions should not be isolated, rather, they
must form part of a more complex and inclusive
framework of actions that would improve civil soci –
ety’s ability and capacity to adequately “absorb” the
development through better and more sustainable
capacities, a stronger sense of accountability, trans-

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
Annex I. List of Advisory Commit-
tee Members
AC members in alphabetical order: Aleksander Cipa, Association of Albanian Jour-

Alken Myftiu, Regional Environment Center

Alketa Leskaj, Women’s Center “Hapat e

Andi Kananaj, MJAFT! Movement

Antuen Skenderi, MJAFT! Movement

Arbjan Mazniku, Agenda Institute

Ariola Shehaj, Union of Chambers of Com-

merce & Industry of Albania
Arjan Cala, Tjeter Vizion

Auron Pashaj, Institute for Development Re-

search & Alternatives
Blerina Metaj, Children’s Rights Centre of Al-

Brikena Puka, Vatra Center

Brunilda Bakshevani, Open Society Foundation

Elsa Ballauri, Albanian Human Rights Group

Enri Hide, European University of Tirana

Entela Lako, UNDP Albania

Eranda Ndregjoni, Gender Alliance for Devel-

opment Center
Ersida Sefa, Albanian Helsinki Committee

Genci Terpo, Albanian Human Rights Group

Kadri Gega, Association of Municipalities

Leke Sokoli, Institute of Sociology

Lutfi Dervishi, Transparency International Al-

Mangalina Cana, NEHEMIA

Mirjam Reci, Civil Society Development Center

Nevila Jahaj, Youth Parliament (Fier)

Oriana Arapi, Department of Strategy and Do-

nor Coordination (Council of Ministers)
Rasim Gjoka, Albanian Foundation for Conflict

Skender Veliu, Union of Albanian Roma “Ama –

Zef Preci, Albanian Center for Economic Re-

Annex II. Case Studies
The CSI qualitative analysis on the Albanian civil
society has also benefited from the scientific discus-
sion and arguments of a set of case studies, one per
each CSI dimension.
The following case studies are accessible online at
Researcher: Elona Dhembo, PhD candidate
The case study explores the current traits of active
citizenry in the country, drawing a profile with ref-
erence to gender, age, and educational background.
It also outlines recommendations to overcome exist-
ing obstacles to higher degrees of civic activism.
Researcher: Nevila Sokoli, PhD
This analysis explores the role of civil society in set-
ting priorities for the country’s future, and in influ-
encing the legislative and regulatory environment
for NGOs. In assessing the relationship between the
government and civil society, this case study pro-
vides a historical background of the development
of the third sector in Albania, as well as considers
the current state of development and recommenda-
tions for the future.
Researcher: Blerta Picari, MA
This case study explores the impact of donors’
funding on the geographical and interest areas dis-
tribution of CSOs in Albania. It outlines the inter-
linkages in a largely donor-driven civil society with
internal management and organisation of CSOs
and seeks to present the key instruments that would
lead to a diversified focus of civil society with an
increased support from local societal actors.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
Researcher: Edlira Peco, PhD
This paper analyzes the concept of accountability
as practiced and to the extent applied by Albanian
CSOs. It argues that the strengthening of civic
structures (membership-based or not) and social di-
alogue, as well as the development of CSO practices
are all means that contribute to improved levels of
accountability among Albanian civil society.
Researcher: Egest Gjokuta, MA
Internally and externally perceived
democracy among CSOs at large in
Albania are the focus of this work.
It builds on the assumption that the
Albanian third sector has been rela-
tively successful in fulfilling its mis-
sion towards the democratization
of society, but it still has much to do
towards strengthening of internal
Annex III. Population Survey Meth-
The Population Survey (PS) was conducted in the
September – October 2009 period through personal
interviews with a nationally representative sample
of 1.100 respondents over 18 years old, throughout
the 36 counties (urban and rural areas) of the coun-
try. The PS sampling is based on the official data
of the 2001 population census in Albania (REPOBA
2001) and also on the latest update of the Institute
of Statistics (INSTAT, 2008). Interviewers, acting
in teams of two persons (female & male), followed
clearly prescribed rules in the selection of house-
holds and respondents within the household. In ad-
dition to the testing procedure prior to the survey
implementation, the quality-checks mechanisms
have consisted of testing questions introduced
within the questionnaire and also of monitoring
missions conducted parallel to and immediately af-
ter the interviewing phase. The demography of the Population Survey’s respon-
dents generally conforms to the same characteris

tics of the Albanian population. The sampling has
achieved a relatively balanced gender representation
with a slight predominance of female respondents
(51%). From the ethnic background perspective,
97.9% of respondents declare themselves as Alba –
nians, while 2.1% as belonging to minority groups
(Greek-0.6%, Aromanians-0.4, Roma-0.3%, Monte-
negrin-0.3%, Macedonians-0.2% and other-0.3%).
The largest groups of respondents (24%) represent
the younger age group of 18 – 25 year old, closely
followed by the group of “46 – 55 year old” with
22.7%. The smallest group (14.7%) includes respon-
dents older than 56 years.
The majority of respondents (36.8%) have com –
pleted secondary legislation while 33.2% hold a uni –
versity degree. Approximately 14% of respondents
have completed primary education; interviewees
with no formal education or incomplete primary lev-
el represent 1.9% of the sample while 5% say they
have incomplete secondary education degrees. 9.1%
of respondents declare that they hold higher educa-
tion, non-university degrees.
An interesting finding is the religious background
composition of the surveyed citizens and most sig-
nificantly, the fact that religious denomination is
not considered a relevant factor for the majority of
Figure A.III.1. shows respondents’ religious back –
ground; the majority (68.2%) declare themselves as
Moslem, 15.5% as Orthodox and 8.8% as Catholics.
Bektashi and Protestants are represented with 4.3%
and 0.4% of respondents respectively while 2.8% de-
clare that they don’t belong to any religious group.
The Population Survey also asked respondents the

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
following question: “Regardless of whether you be-
long to a religious group or not, would you consider
yourself as a religious person, not a religious per-
son or an atheist”
The figure A.III.2. shows that only
33.3% of respondents consider
themselves as religious persons
while the majority of them say they
are either “not religious” (59.1%) or
and atheist (7.6%).
Annex IV. Organisation-
al Survey Methodology
The Organisational Survey (OS)
was conducted in the September –
November 2009 period with 90 civil society organisations in Albania. A
comprehensive questionnaire was used
for the survey with interviews that last
35 – 45 minutes. Geographical cover-
age and sector representation of Alba

nian civil society were the main criteria
for the sample selection. In addition,
an appropriate representation between
experienced (more than 5 years) and
newly-established CSOs (up to five
years) was an issue which was consid-
ered in the sampling process, with the
majority of surveyed CSOs belonging
to the first group.
Approximately 53% of surveyed CSOs’ representa-
tives are females and the vast majority of respon-
dents have at least a graduate / university degree (85%). All interviewed representatives
hold a senior executive position in the
organisation (89%) or they are members
of the board (11%).
Figure A.IV.1. shows that the major –
ity of surveyed CSOs’ representatives
belong to three main age-groups: 51-
60 years old (28.6%), 18 – 30 years old
(26%) and 31-40 years old (24.7%).
The vast majority of CSOs are located
in cities (96.2%) while less than 4% are
located in small towns (1.3%) or villages

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
Annex V. External Per-
ceptions Survey Method-
The External Perceptions Survey
(EPS) was conducted in September
2009 with 32 representatives of pol-
icy and decision makers at national
and local level, media, academia,
donor organisations, private sector,
opinion-makers and international
governmental organisations etc. A
relatively simple questionnaire and
surveying methodology was used in
order to get to a snapshot of opinions and attitudes
of respondents on the most essential issues related
to civil society in Albania.
The selection of respondents was based on the sug-
gested criteria by CIVICUS so as to have the most
relevant and representative actors of key target in-
stitutions. The table below shows the structure of
EPS’s respondents according to the institution they
represent. A relatively acceptable level of gender balance was
achieved with 48% female respondents and 52%
males. More than 80% of respondents are between
31 and 50 years old, with a slight advantage of the
31 – 40 years old group of respondents (42%). Ap

proximately 72% of respondents have a post-grad-
uate degree or PhD while 28% with university de-
gree. All respondents have a long experience in the
sector they represent and a significant understand-
ing of civil society.

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania
Annex VI. CSI Data Indicator Matrix for Albania

CIVICUS civil society Index analytical country report for albania

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