Genc Burazeri1, Sonela Xinxo1, Eni Tresa1, Zhenihen Zanaj2, Anila Meço3
1 “Shkollat për Shëndetin” project;
2 Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC);
3 Save the Children, Albania.
“Shkollat për Shëndetin” is a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) project implemented by Save the Children.
The overreaching goal of the project is to reduce exposure to the major risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Albanian population in general, but with a particular focus on schoolchildren.
This project is intended to promote positive behavioural changes among all primary schoolchildren (aged 6-15 years) in Albania in order for them, their respective families and communities at large to engage in healthy lifestyle practices including healthy nutritional practices, physical activity, no use of smoking, alcohol or drugs, as well as promotion of other healthy behaviours.
This nationwide project consists of a 1-year Inception Phase (March 2020 – February 2021), followed by a 4-year Main Phase (March 2021 – February 2025).
Key national partners of this important project include a wide range of sectors and related institutions at central level, as well as regional and local (municipality) level.
At a national level, the main stakeholders from the health sector consist of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the General Directorate of Health Care Service Operator and the Institute of Public Health. From the education sector, the main actors at a national level include the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport with its related General Directorate for Pre-University Education, and the Agency of Pre-University Quality Assurance. From the food and nutrition sector, the main stakeholders at a national level consist of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Food Authority, and the Institute of Food Safety and Veterinary Medicine.
At a regional and local level, the main actors consist of the Regional Directorates of the Health Care Service Operator and their related Local Health Care Units (health sector); the Regional Directorates for Pre-University education and the related Local Education Offices (education sector); as well as local government authorities (including municipalities and their related administrative local units).
In all cases though, schools are at the very heart of this exciting project including children, teachers, other supporting staff, school authorities, parents/caregivers of the children, as well as communities at large.
Keywords: health behaviours, lifestyle, non-communicable diseases, schoolchildren, Shkollat për Shëndetin.