Milieukontakt – serving to sustainable societies
Milieukontakt Albania, with more than 18 years of experience working with civil society on environment, nature and sustainable development as well as with authorities dealing with these issues in Albania is working to implement a project improving farm conditions in Shëngjergji’s area. This project will be supported by Global Environment Facility-Small Grand Project (GEF-SGP). Shengjergji is located east of Tirana about 40 km away. The area has rich cultural tradition in crafts, folklore, legends, music and dance, traditional food and rites, still retained even today. The territory contains 12 scattered villages, a few of which are named after Christian Saints, an indication of the early Roman settlements (Shengjin Castle, St. George’s Castle, Cave of Val, Sacred Place and Old Tomb, and Mount of Grope). The area is rich with natural water sources, and the Shënmëri spring is one of the main sources of drinking water suppling the city of Tirana.
Shëngjergji’s farms as eco-tourist destinations
The current situation in Shëngjergj shephard shelter stands in poor condition, with minimal hygiene conditions, some areas without electricity. In the area there are 4 small dairy farms for the market and 14 batches of livestock which apart from the farms pass a good part of the time in the alpine pastures.
The project aims to improve the infrastructure and sanitary conditions of old shepherd shelters with suitable facilities for camping, food, bathrooms and showers. It is also intended to create facilities for the processing of dairy under traditional conditions according to the experience of the area. Constructions will be made with local construction materials by involving young engineers and creating pilot intervention models through youth summer academia. Basically, improving living conditions in Shëngjergj shepherd shelter will be a possibility of gradually switching to “guest house” and at the same time improve economic conditions of the locals as well as promoting sustainable tourism.
The project will identify and promote the natural resources of the Shëngjergj area and will produce a professional touristic outdoor map of Shëngjergj to be integrated in the tourist map of the Municipality of Tirana rural and cultural tourism. Tourist value is the combination of picturesque natural landscape with elements of traditional and cultural heritage. The touristic product will be seen as a possibility of cooperation with other villages within the Administrative Unit. Shëngjergj will be promoted to be integrated into the major national tour packages.
Throughout the project we will be able to identify farmers whom will provide local bio agricultural and livestock products (without use of chemicals) to serve to tourists and to protect biodiversity, especially in the case of protected areas.
Nertil Lugji Milieukontakt, Albania