The Albania Macedonia peoples’ Empowerment Programme, AMPEP, was established in 2001 to support villages in Albania and Macedonia in taking care of and managing their own lives. It started in rural villages in the Macedonian municipalities Dolneni, Resen and Sopotnica and in the Albanian communes Liqenas, Pojan and Vithkuq, AMPEP staff worked together with villages people and municipality authorities to improve living conditions. The main focus was on how the local communities could organise themselves and structure claims and demands on their immediate authorities.
As in so may countries, people in these villages had been waiting for others, like foreign investors, international organisations and the government, to bring about change. Apathy and distrust was widespread in both countries. AMPEP’s approach managed to switch attention from money seeking to solution finding by encouraging inhabitants to understand what they can do on their own without outside help. By cooperating with the inhabitants and local organisations in mobilising people, and setting up and structuring organizations, AMPEP assisted these villages in laying the foundations in Albania and Macedonia upon which all other democracies rest: people participation.
AMPEP continued until end of 2007 and covered in total 12 municipalities and 255 villages.