In June 2012, the Martin and Mirash Ivanaj Foundation, in partnership with the University of Florida, conducted a 3-day Geographic Information Systems (GIS) workshop for a group of students at the Dëshmorët e Lirisë Middle School in Tirana, Albania.

Students used GIS to learn about topics such as endangered species in the country and the effects of improper waste management on the environment.  Their final project was the creation of Tirana’s very first “green map” which was then delivered to the Mayor of Tirana.

A ceremony was held on the last day of the week where students were awarded their certificates and handed in their workshop evaluations.  Through our conversations with students, parents and teachers, we were happy to receive many “thanks” and encouragements to make this project available to students in other schools.  Parents expressed their desire to have more projects that educate and provide specialized training to their children, while students expressed their desire to take part in future projects undertaken by our Foundation.  The student workshop evaluations mirrored what was said during the ceremony with 100% of the students stating that they enjoyed and learned many new and useful things from the workshop.

Main Achievements:  The workshop helped to raise awareness about environmental issues, enabled students as young as 13 to use GIS software and provided them with the tool-set, knowledge and motivation to initiate environmental change in their own communities and schools.