Ramping Up Youth Engagement in Kukës
Project Launch: 4/25/17
Kukës is located in one of Albania's poorest regions. Recently, the town has begun to evaluate its commitment to inclusiveness and integration, especially of local youth, women, and those with disabilities. This project seeks to rehabilitate Kukës' civil infrastructure so it is accessible to wheelchairs, strollers, and mobility-assisted devices. Ramps will be installed in front of all public buildings as well as popular intersections in the town.
Project Update: 6/27/17
After performing a more thorough needs analysis, 122 ramp locations were identified on the 5 main roads of Kukës. Although this is double the initial projection, it was determined it was better to broaden the project's scope in an effort to provide wheelchair access to as much of the city as possible, as opposed to only upgrading a limited area of the community. That being said, over 60 ramps have already been completed and 22% of the total budget has been spent, mostly to pay for construction materials.
Final Report: 2/15/18
Through patience and diligence, the construction team was able to more than the double initial estimates of ramps created in Kukes for a total of 150 constructed ramps. The implementation team was able to accomplish this feat by recycling existing materials in sidewalks and minimizing waste materials. The team worked tirelessly, performing hard labor including smashing concrete, lifting heavy slabs, and shoveling mounds of dirt. Overall, reception has been positive as this project has established a level of handicapped accessibility in Kukës not even seen in Albania's capital, Tirana.
“It has been a complete privilege to work on this project, and it is already shaping up to be the flagship achievement of my Peace Corps service. I am immensely grateful to Lavdrim Shehu, my local project leader, without whom this project would not have been possible. He has taken the onus to have Kukes's local municipality sign off on our proposed changes, identify 3 incredibly hardworking and patient municipal tradesworkers, and ensure that the project budget is being managed from both the donor and community contribution sides. I am privileged enough to work alongside the local team of Albanians several days each week, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work directly on this project in my community and to learn from these talented individuals. It has been a great opportunity to talk to members of my community, serve as an ambassador to the United States, and demonstrate the power of co-partnership between Peace Corps Volunteer and his/her community. This project is already shaping up to be a huge victory for the city of Kukes, because not even the capital of Albania, Tirana, will have the same level of handicap accessible walkways as Kukes once the project is complete.”
– Michael, Peace Corps Volunteer
“The project has contributed into improved mobility for all citizens and specifically it brings a qualitative change for children, women using child strollers, people with special needs, wheel chair users and elderly. We believe that the intervention creates a safe zone for those users providing more to those vulnerable. The project has provided added value and improved access to women and children who are the most number of users in terms of numbers.”
– Lavdrim, Project Leader
“It is rewarding to provide a social service to our community. Although some of the work for this project is labor intensive, I feel good about creating this legacy in my community. ”
– Local Resident
“This was an excellent project because it helped the city. It provided a service to primarily people with disabilities, but also provided a service to children on bicycles, women with small children (strollers). This project impacted people with disabilities the most, because it provided a critical service and helped spread awareness about creating accessibility throughout the city. ”
– Local Resident
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