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Our Long Journey Short; A recap of the Strengthening Financial Literacy Project

A glimpse into the project's accomplishments thus far, provided by DSIK Albania Banking Expert Kliton Vaso.

Here we are, after two intensive years in working in Albania - a beautiful country with proud people, tall mountains, and a wild sea all beautifully merged together. Lively developing cities, working hard to realize the dream of becoming part of the European Union. An earthquake and pandemic have presented challenging hurdles, and the side effects can be felt still. But still Albanians are there, willing to move forward no matter the difficulties and emerging challenges.

In this context German Sparkassenstiftung for International Cooperation (DSIK) arrived on the scene in Albania in 2020, after a scoping mission DSIK experts Dr. Mihallaq Qirjo and Dr. Pavel Utitz conducted, essentially discovering that the country and people of Albania need support and expertise rather than donations. Strengthening financial education and financial literacy were promoted as very valuable tools with respect to the developing situation, demography, and the future of the country. This matched nicely with DSIK’s mission, vision and core competences, and the project commenced officially in Tirana in the fall of 2020.

DSKI was delighted by the warm welcomed the organization received by the stakeholders in Albania; public institutions, financial sector organizations, and NGOs. The project kicked off with an orientation phase which included meetings with key actors in the Albanian socio-economic landscape, including the Minister of State for Entrepreneurship Protection, Mr. Eduard Shalsi who assured his support and gratitude toward our project objectives.

We started small, both in staff and logistics in a modest office at Innospace in downtown Tirana, a startup incubator where we found good partners to cooperate with. Meetings and plans with financial sector followed and we joined forces with the Albanian Network for Financial Education (ANFE), connecting the dots and joining efforts to improve financial education and financial literacy in Albania. This led to DSIK being invited to be part of the Albanian Network for Financial Education, a great achievement in such a short period of time. Our first steps as ANFE members, we contributed our experience by working together to create the first draft of the National Strategy for Financial Education as well as other activities for World Saving Day. 

During this same time period of spring and summer 2021, we started an ambitious training session called Training of Trainers (ToT), where DSIK Albania trained local partner organisations on how to implement DSIK’s Business Games so that they could amplify the impact of such training by organizing and playing the business game with people interested in increasing their financial literacy. DSIK trainers Mrs. Susanne Schuster and Mr. Stefan Bunte, utilized their experience and delivered the first ever online ToT for DSIK’s Savings Game, Micro Business Game and Farmers Business Game. The success of this training was truly realized when our partner organizations - Junior Achievement of Albania (JAA), the Resource Environmental Center (REC), REC, the Albanian Center for Environmental Governance (ACEG) and Unifin SLA, Balance Center) were able to lead the various Business Games, delivering the financial concepts and skills to eager Albanian people. We are proud to see that we trained about 50 trained trainers for all the games with 7 trainers now being certified Savings Game Trainers as well.

The financial sector is very important for our project and among the most important sectors in Albanian economy. We found common ground with several actors in the financial market such as Albanian Association of Banks (AAB), Albanian Microfinance Association (AMA), National Commercial Bank (BKT) and Unifin SLA. We were happy to work together with them during the last two years, on topics such as capacity and institutional building as well as in financial education. DSIK organized several workshops on risk management with Unifin SLA, AMA members, members of AAB and Balance Center Trainers. It was a pleasure having a very good feed-back from the involved professionals which make us proud and more committed to continue cooperation with the financial market in Albania.

The Albanian Financial Supervisory Authority (AFSA) is another important actor of the financial market in Albania and we have been cooperating with the workgroup since the early stages of the Strengthening Financial Literacy project in Albania. They have proven to be a committed team dedicated to improving financial education in Albania, especially regarding insurance and pensions schemes, and various markets under AFSA supervision. Thanks to their committed team we managed to get far on drafting the AFSA part of the National Strategy for Financial Education. Additionally, the Stock Market Learning (SML) Competition supported by AFSA, in partnership with the Albanian Securities Exchange (ALSE) and the Albanian Brokers Association (ASTA) jointly put another stone in the ever-growing wall of Financial Education in Albania. We included 13 universities and 120 students in the competition who competed among each other and against other students worldwide. After four intensive months of the competition, we concluded with a celebration of the winning team and the agreement that this year we again work together to help more students improve their knowledge of the financial market through the 2022 Stock Market Learning Competition.

The cherry on top of the great start to our operations in North Macedonia, was the results of DSIK’s North Macedonia fact-finding mission, which was carried out by DSIK experts, Irina Hetsch, Imer Dalipi and Biljana Mojsovska at the end of 2021. The objective of the mission was to assess the opportunities and challenges of establishing a financial literacy and financial inclusion project in the Republic of North Macedonia, which included mapping relevant stakeholders and interviewing them in order to identify the existing challenges and needs related to financial literacy, financial education and financial inclusion. Through their research they established sustainable relationship with many key actors in North Macedonia, including the Central Bank of North Macedonia, the Banking Association, Insurance Supervisory Authority (ISA), CEFE North Macedonia. They also providing the Virtual Classroom Training (VCT) Training of Trainers for DSIK’s Savings Game. These findings have made up hopeful of continued collaborations and work in North Macedonia in future.

We have had a productive and exciting first two years of the project, with many accomplishments and many more to come! All of this was possible due to efforts and commitment from local staff, international experts, and partner organizations, so we would like to extend a big thank you to all of them! On behalf of the DSIK Albania team, we are looking forward to new goals and objectives to be achieved together in the years to come!

Faleminderit te gjitheve Ju qe me dedikim te jashtezakonshem bashkuat forcat per te vijuar ne rrugen e gjate e te veshtire te edukimit financiar. 

(Thank you to all of you, who with extraordinary dedication have joined forces to continue the long and difficult path of financial education.)


- Klion Vaso 


Deutsche Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation e.V.
Regional Office Albania

Rr. Perlat Rexhepi, Nd 19, Ap 53, 7th Floor,
Tirana 1019, Albania

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