Emergency response to the earthquake in Albania In the first phase, UNICEF and its partner NISMA ARSIS together with the government and other partners, focused on addressing the urgent, life-sustaining needs of children and their families, with a focus on the most vulnerable ones. After the first immediate response phase, UNICEF and its
partner NISMA ARSIS rolled-out more stable psycho-social support to children and families through Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS).

CFSs are safe spaces where communities create nurturing environments in which children can access free and structured play, recreation, leisure and learning activities.
They are designed and operated in a participatory manner, often using existing spaces in the community, such as schools and kindergartens and serve a variety of age ranges, with the highest concentration of children being in the age range of 5-14 years old.

Activities are tailored to the age of children, with dedicated activities for very young children (0-3 and 4-6 years), school-aged children (7-12 years) and teenagers

(13-18 years).

Activities are as follows but not limited to:

  • Non‐formal education for out of school children and young people, including basic literacy and numeracy
  • Child protection activities such as awareness raising on prevention of violence and separation; referral mechanisms for identification and response to child protection issues;
  • Adherence to codes of conduct for staff and volunteers for the prevention of violence, abuse, and exploitation; 
  • Awareness raising and education for children and parents about key issues including health, nutrition, hygiene promotion, waste management, disaster preparedness, etc.
  • Support to parents and communities through listening and counselling, group activities and life skills support.

14 Child-Friendly Spaces have been established covering 3 earthquake affected municipalities (Durres, Kavaje, and Tirana) and 10 Administrative Units (Durres, Manez, Shijak, Golem, Kombinat, Ndroq, Zallherr, Vaqarr, Kashar, Baldushk). As a result, 1,806 children (877 girls and 929 boys) and 370 adults (266 men and 104 women) have received psychosocial support in these child friendly spaces.

In addition to supporting children, CFS also serves as a space to host group activities in particular with youth and parents. They also serve the professionals to identify those children and/or adults that require more specialized and individualized support through individualized psycho-social care, referral to specific services.

NISMA ARSIS is supporting existing national child protection system, in order to identify, and support children at risk or in need of protection. This work will be done in close collaboration and under the coordination of the State Agency on the Rights and Protection of the Child. Child protection practitioners and local structures are supported with additional human and logistical resources, to be able to cover the whole earthquake-affected areas.

Practitioners are empowered with legal frameworks and operational tools to enable effective prevention and addressing of the situations of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.