Degree and university: BA English and Literature, University of Tirana, Albania
MA Health and Social Care Policies, Middlesex University, UK
Job title:Country Coordinator, The Olof Palme
InternationalCenter, Offi ce Albania
What does your work involve?
I work for an international Swedish organisation that believes that an active, democratic civil society, based on the needs and aspirations of people, is a basic precondition for sustainable democratic social development. My main task involves selecting local partner organisations in civil society in Albania who have the potential to influence on poverty alleviation, development of democracy, and human rights. Moreover, I am involved in the day-to-day activities of partner organizations through monitoring their projects and offering support in the implementation of their activities. In addition, I play an important role in the process of reporting on project results and activities, for the benefit of the organisational memory and learning.
Were you always interested in Social Work as a career?
The interest in Social Work started when I did my first voluntary job in the Albanian Red Cross in 1998, while I was attending university. I was involved in social welfare programs which aimed to support people with disabilities, especially the elderly and children. I felt that being involved in Social Work, one has the potential to make a change and fight for social justice, and human rights. Since then, I have always been looking for job positions that involve Social Work. However, as the Social Work term has evolved and become more dynamic, so has been my involvement. When I worked as a volunteer at The Red Cross I was involved mainly as service provider, however, now I am more involved in social policies analysis, in social and political action, to influence social policies and development.
How did you get this particular job? (e.g. work experience, graduate scheme)
I think my main credit was the experience I had working in similar programs as well as the enthusiasm and commitment shown in working in the field.
What do you like most about your job?
What I like most is the potential that the organization and its program offer in bringing real changes in the society I live in, and improving the lives of people. The feeling that I myself can contribute to improving the lives of people, and promoting the defence of human rights in my country brings a great satisfaction in me.
Are there any downsides to what you do?
Sometimes it takes a long time to see the concrete results of the program, and other
times it is hard to determine a realistic picture of one’s own contribution to social changes. However, as long as you make the best effort you can, it is most likely that you will achieve the expected results.
How has your postgraduate qualification helped your career?
I think that to meet professional individual objectives, one has to inter-relate a system of both practice and theory. I had several years of working experience before deciding to take my master studies, experience which has helped me improve professionally and progress in my career. However, I felt that I was missing a thorough academic knowledge which would have helped me improve further. My master studies helped me gain a good knowledge and draw on a number of social theories and research methods to analyse situations, and facilitate societal changes. Now, I feel more confident in my work and more supportive towards local partner organisations which I work with.
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to make a success of what you do?
I consider that first of all it is important to love what you do and be committed to it. It is when you put you heart in work, that things become more achievable. As related to skills/ strengths, I would mention that it is important to have experience and knowledge of the field you are working in be able to interact positively with people of different backgrounds and cultures, being those locals or internationals. My work involves building partnerships with local organisations, therefore, it is important to build a mutual trust and respect.