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In this edition:



Partners Albania is pleased to announce the launch of its newly designed website www.partnersalbania.org.

Visit Partners Albania newly designed webpage page 1

-Creating an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development in Albania

The new design and features make navigation and information finding easier for visitors. Visit our new webpage where you can find the latest information and news about our programs and activities, our publications and a visual gallery featuring our work.

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-Participatory budgeting at central level page 2

-The NGO Academy page 3

Please follow us also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Twitter and Issuu.

-LEVIZ Albania project -U Impact - From Citizen Involvement to EU Policy Impact -The Albanian Crowd, an interactive platform of Albanian NGOs and social enterprises page 4

-Young Entrepreneurs of Albania page 5

-Challenges and opportunities for employment of marginalized groups by Social Enterprises -International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) “Entrepreneurship as the engine of prosperity and Stability: Strategic Innovation” -Regional Conference “Business for the Community Well-being, Social Economy for the Smart Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the South East Europe, Belgrade page 6

-Making the labor market work for young people in Albania page 7

-Winners of the Philanthropy Awards 2015 page 8

-Monitoring of Philanthropic activity in Albania page 9

Creating an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development in Albania Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development in Albania, Country report 2015 The preparation of the Monitoring Matrix Report on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development, implemented for the third consecutive year by Partners Albania, is conducted in the frame of the regional initiative of Balkan Civil Society Development Network in Western Balkan countries and Turkey. In December 2015 Partners Albania conducted a series of consultative meetings in Tirana, Shkodra, Korça and Vlora, where presented the preliminary findings of the Monitoring Matrix from interviews conducted with 102 leaders of local organizations nationwide. Representatives of CSOs, donors, universities etc. discussed the legal and practical changes that occurred in 2015, affecting or expected to affect the activities of CSOs. Concerns raised in these meetings will be reflected in the final report for Albania which will be presented in spring 2016. Its findings will be used to monitor the stages of country progress in support to civil society, in compliance with the EU Guidelines for Support to Civil Society in the Enlargement Countries for the period 2014 – 2020

-Urban Governance/Integrity Building in South East Europe Urban Partnership Program Phase II (UPP II)

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-Enhancing active public participation in political processes and local decision-making

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-Better local governance through increased transparency and accountability of municipal councils Albanian Government approves the draftlaw “On Whistleblowers Protection” page 11



The law “On the establishment and Functioning of the National Council for Civil Society” is approved On 6 November 2015 the Parliament adopted the law "On the establishment and functioning of the National Council for Civil Society" as a structure that will ensure institutional cooperation among government and civil society. This achievement was the result of the advocacy efforts of the Working Group on Enabling Environment for Civil Society under the facilitation of Partners Albania, to address the issues and recommendations raised at the conference "Social Partners-Time for Action".

Partners Albania work to create an enabling environment for civil society in Albania is supported by EU through regional project “Balkan Civil Society Acquis - Strengthening the Advocacy and Monitoring Potential, and Capacities of CSOs”, implemented by the members of BCSDN in the Western Balkan countries and Turkey, and the Olof Palme International Center in Albania through the Swedish government funds, in framework of the project “Increasing Citizen Participation in Policy Making and Implementation”.

Participatory Budgeting at Central Level As part of the pilot initiative “Participatory Budgeting at Central Level”, Partners Albania launched a call for expression of interest from civil society organizations across the country, to analyze and influence the budget of the Ministry of Education and Sports and Ministry of Social Affairs and Youth for 2016. Representatives of 22 organizations from Tirana, Shkodra, Vlora, Korça and Fieri responded to this initiative.

During October and November 2015 were held informative workshops and organized trainings on the participatory budgeting at central level and the transparency of this process, with the representatives of organizations whose activity is related to the work of the Ministry of Education and Sports and Ministry of Social Affairs and Youth. Participants in these trainings led by Prof. Dr. Arben Malaj and PA trainers, were introduced to the findings of the Open Budget Survey 2015, Albania’s position on issues of transparency in drafting of the state budget, basic principles of open participatory budgeting, the draft budgets of respective Ministries targeted by this initiative, etc.

At the end of the workshops, training sessions and the assistance from experts, a group of organizations -part of the process – undertook a concrete initiative to give their suggestions for the budget increase on some priority issues related to children, youth, environment, etc. Following the publication of the Albanian Parliament calendar on the hearing sessions related to the state budget 2016, five organizations (Milieukontact Albania, Save the Children, Eper Center, Down Syndrome Albania, and YouthAct) submitted the request for participation in the parliamentary committee meetings and on 7 December 2015 presented suggestions and proposals before the Committee on Education and Public Information Tools. This was the first time that the central budgeting process becomes the object of analysis and opinion gathering from civil society organizations on issues of interest to the groups they represent. However, Partners Albania notices that despite the interest, organizations hesitate to argue with decision-makers at these levels. This pilot initiative is being implemented by Partners Albania in cooperation and with the support of Olof Palme International Center and the Open Society Foundation for Albania.



In the role of the Council Secretariat, Agency for the Support to Civil Society has initiated the process of selection of civil society organizations representatives in this structure.

Graduation of the NGO Academy 2015 participants NGO Academy 2016 soon to be launched In 2015 Partners Albania presented for the first time The NGO Academy, a program for enhancement of capacities and professional development of NGO executives, to build effective organizations serving the public and interest groups. From March to November, a group of 17 NGO leaders participated in the 12 sessions of the NGO Academy 2015 program and a study visit in Slovakia. Through contemporary learning techniques and multidimensional experience exchange, NGO Academy offered to the participants cooperation, networking and partnership opportunities with similar organizations in country and abroad. During September- December the program continued with sessions on Strategic Communication for NGOs, Coalition building and networking, Advocacy and lobbying, and Strategic Planning.

On November 9-14, 2015, participants and lecturers of the NGO Academy participated in a study visit in Slovakia, where they were introduced to the work of organizations and citizen action groups in Bratislava, Banska Bistrica, Zvolen and Nitra. Meetings with representatives of NGOs, the National Council of Slovak NGOs, visits to community and artistic centers administered by NGOs in these cities, introduction to the system of "2% tax designation" which provide financial support to NGOs in this country etc. were valuable experiences for each of the participants who highly appreciated this study visit.

On December 15 was organized the graduation ceremony of the first group of the NGO Academy. Partners will launch in February the Call for participation in the NGO Academy 2016. NGO Academy 2015 was financially supported by Olof Palme International Center and SlovakAid - Official Development Assistance of the Slovak Republic.



The sessions were led by Partners Albania lecturers and international lecturers Zora Kalka Pauliniová and Peter Guštafík from Partners Slovakia.



"LëvizAlbania" is a project that aims to have a catalyst effect on local democracy in Albania. It is implemented by a consortium of three organizations: OSFA, Partners Albania and Co-Plan, and financially supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Albania. LëvizAlbania definition for "local democracy" is inclusive decision-making and oversight of local government leading to far greater transparency, accountability and improved public services. LëvizAlbania supports local democracy in the country through the cultivation of a community-based local civil society, which affects and stimulates demand for good governance. LëvizAlbania organized several information sessions with NGOs, individuals and other stakeholders in Tirana, Korça, Shkodra and Vlora, to provide information on the direction of the call, the selection mechanism and relevant documentation. After the collection of the project ideas until the final selection, the process will continue in two other stages: Selection of the most qualitative concept ideas and their presentation by the applicants in the Competition of Ideas. These competitions will be held in public locations in three main regions of the country, and a Board of experts will select the ideas that will qualify for the third stage. Selection of the best projects will be the final phase where the selected applicants in the second phase will develop the complete project-proposal, which would then be examined by the same Board that will take the final decision.

U IMPACT - From Citizen Involvement to EU Policy Impact Partners Albania is one of the nine partner organizations implementing the “U Impact – From Citizen Involvement to EU Policy Impact” project, in frame of Europe for Citizens program of the European Union. The project coordinates citizen involvement with the public authorities on national and European level in eight EU member states and one candidate state (Albania) in order to develop a sustainable mechanism for increased impact of citizen initiatives on the policy making process in the EU. U-Impact continued during these months with organization of the debates in Bucharest, Romania and Nicosia, Cyprus focused on the involvement of citizens in the European decision-making and rights of European citizens around the world. In response to the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe, the partner organizations of the U-Impact drafted a common statement to the attention of European parliamentarians and decision makers in their respective countries, on the need for concrete action and a more active approach in facing this situation, in respect to universal human rights and solidarity as the foundation of the existence of the European Union. For information and updates on U-IMPACT please visit: http://u-impact.net/

The Albanian Crowd


The Albanian Crowd is an interactive online platform of the Albanian NGOs and social enterprises. The platform provides comprehensive information on the location, scope of work, areas of activity, beneficiaries, services the organizations and social enterprises offer and projects they are currently working on. We encourage all organizations that are already part of the platform to send us frequent updates, news about their work or requests for volunteers and supporters for their programs and initiatives. All Albanian organizations and interested groups can join the platform by completing the online registration form in the following link: http://www.thealbaniancrowd.org/aplikimi/



In November 2015, LëvizAlbania - Local Democracy in Action announced the first Call for Applications addressed to non-profit organizations and active individuals in their communities, to participate in the Competition of Ideas with focus on: Institutionalization of the citizens active participation in decision -making, enhancement and continuous provision of public information to citizens, monitoring of the implementation of the law on access to information from municipal or central government institutions operating locally, monitoring of the performance and services of local institutions, strengthening media to enhance local democracy, the establishment and improvement of electronic information platforms etc.

Young Entrepreneurs of Albania In framework of its work to promote youth entrepreneurship and the development of their entrepreneurial skills, Partners Albania in cooperation with the Public Affairs Office of the United States Embassy in Tirana and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Youth organized two Business camps with students of vocational schools “Gjergj Canco" in Tirana and "Arben Broci" in Shkodra. Under the facilitation and guidance of Partners Albania trainers, 80 students learned how to prepare a business plan, how to present their idea to potential investors and create a competitive enterprise in the market. The final product of business camps were 11 business ideas focused mainly in the field of technology, which are a very good potential for successful enterprises in the Albanian market.


A valuable contribution to the implementation of the camps also was given by Arthur, Gabrielle, Peter, and Logan, students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the US, who helped the Albanian students in the design and presentation of their business ideas.

The project “Young Entrepreneurs of Albania” is implemented by Partners Albania with the support of the Public Affairs Office of the United States Embassy in Tirana and in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth.


Challenges and Opportunities for Employment of Marginalized Groups by Social Enterprises As member of the research team of the regional initiative on social enterprises as a driver for employment of marginalized groups in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia, Ariola Agolli, PA Director of Programs attended the workshop "Developing Effective Strategies & Communication Tools for Policy Advocacy" organized on October 1-3, 2015 in Montenegro. The workshop that brought together 20 participants from 11 RRPP funded projects helped build strategic capacity of participants to design a targeted and policy relevant advocacy campaign in order to achieve their desired policy objectives, and prepare a policy brief as a communication tool for endorsing advocacy activities. Meanwhile, the research project continues in the three partner countries with the finalization of country reports expected to be published in spring of this year. For more information on these reports and other project updates visit the website: http://socialenterprisesbalkans.org/ The research project is implemented by partner organizations in Albania (Partners Albania), in Macedonia (Reactor - Research in Action, Konekt and Center for Media Activities), and in Kosovo (Center for Peace and Tolerance). The initiative is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in cooperation with Universite de Fribourg.

Klotilda Tavani Kosta, PA Director of Programs, participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) “Entrepreneurship as the engine of prosperity and Stability: Strategic Innovation”, organized from November 2 – 20, 2015, by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. During the program, Ms. Kosta participated in a series of meetings with entrepreneurs, university professors and representatives of organizations that helped understand the way US society fosters innovation and creativity in the private sector, specifically how entrepreneurs gain a space in the marketplace, how academic and scientific research is converted to the commercial sector, and how capital, business development services, and market access are linked to enable entrepreneurs to build high growth and high impact ventures. Field visits in several entrepreneurial hubs for startups like 1871 in Chicago, Greentown labs and MasChellenge in Boston, HardTech Labs and EvoNexus & The Vine in San Diego served to understand how the ecosystem creates opportunities for funding and managing accelerators to strengthen entrepreneurs’ opportunities for success. Launched in 1940, the IVLP seeks to build mutual understanding between the United States and other nations through carefully designed professional visits to the United States for current and emerging foreign leaders. Each year over 4,500 IVLP participants from all over the world are selected by U.S. embassies to travel to the United States to meet and confer with their professional counterparts.

Business for the Community Well-being, Social Economy for the Smart Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the South East Europe, December 8th, 2015 - Belgrade As a key speaker and facilitator of one of the conference workshops, Ariola Agolli, Director of Programs represented Partners Albania in this regional conference attended by around 100 regional and international experts, researchers and entrepreneurs from Belgium, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Kosovo. In this public debate involving all the important stakeholders, were shared findings and recommendations of The Strategic Study on Social Economy Development in the Context of the South East Europe 2020 Strategy, developed by the European Movement in Serbia and SeConS -Development Initiative Group in 2014 and updated in 2015. Participants compared experiences from their own countries and discussed on an action plan for the implementation of the Strategy and establishment of an ongoing dialogue and exchange of experiences among relevant stakeholders. The event was organized by the European Movement in Serbia with the support of Regional Cooperation Council, and Impact Hub Belgrade, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Erste Bank, the Serbian Government. More on this event is available at: http://www.emins.org/english/events/event/regional-conference-businessthe-community-well-being



Entrepreneurship as the Engine of Prosperity and Stability: Strategic Innovation


Making the labor market work for young people in Albania Towards the formalization of agriculture As part of its contribution to support a better business climate, Risi supported the dialogue in the Forum "Towards the formalization of the agricultural sector for more Growth, Investment and Employment", organized on 2 December 2015, bringing together experts, policy and decision makers, agribusinesses and service providers to discuss the delicate issue of formalization and support for the development of the agricultural sector in Albania. Forum came up with the initiative to follow the establishment of the National Farm Register and supplying Albanian farmers with electronic cards; meanwhile, the participants agreed that business community represented by the associations will consult the ideas more closely with the Government in order to take concrete steps forward.

Risi is working with Avasant Foundation in building the capacities of the newly formed Albania Outsourcing Association (www.outsourcing.com.al) to further consolidate itself and develop new services to members. Since November, three more free online courses are available in ALMOOC.com bringing to ten the total number of free online courses launched with RisiAlbania’s support. Altogether the number of free online courses made available in ALMOOC.com from the Real Visualz foundation has reached 25, with almost 5700 users only from Albania. Around 800 Albanians out of which 61% women, have completed courses in ALMOOC.com.

Labour Market Information on Mainstream media Three national mainstream media with Risi’s continuous support are actively disseminating Labour Market Information to young job seekers and their parents, thereby improving their education, job and career chances. Top Channel is producing and televising the second season of “Ti Mundesh” (You Can do it) - a program dedicated to youth employment, education and career advice - aimed at giving a voice to youth vocational education experiences. Radio Club FM is also broadcasting for a second season “Të reja punësimi” (News on employment”) - a weekly radio program providing relevant information about youth job vacancies and giving tips on how to be successful on job interviews as well as how to become a successful entrepreneur. “Drejt Punes” continues to be the most popular Albanian weekly supplement on Shqiptarja.com newspaper, addressing labour market issues not just on its weekly printed version, but also on the website and Facebook pages of Shqiptarja.com.

Standards for Tourist Guides - “Made in Albania” "Standardization of Tourist Guides for a Sustainable Development of Tourism in Albania" was the theme of a conference organized on December 11, 2015 by the National Albanian Tourist Guides Association, the Ministry of Economy, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, with RisiAlbania’s support. The conference which brought together important stakeholders in the tourism industry in country, highlighted the relevance of qualifications and professionalism on the tourist guiding profession, as well as the need for compatibility between the qualifications of guides and the requirements of tourists. METTE representatives reassured that the bylaws and regulations for tourist guides - in the context of the new Albanian law on tourism - currently are under preparation and will be approved within the first 3 months of 2016. The conference took place days after the first pilot training “Hands on Tourist Guiding” organized in December 3-9, 2015 by the World Federation Tourist Guide Associations and NATGA, with RisiAlbania’s support. In this activity were trained 18 Albanian guides. RisiAlbania project is implemented by a consortium of Helvetas Swiss Inter-cooperation and Partners Albania, and funded by the Embassy of Switzerland in Albania.



Advancing the ICT sector

Philanthropy Awards 2015 Partners Albania organized on December 4, in the premises of Rogner Hotel in Tirana, the Philanthropy Awards 2015 ceremony. Philanthropy Award is a nationwide award, to express gratitude and appreciation to individuals and businesses that contribute to improving the quality of life in the country. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the business sector, media, local and international organizations, and local and central government in the country.


The Award for Contribution at National Level was granted to Alpha Bank Albania, with motivation: For the continuous support in the field of health, education, environment, art and culture and especially for the contribution given to initiatives against breast cancer, provision of equipment for diagnosing potential problems of infants at the maternity hospital "Queen Geraldine”, and the reconstruction of the kindergarten "Zërat e Jetës" in Kamza. The award was presented by Mr. Gent Sejko, Governor of the Bank of Albania.

The Award for Contribution at Local Level was granted to Kassel Ltd, with motivation: For the contribution in support of the education and welfare of children though improvement of the infrastructure and renewal of kindergarten "Lulet e Jetës" in Tirana. The award was presented by Mr. Aldrin Dalipi, Chairman of the Municipal Council of Tirana.

The Award for Individual Contribution was granted to Mr.Ismail Keta and Mr.Gjetan Keta, with motivation: For contribution to the promotion and development of sport and social life of Bulqiza community through the establishment of the first sportive complex in this town, and generous support to the people in need. The award was presented by Ms.Yesim M. Oruc, UNDP Resident Representative a.i.

Special Award “Pioneer of Philanthropy” was granted to Mr. Zyber Hallulli (posthumously) with motivation: For outstanding contribution in support of individuals and families in need in Tirana, development of education and the establishment of the first orphanage in Albania "Streha Vorfnore”, during 1914 – 1927. The award was presented by Mr. Sadi Vorpsi, Prefect of Tirana.

Certificate of Appreciation was granted to Ms. Zoje Jakaj, with motivation: For the continuous contribution given to individuals and families in need, especially for the support to education and integration of children with special needs. The award was presented by Ms. Ornela Bego, Manager of Corporate Affairs at Telekom Albania.


Monitoring of the Philanthopic Activity in Albania Partners Albania is conducting the monitoring of philanthropic activity through media monitoring, including also the social media and information resources from the public and non-public institutions. The monitoring process is conducted on everyday bases and the findings present the supported causes, nature and values of the donation, geographic coverage and also the donor’s nature. They are presented as monthly short summary reports that aim to help on the meaning and identification of this activity.

Facts on Philanthropic Activity

October - November - December 2015


During October - December 2015 the reported value of the donation at country level is 12,106,81ALL as presented in the chart on the right.

Geographic coverage

Visit the link in our website for the monitoring data from the previous months: www.partnersalbania.org/programs/monitoring-of-philanthropic-activity-in-albania-en/


Urban Governance/Integrity Building in South East Europe Urban Partnership Program Phase II (UPP II) Partners Albania is part of a regional consortium of organizations from Albania, Serbia, Macedonia and Croatia, implementing the“Urban Governance/Integrity Building in South East Europe Urban Partnership Program Phase II (UPP II). On November 4, 2015 it was organized in Tirana, the “Country Dialogue Albania-Strengthening local government capacity in South East Europe”. The event organized by the World Bank in cooperation with Co-PLAN Institute for Habitat Development, and Partners Albania, the implementing partners of Urban Partnership Program, marked the starting point of the second phase of UPP II. The country dialogue featured a series of presentations and discussions on the development of local government in Albania in the context of the new territorial and administrative reform, decentralization and other relevant issues, and paved the road for future cooperation among all stakeholders while facing the challenges of local governance in Albania.

With the reaffirmation of institutional and personal will of the mayor of Kuçova, PA anticorruption practitioners started the work with Guiding Coalition to revise the Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan 2013 – 2015. The revision identified some of the actions already completed and some priority actions to be taken which are relevant to the new dimensions of the municipality within the territorial and administrative reform. The analysis identified the municipal staff training and technical assistance needs for implementation of the action plan. On this regard, a training program on Project proposal writing and project management was provided for the Guiding Coalition members on 17-18 December 2015. PA issued a Call for Expression of Interest by municipalities willing to join UPP II program and implement anti-corruption methodology. Ten municipalities expressed their interest, out of which two will be selected. Three new members were added to the PA Anticorruption Practitioners team, who will be involved in working with the newly selected municipalities as part of the UPP II. They participated in the Training of Trainers for Anticorruption Practitioners in Eastern European countries, organized on October 21 - 26, 2015 in Belgrade and provided by Ana Vasilache - one of the creators of the anti-corruption methodology.

Enhancing active public participation in political processes and local decision-making In framework of the initiative on enhancing active citizen participation in political processes and local decision-making, partner organizations and citizen groups operating in Lezha, Durrësi, Puka, Vlora, Kavaja, Pogradeci and Elbasani, under the facilitation of PA, continued the presentation of effective mechanisms on citizen participation in local decision-making. Following the electoral promises of the candidates -now elected mayors, PA drafted an internal procedure for participatory budgeting in these municipalities. After meetings with deputy mayors to discuss the importance of such document and how it will help the local budgeting process, the internal procedure is now a document adopted in municipalities of Vlora, Puka and Kavaja, expected to be adopted in the upcoming days in the other municipalities as well. The initiative is implemented by Partners Albania with the support of Olof Palme International Center and the Embassy of the United States of America in Tirana.



Partners Albania facilitated the discussion on the fight against corruption as a continuous challenge of local government, and presented the experience in the implementation of anti-corruption methodology in three Albanian municipalities during the first phase of the program.

Better local governance through increased transparency and accountability of municipal councils As part of its work towards increasing transparency and accountability at local level, good governance and fight against corruption, since October 2015 Partners Albania is implementing a one-year pilot initiative to monitor the work of municipal councils in Lezha and Kucova. The initiative aims information of citizens, civil society organizations, interest groups and public in general on the local decision-making in these two municipalities. Partners Albania is currently working to build an online platform through which interested citizens and interest groups will be able to watch the municipal council meetings, be informed on draft decisions proposed to the council by the municipal staff, discussions of the councilors, approved decisions and the status of their implementation.

Albanian Government approves the draftlaw “On Whistleblowers Protection” In December 2015, the draft law ‘On Whistleblowers protection’ was officially approved by the Albanian government. The law aims to prevent and fight corruption in the public and private sector, the protection of individuals that denounce suspected actions or corruptive practices in their work place, and the encouragement of the denunciation of suspected acts or corruptive practices.


The law sets rules for reporting a suspected act or corruptive practice by whistleblowers in the public and private sector, the mechanisms for the protection of whistleblowers and the obligations of public authorities and private entities related to whistleblowing. The law is expected to be discussed in Parliament in January-February 2016. Following the approval of the law, in cooperation and with the support of the Dutch Government, Partners Albania will initiate a public information campaign and will support drafting of the regulatory framework for the law implementation and strengthening of the capacity of institutions responsible for its implementation.

Partners Albania is an Albanian organization with a mission to advance the Albanian society and a culture of change and conflict management. Partners Albania is a member of Partners Global, a network of 19 independent organizations in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Middle East, working for peaceful and democratic change.

Address: Rruga Sulejman Delvina, N.18, H.8, Ap. 12, Njësia Bashkiake 5, Kodi Postar 1022, Tiranë, Shqipëri, Kutia Postare 2418/1, Tel/Fax: +355 4 2254881 Email: partners@partnersalbania.org Http://www.partnersalbania.org Follow us in


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Partners Albania Newsletter, edition 58, December 2015


Partners Albania Newsletter, edition 58, December 2015