Independent Forum for the Albanian Woman (IFAW) is one of the first non-governmental, non-profit organisations in Albania, founded in 1991, after the social, political and economic changes in Albania. We implement our activities in the territory of Albania, Western Balkans and Europe. The activities of IFAW are emphasized by an important social and gender-oriented dimension. IFAW started its work with the aim to defend women’s rights in the framework of human rights through cultural, social and economic interventions. Now our focus has expanded towards social inclusion, environment protection, education and culture. IFAW has created more than 24 social enterprises in different cities of Albania, where more than 1000 women have been employed. Six of these companies also serve as a reference point for women regarding vocational training in which professional courses are carried out for marginalized women. With the close collaboration and institutional support with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, IFAW has started and formalized the coalition for the proposed laws in Parliament such as the law "For the Rights of Reproduction", "The law to eliminate violence against women and the defense of women victims of violence ", "The law on gender equality - even 30% in parliament "- approved in 2009. As a result of these battles, the percentage of women in the Albanian parliament has changed from 0.7% about 30% IFAW has created two greenhouses in the rural areas of Tirana and work as cooperatives, managed by the groups of women that were involved directly in the projects. National and international social campaigns, training programs, social and cultural activities, and round tables conducted over the past 30 years have provided the public and beneficiaries with a deeper understanding of human rights. Since 2006 FIDA has its own editorial centre "Dora d'Istria". Through this initiative, funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs of Italy, more than 30 titles of well-known international writers have been published. In addition, researches, awareness materials and the monthly magazine "Penda e Gruas" were published. Since 2018 it has its own cultural social centre in Tirana, created with the support of the Municipality of Tirana, "Forum", to give life to cultural social activities in the city of Tirana, where painting, theatre and literal activities are carried out, photography competitions. IFAW has carried out several projects related to improving the situation of children and women. Most of these projects were funded by leading international development agencies. The projects were carried out in the social field, gender difference, professional training, work, health etc. In 2000 FIDA was awarded by the European Union and the United States of America with the Prize for Democracy and Civil Society, in recognition of its commitment to promoting democratic values and civil society. Over the years, FIDA has produced and broadcast: 12 series of soap operas as a communication tool for the integration process of Albania into the EU; 6 documentary films on sensitive social issues; More than 100 exhibitions - Art as a communication tool. With UNESCO as partner, IFAW organized the project “Balkans Bridges Speak”, which aimed at building on the power of culture as a dynamic force of co-operation and innovation for inclusive economic development, social cohesion, and peace.


IFAW performs its activity in the territory of Albania. Its main centre is in Tirana. The branches of IFAW are in these districts: Tirana, Durres, Elbasan, Pogradec, Lushnja, Berat, Sarande, Gjirokastra, Burrel, Kukes, Lezha, Laç, Kruja, Bulqiza, Peshkopia and Shkodra. The IFAW Women’s Centers are in these cities: Berat, Saranda, Tirana, Elbasan, Shkodra. The centers give services to women: counseling, advocacy; legal problems, health, etc. The centers organize activities and develop relations and cooperation with the local public institutions. IFAW has developed different advocacy programs in collaboration with other NGOs, local power and Parliament in order to push for improvement of legislation regarding the women issues.


IFAW seeks to bring the National and International Legal Framework on different social and human rights issues to the attention of the general public through publication of leaflets, posters, brochures, essays and magazines which are offered to different communities in different alternatives. Community meetings, campaigns, training programs, and round tables conducted these years have equipped the audience and direct beneficiaries with understanding of women’s rights and democratic values as concern and the role that information access and disclosure of wrongdoing plays in it.


IFAW has been the national coordinator in the process of writing the first Shadow Report on CEDAW (Convent on the Elimination of all kind of Discrimination against Women), which outlines the situation of Albanian women based on several important articles of the CEDAW. The purpose of the Shadow report is to is to review the existing situation of women rights in Albania and to propose a list of recommendations that the Albanian Government and other relevant institution should implement in order to fulfil its duties towards the improvement of women’s status in Albania. Gender Experts of IFAW have played an active role during the process of drafting the National Strategy on Gender Equality and Domestic Violence 2007-2010 in Albania. IFAW members have been important negotiators with central stakeholders for the approval of the Law on Gender Equality in Society (28.07.2008). In order to involve gender mainstreaming in policy development, legislation, resource allocation and every other component of policy implementation and monitoring since 2007 IFAW in cooperation with local branches is offering mainstreaming assistance to several municipalities of Albania.


The challenge to deal with social problems such as unemployment, domestic violence and poverty, environmental issues, protection of the cultural heritage are some of main important objectives of IFAW. The projects implemented by IFAW in general offer qualitative and quantitative researches on these phenomena, based on statistics and media monitoring on sevral districts of the country: Tirana, Durres, Elbasan, Pogradec, Fier, Lushnja, Berat, Sarande, Gjirokastra, Burrel, Kukes, Lezha, Laç, Vlora, Kruja, Bulqiza, Peshkopia, Shkodra, Himara. These initiatives try to launch a multi-year and a multi-disciplinary effort to understand the factors that deteriorate the economic and social situation of vulnerable target groups in order to offer qualitative overview and informative arguments that can be used also to consultation processes on law drafting to the Ministry of Labour Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.


The vision of social enterprise with the purpose to increase social cohesion and social inclusion is realized by IFAW through the social enterprise placed in the city of Durres, as a pilot project. Today there are 90 women working in this enterprise, organized as a cooperative, where women produce clothes, sell them and decide in the group how to share and distribute the incomes. The social enterprise of Durres, named Penelope, serves as well as a base for professional training and professional courses for women. The projects, realized by IFAW now have created a Women Professional Center, near the Penelope cooperative.