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Saudi Arabia to boost welfare services

Ministry of Social Affairs ties up with World Bank on providing government assistance to the needy.

March 29, 2010 11:07 by

The Kingdom will seek technical support from the World Bank in the implementation of its social security program.

Inaugurating a national workshop on the Kingdom’s social protection and social safety program in Riyadh on Sunday, Minister of Social Affairs Yusuf Al-Othaimeen said Saudi Arabia is keen to develop a comprehensive welfare program by harnessing the know-how of foreign experts.

Speaking on behalf of the minister, Abdulaziz Al-Hadlaq, deputy minister of social affairs for social development, said the ministry will involve other government departments such as the Ministry of Education and non-governmental organizations to provide deserving members of the public with improved welfare facilities and services.

Al-Hadlaq said the ministry would conduct a similar workshop in coordination with the World Bank to educate officials on how they should treat distressed people and provide them with government assistance.

The Ministry of Social Affairs will also set up social protection and social safety departments in Taif, Dammam, Abha and Riyadh for orphans, widows, elderly people and the disabled.

“We are also cooperating with the Arab Institute for City Development to organize a special program that would benefit this section of society,” said Al-Hadlaq.

Plans are also under way, he said, to sign a memorandum of understanding with the National Family Welfare Society to train social workers to effectively engage themselves in welfare activities. The ministry will also liaise with the King Abdul Aziz National Dialogue Center to streamline some of its welfare activities. “We have chalked out a national strategy to combat domestic violence,” said Al-Hadlaq.

Speaking on the occasion, the World Bank’s Bassam Ramadan defined areas of cooperation with the Kingdom that include technical support in social safety, labor market interaction and social security.

“Our role is to help the officials of the Ministry of Social Affairs to enable themselves to find a mechanism to help the less fortunate,” Ramadan said. He explained that in social security, the government provides cash assistance to families headed by women and orphans who do not have permanent means of livelihood.

Ramadan said the state must try to upgrade the skills of its youths to enable them to find suitable employment and encourage children to receive education so they can be employed on completion of their studies. Security is the third mechanism, he said, whereby elders should feel secure in the latter part of their lives. “This could be only achieved with a regular income for their daily upkeep,” he said.

Arab News


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