Promoting Sustainable Development

Project location: ALBANIA, Butrint National Park
Project start date: July 2004 - Project end date: September 2005
Project number: 2004-12
Beneficiary: Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli

Butrint National Park: a Sustainable Development Opportunity for the Community in South- Albania

The Nando Peretti Foundation - CISP

 

FINAL PERFORMANCE REPORT

November 2004 - September 2005

Background information

Following the submission from CISP to the Nando Peretti Foundation of a specific project proposal, CISP and the Foundation signed a contract for the implementation of the project "Butrint National Park: a Sustainable Development Opportunity for the Community in South- Albania" supporting the communities of the Butrint National Park greater area. The project lasted 11 months
The activities implemented have been strongly linked and coordinated with the activities of the wider programme - Cultural And Natural Resources Management Project - Butrint Archaeological Site and National Park- "Technical Assistance for Community Based Development" that CISP has realized, from October 2003 to June 2005 in the Butrint National Park surrounding area, financed by the World Bank and Italian Cooperation.


Synthesis

The present document refers to the activities implemented from November 2005 to September 2005. It contains an overall description of the activities and the achieved results.

The project reached the objectives proposed through three main actions: creation of a touring boat service, strengthening the local women handicraft, making the local communities more aware about the social and economic value of the cultural and natural richness of the Park and of the Ecosystem of the Butrint Park Area.
The development of the boat tour service and the promotion of the local handicraft and the environmental awareness campaigns showed to the people the of the Park's potentials in creating sustainable income generating activities and have contributed to improve the local people standard of living.
The CISP intervention has been the first concrete experience in the area of organization of economic activities in collaboration between the Park and the local inhabitants. The enthusiasm showed by the participants and the positive evaluation expressed by the Park, by the local and national authorities and by the press confirm the rightness of this approach and the big potentiality of the process that was launched.

The activities of the project, in particular the training activities, have involved the Butrint National Park staff and the official local tourism guides, generating among them a lot of satisfaction about the achieved results.
The inclusion and integration of the project "Butrint National Park: a Sustainable Development and Opportunity for the Community in South- Albania" in the wider framework of the CISP interventions in the area which foreseen: the creation of other ecotourism pilot-activities such as bed&brekfast, trekking and touristic path creation, and the improvement of the relationship between the Park with the local communities, has been crucial for the success of the project.

Finally, even if not foreseen in the present project, the participation of CISP team in some public national and international initiatives in Italy about Parks and ecotourism, and the study tour during the year 2005 in rural ecotourism villages of Greece have been an important moment of training for the Albanian project's staff and gave high visibility to the Butrint National Park and to the project.

 
Overall description of the project activities

1. Promoting and realizing a small touring boat service in the protected National Butrint Park surrounding area through direct involvement of fishermen coming from the villages of Vrina and Xarra
The Park has a large number of open water areas connecting bay and channels the majority of which can be considered tourist routes and tourism boats itineraries..
With the present project, in 2005 the boat tourism service has been created, strengthened, and fit in the overall tourism strategy of Butrint National Park orientated to a participatory and sustainable use and management of the marine and coastal resources of the park's eco-system.

1.1 Creation of tourism boat service

Supplying of boats and tools
Butrint National Park has been provided by CISP of two boats, engines, safety and tourism equipment. The donations have been done linking the use of the boats only to the tourism boat service and the involvement of local fishermen of the Butrint's villages.

The boats respected the characteristics selected with the Park Director according to the Park's service regulation and to the ecosystem environmental protection:
Type: fishing boat adapted for transport of passengers
Material: wood
Dimension: about 5 meters
Number of passengers: 7-8
Engine: max 15 hp

The speed limit was set to maximum 5 Knots.

 The boat searching has been complex due to the fact that in Albania there are not many firms and the little number of them have a very low production level. The majority of the boats and related equipments are imported. CISP identified one firm in Durres that made, in the past, the majority of the boats of the Butrint area. One boat has been bought in Durres the other one has been boat from a local fisherman of Butrint area who had a new boat to sell.
The first boat has been ordered on April and it arrived in Butrint on June. The boat of the fisherman was bought on May and was donated to the Butrint National Park the same month.

The engines have been bought in Saranda on May and donated to the Park the same month The engines respect the characteristics and the powerful (15 HP and 9.9 HP) foreseen by the Park's regulation, with a special attention to guarantee a low environmental impact.

The boats have been manned with safety equipment (life jackets, anchors, ropes, locks and chains for the boats and the engines) and tourism equipment (8x40 waterproof binoculars, awning, logo of the park etc). Because of the difficulty in finding appropriated equipment in Albania the material has been generally bought in Corfu.

 

 1.2 Organization of the boat touring service functioning

An Agreement between CISP and the Park has been signed in order to better organize the boat tour service the organization and in collaboration with the Park Director general guidelines on the service functioning have been carried out. A feasibility study has been done in collaboration with local fishermen focused on the cost of the initiative: fuel, engine maintenance and possible income related with the time spending.
CISP has also worked to solve some logistic aspects of the itineraries, with the maintenance of the points of landing of the boats and the cleaning of the areas of the visits.

Planning tourist routes and itineraries to avoid environmental impact and to provide an interesting tour service.
The criteria to define the tourist routes and itineraries have been the following:
Relatively short routes;;
Economically accessible also to national tourists;
Itineraries in the lake and marine areas easy to be controlled and monitored by the Park.

The two main itineraries selected are:
Itinerary (1) : the duration is hour and 30 minutes, the departure is from the entrance of the archaeological site of the BNP, it goes through the Vivari Channel and arrives at the Ali Pasha Castle where the tourists can stop and visit the Castle after the stop the way back is through the Butrint Bay
In order to make the visit to the castle practicable and safe, during the month of June the CISP staff, with the help of the fishermen and the rangers, cleaned up the area and set up the signals, which indicate the path into the castle to be followed.


Itinerary (2) : the duration is 1 hour and 45 minutes, the departure is from the entrance of the archaeological site of the BNP, it goes through the Vivari Channel, goes in the Butrint Lake through the Kalivo Hill and arrives at Diaporit Beach where the tourist can stop and visit the ruins of a Roman villa of the 1st-century AD, a late-antique Basilica and can watch a traditional system of fishing.
To organize the visit to Diaporit there have been a good collaboration with the Butrint Foundation that is ending the archeological works in the area. There will be also a person who will be employed by the Butrint Foundation for the protection of the area. The fishermen and park staff will be provided with some training on the area of Diaporit archeological site.


1.3 Technical training

The training activities have been carried out with the collaboration of beneficiaries and local specialists. The training was focused on:
Appropriate behavior and relationship with tourists.
Knowledge of environmental characteristics of the area.
Training on the job (sailing) of tourism guide and on historical aspects of the area
Service quality monitoring
Tourism guiding techniques
Park's regulation and boat service guidelines
An important aspect taken into account during each training module has been environmental protection and respect.

The training has been done with several practical tours preceded by theoretical sessions. Documentation and training material have been delivered by CISP to the participants.
The training has been done by the Project manager and 3 local assistants, two of them were former Park official guides and experts of ecotourism in the area.


2. Strengthening the handicraft activity of the women coming from the village of Shen Delli and their possibility to sell their products:
The project aimed at supporting local women to improve their handcraft production. A better quality of the products has been realized and the number of producers has increased. The involvement of the local women in the selling at the Park's gift shop "Kasolle" has also contributed to the success of the activity

2.1 Supplying of raw materials
The material supplied to the group of producers in Shen Delli and Xarra has been wool, cotton, tissues, embroidering thread and jars, tailoring kits, package bags and also 13 machines-sew have been distributed. The material was linked with the products that they usually prepare but also with the new products suggested during the training. It has been bought in Tirana, in Saranda, and sometime in Corfu.
The material has been distributed in different moments of the project, following the activity of training and the production needs.

 2.2 Technical training

The training issues were the following:
embroidering and knitting techniques, control of the quality of packaging, management and monitoring (linked in particularly to the organization of the Park Gift Shop) elements,
prices definition, experiences in other Parks of promotion of local products.
The training has been realized by women from Saranda: an expert of handcraft techniques; two local assistants; the sellers of the Gift Shop and by the CISP project manager.

During training the women have preferred to concentrate their efforts to improve the quality (new colors, other models) of the traditional products that they are used to make.

The training has been done during the entire project, trough numerous formal and informal meetings. CISP staff organized some of them also in other villages of the area to present the initiative and to involve new producers, and in Saranda with a local women Association to make comparison between their products and the villages' ones. Finally, the meetings realized have been more than 40.

The technical training involved also two people in charge of the Park's Gift Shop. CISP staff selected and trained the people on the following issues: the management and selling system, techniques of selling and relation with tourists, characteristics and history of the products, monitoring.

 3. Supporting the fishermen and the women to give visibility to their activities in the Butrint National Park

3.1 Production of promotional and visibility materials
The visibility has been assured to the entire project and to the achieved results and the promotional material have been realised through a participatory process with the contribution of the local population and Park's staff.
In the first period on the project, more effort has been put in the activities organization. Later, the work was more concentrated on the promotion. A lot of different promotional material has been published. Almost all material has been printed in the area and even if there have been some difficulty linked to the quality it has permitted to involve more local interlocutors as possible in the project.

- Logo for local products. The products of the villages have been sold with the logo of the Park (Butrint National Park brand), to strengthen the link between the local handcraft and the Butrint National Park.
- Brochure of handicraft and local products. A brochure about the handicraft and local products has been produced and distributed in the Park and in the principal hotels, bars, restaurants and tourism agencies in the area, as well as at the Information Point of the port of Saranda. (see annex ).
- Catalogue of handicraft and local products. One more detailed and elegant catalogue of the products has been elaborated, destined to the Park international interlocutors, to the tourism agencies, to the important guests of Butrint and to other international agencies and donors. (see annex)
- Boat Tour Service leaflet. A leaflet to present the boat tour service and their itineraries has been also published and distributed in the entrance of the Park and in the principal hotels, bar, restaurants and tourism agencies in the area, as well as in the Information Point of the port of Saranda. (see annex).
- Document about the services and ecotourism activities in the Butrint. One document about the all services and ecotourism activities in the Butrint area has been elaborated and distributed to the national and international agencies and international interlocutors in Tirana (see annex)
- Brochure of ecotourism activities in the Butrint. A brochure about the all services and ecotourism activities in the Butrint area has been elaborated and distributed in the Park and in the principal hotels, bar, restaurants and tourism agencies in the area, and in the Information Point of the port of Saranda. (see annex)
- Project's material. Promotional material about the general intervention in the area has been also published and distributed: project' s brochure (see annex) and t-short. (see annex)
- Internet. All information about the new tourism services in Butrint has been also published in the official web site of the park: www.butrinti.org
- Albanian media. CISP maintained frequent contacts with local journalists: some articles about the tourism services have been published in local and national newspapers and some radio communications have been transmitted in the local radio of Saranda.
- Project's Newsletter. 4 numbers of the CISP-Butrint Park Newsletter have been published. The Newsletter "We and the environment", monthly information sheet in Albanian begun in 2004, was made by CISP involving directly the students of High Schools of Ksamili and Saranda, to inform the local communities about the progress of the project and the news of the Park. The newsletter was free and it has been distributed in the villages and in Saranda (see annex)
- Video. Finally, one video about the wide CISP's intervention in the area has been realized, to present Butrint and the different tourism services and initiatives promoted, as the handicraft and the boats tour service. The video has been showed in Tirana in a public conference with the participation of many international agencies and representatives of Embassies, and it aroused a lot of interest. Considering that a video is a very good promotional instrument, it will be use by CISP and to the Park to continue the promotion of Butrint in Albania and abroad.

3.2 Public events

CISP organized or has participated to different public moments to present the initiatives, and it has also taken part to the Tourism Season Opening Day in Saranda.

CISP organized a promotional boat tour and a promotional visit to the Gift Shop with a group of Albanian journalists and tourism agencies of Saranda. CISP participated in the Tourism Season Opening Day in Ksamil organising drawing and photo competition among the students of Ksamil "Nature in Ksamil" and a Competition for the most beautiful house with garden in Ksamil. The initiative has been done also in the framework of the constant collaboration with the students of high school of Ksamili.

Finally, CISP organized one big final event to close the project, with the participation of all villagers involved in the project, Park staff, local authorities and the press.

4. Monitoring and evaluation

All activities have been regularly monitored by the project manager and the local assistants, trough direct field visits, elaboration of specific schedules and participatory meetings with the people of the villages involved in the activities.

Results achieved

1. Boat Tour Service
Boat Tour Service in Butrint National Park created, consolidated and functioning
Two boats, two engines, and related tourism and safe equipment donated to the Butrint National Park
The Boat Tour Service Guidelines carried out
Technical training realised
The monitoring of the activity pointed out that the new Park service has aroused a quite high interest among the tourists in the area. The majority of tourists who enjoyed the service are Albanian. In fact, the domestic tourists spend often more time in the area, while the international tourists generally visit Butrint with only one-day tours from Corfu. The number of foreigner visitors traveling in Albania for more days is increasing each seasons: this kind of tourists will be probably in the future the best target for this service, and CISP has developed the promotion's activity also in that direction.
The monitoring results show also that the percentage of the income for the Park makes the initiative interesting for the institution and it will permit to guarantee the sustainability of the service in the future.

2. Handicraft and local products
About 20 families involved in the activities, trained and provided of material and equipment
Quality, variety and quantity of products improved
Park Gift Shop consolidated, functioning and promoting the local products
Guidelines for the management for the Park Gift Shop elaborated
Training done

The monitoring of the activity pointed up that the selling of the products and the producers participating to the initiative has increased from the past season (first year of the initiative), as well as the quality of the products and the capacity of the women involved , that, anyway, will need still more time to be consolidated. The families more active in the initiatives have earned an interesting additional income, that in some case has been an important contribution to improve their standard of living. Finally, the monitoring shows that the incomes directly destined for the Park coming from the selling of it's gadgets and books will permit in the future to sustain, in co-financing with the producers, the expenses of the management of the Gift Shop.

 

3. Visibility and promotion

Visibility material (paper, video, Internet) elaborated, produced and distributed in the Park's area, in Albania and abroad.
Six articles published in the local and national press and about two radio communications transmitted
Three tourism agencies of Saranda, three Italian tour operators and two Greek agencies detailed informed about the new services.

At the end of the project, the visibility of the Butrint National Park as ecotourism destination is improved at national but also at international level. For the future, the Park has at its disposal a lot of different material and instruments to continue the publicity and visibility.

Other very important result, that emerged in all participatory meetings done with the local authorities and the villagers, is the deeper knowledge and consciousness, among the local inhabitants, of the Park as a "resource" to be used and protected.

Conclusions

Through this project CISP has had the opportunity to analyze and identify available resources and potentials on the territory, to evaluate and strengthen the local entrepreneurial skills and to identify strategies and activities to be implemented in order to consolidate the development process launched.
At this point, a number of lessons learned emerge:
Concrete experiences of community active participation to the development processes has been possible looking for "small but very concrete results".
To involve more people in the initiatives is a key factor. The participatory approach assure a successful project implementation.
Community based tourism initiatives strengthen the link between the local communities and the territory and makes people more attentive to its potentials and more sensitive to its protection.
Sustainable tourism not only provides material benefits but also generates cultural pride. The asset of cultural wealth is of particular relevance to the local economy and conducive to wider tourism activities.


CISP
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