Founded in Sweden in 1995, Cultural Heritage without Borders started its cooperation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, after which it expanded to Kosovo. The cooperation in Albania started with the second Southeast European (SEE) Heritage meeting which was organized in cooperation with the Mjaft! Movement in city of Gjirokastra in 2006. This activity was followed by the 1st Regional Restoration Camp, which was held in September 2007 in cooperation with the Albanian NGO Gjirokastra Conservation and Development Organization (GCDO) and the Swedish Association for Building Preservation. Following a rather successful 1st Regional Restoration Camp, the Albanian authorities responsible for the protection and care of monuments asked CHwB to expand its sphere of influence and enlarge its activity base. This request was followed by an application for funding from The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), which was then approved for the period 2008-2011. This was the first cooperation agreement that envisaged country-specific focus on Albania.
After setting forth cooperation agreements with both national and local authorities, CHwB opened its first office in Albania in late 2009. While the majority of activities continued to take place in Gjirokastra, the head office for Albania was placed in Tirana, in order to facilitate meetings with government stakeholders and donors. Through the office in Gjirokastra, CHwB Albania was able to accomplish some of our most important works, such as trainings and restoration projects involving the two Babameto monuments (Babameto I & Babameto II), which today have been successfully restored and revitalized.
Geographical expansion of activities, started with an emergency conservation intervention at the Church of St. Nicholas in Voskopoja in 2013 and the full restoration of the hamam in Kruja, finalized in 2015 as well as the work with the former political prison and forced labor camp at Spaç.
In June 2015, CHwB Albania was officially registered as an independent local NGO. This is the successful culmination of a multi-year process that recognized the professional growth of each of the local CHwB offices in the Western Balkans by seeking to register them as independent organizations—still with the CHwB name and holding onto the same values.
CHwB continued implementing Regional Restoration Camps started in Gjirokastra. So far, 44 Camps are implemented gathering more then a thousand professionals in cultural heritage from 25 countries. Camps are held in historical locations in 4 countries, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia.
Years pass and CHwB Albania continues its work in the field of cultural heritage. “Skills of Employability of Tomorrow” is a new program started in 2016 and still running. Gjirokastra, Berat, Korca, Durres are the cities where CHwBA organized this training. This projects aims to develop vocational training for historical repair techniques. The training is certified and enables young craftspeople to get employed, and work directly with restoration/conservation of historical buildings.
Children and adults continuously engaged by CHwB Albania in activities are learning about values of a historic environment. 2016-2020 has been a period of sustained growth for the E KA KUSH E KA series and the related program of activities. The collection “E Ka Kush e Ka” seeks to include children and adults in a series of books and games through which they discover and rediscover cultural heritage as a bridge, linking us to the complexities of the world around us.
A new economic and management models for heritage were created with the Butrint Management Plan. From October 2018 to May 2019, CHwB Albania was part of an international consortium that delivered the first Integrated Management Plan for Butrint National Park, (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Stories lived and narrated by women coming from different walks of life – this is Cultural Herstory project that provides a meeting space for women who use their cultural traditions to re-invent,produce and generate as a way to provide security for themselves and their families.
The emergency interventions in historical building continue. During 2020 CHwBA will do the restoration of four monuments: the Tower C of the fortifications in Durres, the Tekke of Dolma & the Clock Tower in the Castle of Kruja and the Tower & fortification walls of the Castle of Preza. All four monuments were damaged in the earthquake in November 2019.
The work of CHwB Albania continues with the financial support of our donors and the collaborations with our partners.
CHwB is currently operating under an agreement with SIDA extended until the end of 2023