Primary school in Shijak with new sports field

Press release, 26.03.2019

Regional development programme co-funded by Switzerland and Austria cooperates with the Municipality of Shijak   

Students at primary school in Shijak, Albania, during the inauguration of the new sports field.
Students at primary school in Shijak, Albania, during the inauguration of the new sports field. © FDFA

A brand new multifunctional sport field and recreational spaces were inaugurated today at the Xhafzotaj primary school, Shijak. The event was organized by the Municipality of Shijak with participation by the Swiss Ambassador to Albania Mr. Adrian Maître, teachers, students and local community.

Financed by the Swiss and Austrian Governments, the new facilities include a fully equipped multifunctional sport field adequate for mini-football, volleyball and basketball, complete with recreational surroundings. Both teachers and students of this school have now the educational infrastructure for a variety of outdoor sport activities and for enhancing social inclusion. The grant contributes also to strengthening capabilities of regional and local government structures in managing development projects. In its next phase – starting soon - the Regional Development Programme will help Albania implement more projects. This will in turn be helpful to implement  future donor funding, including possible EU pre-accession funds.

The Mayor of Shijak, Mr. Adrian Kokomani emphasized in his word that “What we have done here will serve not only you, the current students of this school, but also future generations of students. We worked on this and persevered, but the biggest thanks go to the donors: the governments of Switzerland and Austria. This is our duty and we demand this from ourselves and from our staff. But you also need to keep us under pressure so we can work for you.”

“I hope that the whole community will use of this space for various activities. In this way, people in this village can increase their sense of belonging and togetherness. Through this programme today we addressed the need of this school, while in the future we want to achieve more: support strong economic regions and help to establish an Albanian regional development programme. Urime, dhe suksese!”, said Swiss Ambassador to Albania Adrian Maître.

This investment of around 57,000 Euro came from the Swiss and Austrian governments through the Regional Development Programme. As part of a grant scheme of the Regional Development Programme Albania, it included the entire construction of about 954 m² of sport field and recreational spaces together with all related sport equipment.

The recently constructed facilities will be used by youth and students of the school, and also the wider community of this locality, through re-creational sports, cultural activities and participation.

This intervention is one of the 16 development projects implemented in the framework of the Pilot Regional Grant Scheme which aims at directly improving the socio – economic conditions of the local communities in Municipalities across Albania. All RDPA awarded projects address the key needs of local communities by tackling small-scale local investments in education, tourism, sports, culture and community infrastructure and consequently directly improving their quality of life.