Volunteers clean up the historical city of Berat in Albania
by Fabienne Copin
Berat, Albania: On World Environment Day, thirty volunteers conducted clean-up activities in Berat in south-central Albania with a view to promote a clean environment in order to benefit the cultural heritage sites, make them sustainable and improve the well-being of people living in Berat, one of the oldest historical cities of the country.
The clean-up activity was led by UN Volunteers and volunteers from the Albanian Youth Parliament in coordination with UN agencies under the One United Nations Programme, which includes, among others agencies, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The purpose of the Cleaning Day was to raise awareness of environmental issues and to call upon citizens to get involved in caring for the well-being of the Berat community.
The volunteers have removed garbage from the street and on the main public square to inspire passers-by to take action. At the launch ceremony organized with the support of the municipality of Berat, and covered by local newspapers and television, the volunteers gave tree plants to citizens in attendance encouraging them to plant trees and keep the sidewalks, streets and rivers clean.
“With the clean-up activities of the young volunteers of Berat Youth Parliament, we hope to see people making efforts to keep the city clean for the well-being of everyone,” said the UNV Programme Officer in Albania, in her speech during the launch ceremony.
“Even if you do not engage in the activity, in seeing the volunteers cleaning, you start asking yourself what they did and what that means; it encourages a lot of thoughts, which is a good start for success,” said UN Volunteer Intern Christina Hooson. A Swiss national, Christina supports UNDP activities in Albania under the UNV Internship programme for young graduates.
Thanks to volunteers of the Youth Parliament the clean-up activity will last ten days.
The crucial role of young volunteers in preserving the cultural heritage of the city was confirmed by Mirela Buhuri, the Environmental Specialist of Berat municipality. “It’s important that youth protect their city. This kind of activity helps to engage them to become active citizens by changing their mentality so that they consider that their city is their home, and that they have a role to play in taking care of it.”
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