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Located in southeast Europe, the small country of Albania is bordered by Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, and the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Mountains fill Albania’s eastern region and coastal plains cover the western region, which is home to most of the population.

  • Population: 3,020,209
  • Life Expectancy: 77 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 95%
  • School Enrollment: 80%
  • Land Mass: 11,099 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 97%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 17/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 4,090

Facts about Albania

Despite the economy’s recent growth, Albania still remains one of the poorest countries in Europe.

About 14.5 percent of Albanians are unemployed, an increase of 2 percent since 2013.

Though school infrastructures have been improving, many are still in very poor condition, with shortages of heating, lighting, and other facilities.

Gender inequality is a big issue in Albania, especially in areas of poverty, health, and social services. There is a low level of female participation in political and decision-making, and many women are unemployed. Those who do work earn less than half as much as their male coworkers.

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Progress in Albania

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2013.

  • Conducted awareness sessions with moms and dads, promoting positive parenting practices and encouraging them on the importance of education and ways to provide proper nutrition for their children.

  • Partnered with teachers, healthcare workers, and local authorities to educate the community on child protection and child rights.

  • Established student governments, giving youth a voice in school decisions and equipping them to help make their schools more child-friendly.

  • Trained educators on innovative teaching methods and how to help children with learning disabilities succeed in school.

  • Coached parents, teachers, and school authorities, to be more inclusive of vulnerable children and those with special needs.

  • Trained community members on ways to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene in their neighborhoods, and educated children on proper handwashing practices, to help prevent illness.

  • Increased economic opportunities by supporting local farmers with training and equipment, helped youth receive vocational training, and enabled vulnerable families to start income-generating activities.

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    World Vision in Albania Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Albania to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 11,600 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Albania. Highlights include:

    • Meeting the psychosocial and economic needs of children living and working on the streets through literacy programs, vocational training for parents, and increasing resources for children and their parents.
    • Improving health in communities throughout Albania by dealing with challenges related to maternal and child health, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene, and health systems.
    • Helping families increase their incomes through small loans and business skills training.

    World Vision History in Albania

    World Vision began working in Albania in 1999, providing relief operations in response to the Kosovo refugee crisis. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Providing tools, clothes, plants, and other necessities to families struggling with poverty.
    • Assisting struggling families with a credit program to help them increase their income, improve their nutrition, and provide parents with resources to better care for their children.
    • Building school facilities where children can gain an education in a safe and stable environment.
    • Raising HIV and AIDS awareness among young people and giving them a forum where they can discuss related issues freely.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Located in southeast Europe, the small country of Albania is bordered by Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, and the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Mountains fill Albania’s eastern region and coastal plains cover the western region, which is home to most of the population. The Strait of Otranto separates Albania from Italy by 45 miles.

    Natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, coal, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, and hydropower.

    The Albanian ethnic group makes up most of the population; Greeks, Roma, Vlachs, Serbians, and Bulgarians make up the remainder. Albanian, derived from the Tosk dialect, is the official language, but the people also speak Greek.

    Most people work in agriculture, growing products such as wheat, corn, potatoes, sugar beets, and grapes. Albania’s other industries include food processing, textiles, lumber, oil, mining, chemicals, cement, and hydropower.

    Albanians cherish close family ties, as well as their ethnic heritage. Ethnic Albanians call themselves Shqipetars, which means “sons of the eagle.”


    Spending centuries under Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman control, Albania did not declare independence until 1912. Albania’s independence only lasted a couple of decades. Italy invaded the country in 1939, and communist supporters seized control in 1944.

    After more than 40 years of communist rule, Albania held multiparty elections in 1991. In the late 1990s, fighting between Serbians and independence-seeking ethnic Albanians in neighboring Kosovo forced 44,000 refugees into Albania, compounding the economic challenges that residents already faced.

    Despite Albania’s transition to a democratic government, elections did not gain stability until recent years. Albania jointed NATO in 2009.

    Prayer Requests for Albania

    • For improved water and sanitation services for rural villages, so children and families would have better health.
    • That girls would be valued and protected and have equal opportunities for education.
    • That vulnerable children, including those with disabilities, would have access to quality education.
    • For stability and peace to prevail in Albania’s politics.