Un in Uzbekistan
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UNICEF, United Nations Children Fund in Uzbekistan

Mr. Robert Fuderich - UNICEF Representative

UNICEF has worked in Uzbekistan since 1994, advocating for the promotion and protection of children’s rights. It also has helped the government to meet the basic needs of children, and to expand children’s opportunities to reach their full potential. Through its programme of cooperation, UNICEF works with national government at central and local level, civil society and international development partners.

Under the framework of the CRC, the goal of the 2005-2009 Country Programme of Cooperation is to support the government in meeting its obligations towards the rights of children and women to live, grow up and develop in a nurturing, caring and protective environment. The UNICEF Country Programme is also geared towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) regarding the improvement of nutrition, education, gender equality and maternal health, and the reduction of child mortality, HIV/AIDS and child poverty.

Health and nutrition
Ensuring children's survival and development - in support of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4: reducing child mortality; MDG 5: improving maternal health

Child Survival: UNICEF assists the state in improving the quality of health services for newborns and children at the hospital and primary healthcare (PHC) levels. At the hospital level, all health specialists dealing with delivery and newborn care enhance their skills in diagnosis and appropriate registration of newborns, neonatal resuscitation and essential newborn care. At the primary healthcare level, the development of a basic package of quality services for children and women has been completed. All PHC professionals are now enhancing their skills to support the delivery of this package.

Immunisation: UNICEF is working to assist the state in capacity building, in order to improve safe immunisation practices and to strengthen the cold chain system. UNICEF also supports the government with procurement of the vaccines and self-distracting syringes used for immunisations.

Nutrition: Since 2005, UNICEF has lead and implemented the communications component of the GAIN fund (through WB) for flour fortification, in order to support all 48 fortified flour production sites countrywide. It has helped raise awareness and demand for fortified flour in the country. Starting in 2006, UNICEF and the WB have supported the development of a multi-sectoral national nutrition investment programme. The action plan has brought all evidence-based interventions regarding nutrition, including the fortification of flour and salt, the conducting of supplementation programmes, and the promotion of breast-feeding, within one framework. Costing was undertaken in order to develop the programme budget for the next three years. This has been coordinated by the cabinet of ministers and the ministry of health. The programme has been finalized, and the ministry of Health will shortly submit it to the Cabinet of Ministers for endorsement.

Basic education
Providing basic education and ensuring gender equality in support of MDG 2: Educate every child; and MDG 3: Provide equal chances for girls and women.

Policy Level: The Law on Education has been revised and endorsed by the Government. The new School Charter has been developed by the government, and provisions for school education are currently being developed. The State Programme on school education development has five components, two of which are supported by UNICEF as part of the Child Friendly School initiative on curriculum development and capacity building for teachers.

Early Childhood Development: UNICEF has supported the MoPE in the development of Early Learning and School Readiness Standards. UNCIEF is currently assisting the government in the development of a new National policy for preschool education. Nearly 20% of children under-5 attend pre-school. UNICEF also supports the improvement of pre-school preparation for children, encouraging the establishment of non-traditional forms of preschool education.

Child Friendly School (CFS) initiative: This initiative has promoted interactive and child-centred teaching and learning, designed to develop the rights and life-skills of children. UNICEF is also building the professional capacities of teachers, in order deliver education using modern interactive methodologies in grades 1-9 for 10 key subjects. The project is being implemented in the five pilot regions of the RKK, including Khorezm, Ferghana, Tashkent region and Tashkent City. The project covers 725 schools, benefiting around 600,000 schoolchildren.

Inclusive education continues to be supported as part of the CFS package through the development of curriculum for children with disabilities. We work with the Ministry of Public Education to integrate 560 disabled children into 200 mainstream schools across four regions. Inclusive education has also been included in the revised version of the Law on Education.

Child protection
Protecting children against abuse, exploitation and violence in support of MDG 6: Exploited and abused children are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases.

UNICEF advocates for legislative reforms in the spheres of child rights and juvenile justice, in order to bring these into compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The law on Guarantees of the Rights of the Child has been endorsed in early 2008. Currently, the whole legislation is going to be revised in order to ensure its conformity with the CRC.

Promoting restorative justice for children: This has been achieved by providing support to a team of national experts in drafting a law on juvenile justice that is fully in line with the CRC and other international standards. The law was drafted and submitted to the parliament in 2008. Within this project, UNICEF supported the pilot of a child court. The project also involved the capacity building of judges, lawyers and prosecutors, in order to enhance their abilities in managing cases involving young offenders in accordance with international standards.

Capacity building of social workers through in-service and pre-service training: Three universities already have Social Work Departments. The first group of professional social workers graduated from these universities in 2008.

Promoting childcare reform: This work has included an emphasis on the de-institutionalization and securing of the rights of all children to live in a family environment. In two regions, Tashkent and Samarkand, child and family support services were established as pilot projects, in order to support de-institutionalization. The country’s child protection system has also been assessed and policy recommendations are being developed accordingly.

HIV/AIDS prevention and Youth
Combating HIV/AIDS and providing care and services for affected children in support of MDG 6: Fighting infectious diseases.

UNICEF is conducting a five-year ‘Unite For Children – Unite Against AIDS’ campaign, in order to raise awareness about the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on children. The campaign contains five components, all designed to achieve the initiative’s ultimate. These include the prevention of mother to child transmission, the protection of HIV & AIDS infected children, the provision of care and support of vulnerable children, the supporting of prevention programmes among young children, and the provision of paediatric treatment.

In order to achieve the objectives, UNICEF has focused on:

• Peer-to-peer education and outreach work, making contact with most-at-risk adolescents (MARA) and young people through a communication strategy that encourages behavioural change;
• Youth friendly health services (YFHS) for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. These services primarily address Most-At-Risk-Adolescents in regards to HIV prevention, care, support and treatment. The Youth Friendly Health Services Standards were adopted by the Government of Uzbekistan, based on piloting results in Ferghana region and Tashkent City, and was scaled up to one more region in 2008. The mayors of the pilot areas have adopted "Policies on HIV Prevention", which provide an enabling environment designed to bring together key gate-keepers and MARA. Meanwhile, the Health Department adopted a Decree which authorised the use of a Unique Identification Code system, designed to refer MARA to specialized services;
• The prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), a goal which can be achieved by building the capacity of health service providers in the country’s five most effected regions. The main focus of this effort has been on integrating PMTCT into perinatal systems;
• The Government has adopted a National Strategy to combat HIV/AIDS for 2007-2011. UNICEF has supported the development of an overall communication strategy, by including prevention components for young people.

Early childhood development / Family education

The family education programme aims to increase the knowledge of parents in child rearing practices, so that all children may receive adequate nutrition, access to a quality education and can grow up in safe and supportive communities. The programme also works towards empowering the community and building the capacities of local authorities to assist families in taking better care of their children.

UNICEF is working to enhance early childhood development through Uzbekistan’s traditional local community structures: the Mahallas. These communities have taken on an increasing responsibility regarding community development and social assistance, particularly in terms of pre-school services. Mahalla initiative groups have focused on the survival and protection of newborns and women, by promoting access to safe immunization services, and encouraging breastfeeding, good nutrition and better parenting skills.

Local planning capacity building

This project complements sectoral capacity building programmes by developing the capacities of local administrations and public sector managers. It aims to improve the management, planning and monitoring skills of local administrators. UNICEF currently works with the Academy of State and Social Construction, which offers postgraduate courses for different levels of the state authorities. A special course has been developed and introduced into the Academies existing training programmes, with the assistance of academic staff. The course focuses on issues including Results Based Management, Monitoring & Evaluation and the CRC. So far, the training has covered deputy governors (Khokims) and sectoral authorities in nine of the country’s regions.

Disaster risk reduction

Since 2007, the Ministry of Emergency and UNICEF have jointly implemented a disaster preparedness and risk reduction programme. The programme has been supported by the EU/DIPECHO, and aims to achieve risk reduction among vulnerable communities, especially children and women, in Uzbekistan’s disaster-prone areas.

Main partners:

• The Cabinet of Ministers;
• The Ministry of Health;
• The Ministry of Public Education;
• The Ministry of Justice;
• The Women’s committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
• The supreme court;
• The Prosecutor General Office;
• The Academy of state and social construction;
• Khokimiyat (city administration)
• The Institute of podiatry;
• The Scientific research institute of haematology and blood transfusion;
• The Scientific research institute of endocrinology; Tashkent Pediatric Medical Institute;
• The Institute of teachers training;
• The Institute of pre-school education specialists training;
• The Institute of culture;
• The Republican perinatal centre;
• The Republican centre of education;
• The Republic AIDS centre;
• The Centre of reproductive health ‘Tarikat’;
• The centre for studies on human rights and humanitarian law;
• The National association of NGOs;
• The NGO ‘Farzandim-jigarbandim’;
• The ‘You are not alone’ foundation;
• The Bar association of Tashkent City;
• The NGO ‘Salomatlik plus ecologia’;
• The NGO ‘Uzbek children fund/Young generation council;
• The ‘YangiAvlod’ children media club;
• The Mass media.

Contact information:
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
16, Sharof Rashidov Street, 100029
Phone: (998-71) 2339512, 2339735
Fax: (998-71) 1206508
Website: www.unicef.org/uzbekistan