Improving social protection for Roma in Albania

Project completed
Roma children in Tirana, Albania.
Roma children in the outskirts of Tirana, Albania. © UNICEF Albania

Albania’s social safety net has to be strengthened so as to address conditions perpetuating poverty and vulnerability among marginalized communities. The current social protection policy focuses mainly on providing financial aid. The Support to Roma Social Inclusion Project, which is implemented by United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF),  supports a social care reform that addresses the needs of the socially most disadvantaged population.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Human rights
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
26.09.2012 - 31.12.2016
CHF 3'000'000


The project works to build a national policy framework for municipalities and service providers to fulfil the social and economic rights of the most marginalised populations. Work done so far includes the following:

  • Developed and endorsed A National Strategy on Social Protection 2015–2020 and an Action Plan including costs, monitoring  tools, and timeline.
  • Recognition of the ‘social work’ profession thanks to a new law adopted by Albania’s Parliament
  • Updating of job descriptions for ‘social worker’ and ‘psychologist’ occupations.
  • Outlined a new law on social care services and reviewed legislation with a view to outsource services to non-governmental organisations.
  • Defined roles and assignments and developed standard packages for newly formed municipalities on social care services in their territories.


Alongside policy changes the project intervenes directly to address situations of extreme marginalisation in impoverished and minority communities. This is done by involving local governments and line ministries.

  • Four municipalities started investing their own resources to promote early inclusion of Roma children in education, sensitized by the “Every Roma Child to Kindergarten” Initiative.
  • Together with the Ministry of Education included special instructions and focus on enrolling most marginalised children in the pre-school system.
  • Increased the number of Roma children attending kindergarten, preschool, and benefiting from immunisation and obtaining identification papers.
  • Facilitated adoption by the Government of Albania of a Protocol on Child Protection and supported the Child Protection Units at the newly formed municipalities.