Remarks by Public Affairs Officer Brian Beckmann at the Project Management and Reporting Workshop

Good morning,

Strengthening NGOs is a top priority for the U.S. Embassy in Albania. We know that by empowering you, you will hold government and business accountable. We have already begun to see good result from our NGO empowerment projects.  We want to see more.

Whether it’s keeping the government accountable, fighting corruption, supporting the key reforms, building young people’s capacity to become leaders, working with investigative journalists, or empowering women, you are on the forefront of making this country a better place.

This is why we invest in both your projects and you, as organizations. This year we have had two democracy commission rounds, plus a special call for proposals focused specifically on CVE. I’m pleased that through these processes, we were able to fund a variety of organizations from the thematic and geographical point of view.

We hope that in the future, we will continue to partner with those of you that have a long history with us, but also up and coming NGOs from across the country. I personally participate in the selection process and I can tell you that much time and effort is spent on selecting winning proposals. As encouraged as I am about what you all are doing, I must also say that it is sometimes a challenge to find new partners in new places. Part of what we want to help you all with is helping you articulate and focus your proposals more effectively.

This reporting workshop is an important aspect of our relationship with you and part of our effort to help you be even more effective.

We hope some of what you learn here today will help make your organizations more transparent, sustainable, and successful. We can see that the public’s interest in accountability continues to rise.  Expectations of better results and more success in the fight against corruption, demand for transparency in government are also rising.  We need to take advantage of these trends. If we can get the Albanian public engaged, we can see real change here.

I want to conclude with a message from our Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Leyla Moses-Ones:

“Growing the fundamental grassroots required in a democracy is difficult work and takes determination. In the history of most democracies that struggled against some form of despotism, monarchy, or authoritarianism, grassroots organizing and associated movements were the necessary ingredients for lasting change.  And you all are at the forefront of this crusade —  that means, beginning with your ideas, you are setting the agenda, you are pushing for structural adaptations in institutions, you are driving policy changes, and you are altering narratives and transforming mentalities.  The strategic use of your constructive power can tilt the power wheel, and reroute political will in your favor.  We thank you for being champions of democracy for Albania. And, we thank you for trusting in American values and ideals to continue propelling our partnerships forward.”