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Summer | 5 out 9-year obligatory education schools in Tirana. On this occasion, a thematic exhibition of art works made by sixth-grade students, beneficiary of this program was held at the National Gallery of Arts. Part of these activities was also the donation of a vehicle by the US Embassy in Tirana to the Albanian State Police. This vehicle will be used in awareness raising campaigns throughout schools. In his remarks, the Deputy Minister of Interior, Mr. Peka, appreciated the implementation of this type of program in our country and considered it a direct display of the community policing philosophy as well as a very positive instrument in the protection of children, the family and our society from negative phenomena such as alcohol consumption, smoking, drug abuse, etc. The US Ambassador Arvizu put a special emphasis on the importance of this program in raising the awareness of youth and in teaching them to say no to drugs, alcohol and smoking. He expressed his conviction that the successful experience witnessed in 40 schools around Tirana will expand throughout the country. Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Shamata considered the program an example of the cooperation between schools and police in the preparation of children to say no to drugs and the negative phenomena.

 World Bank Supports Modernization of Social Assistance in Albania

Loan Agreement for Social Assistance Modernization Project Signed Today On 6 June 2012 the Government of Albania and the World Bank signed the agreement for the loan of Social Assistance Modernization Project, totalling 38 million Euro.  The agreement was signed by Minister of Finance Ridvan Bode, and the World Bank Country Manager Kseniya Lvovsky.    The objective of Social Assistance Modernization Project for Albania is to support the Government’s reform agenda to improve the equity, efficiency, and transparency of social assistance programs.  It will focus mainly on the poverty-targeted Ndihma Ekonomike (NE) program and the disability assistance. The project aims at improved equity by improving targeting,

   Photo: Minister of Finance Ridvan Bode, and the World Bank by Country Manager Kseniya Lvovsky signing the agreement for the loan of Social Assistance Modernization Project on 6 June 2012 

eligibility and coverage for both Ndihma Ekonomike and Disability Assistance Programs to ensure that resources are channeled to the most needy people. The current system of social assistance needs to be modernized and automated in order to improve the efficiency of both programs. This would help the current benefits administration to strengthen detection and remedying of fraud and errors and would allow the Government to make timely and informed policy changes. The project activities consist of two interrelated components:  (i)Strengthening the Implementation and Performance of Social Assistance Programs; and (ii)Technical Assistance to Strengthen Implementation Capacity for Social Assistance Programs. It would also support improvements in transparency which cuts across the key reform areas through proactive communications, modernized information systems, and increased clarity on “rules, roles and controls.”“The Social Assistance Modernization Project would contribute to the reduction of poverty and vulnerability through more effective social assistance services and to

help Albania mitigate the impacts of the continued eurozone crisis” said  Kseniya Lvovsky, Country Manager for the World Bank Office in Albania.  The project support would be provided according to a results-based financing approach which implies the partnership and engagement between the World Bank and the Government of Albania for co-financing of major social assistance program and disbursing against measured improvements in implementation.

 Signature of Memorandum of Understanding for equipment of polyclinics of Tirana, Korça, Gjirokaster and Peshkopia On 12 June 2012, the Health Minister of Albania, Petrit Vasili, the Ambassador of Italy in Albania, Massimo Gaiani, and the Italian Regional Authority of Molise, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the equipment of 2 polyclinics in Tiranë and 3 others in Korçë, Gjirokaster and Peshkopi with medical devices. The

    Photo: Health Minister of Albania, Petrit Vasili, and the Ambassador of Italy, Massimo Gaiani signing a Memorandum of Understanding on 12 June 2012

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