During their visit on 19-25 April, Board members met with Tajikistan’s government officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister and ministers of health, education, and labour and social protection. They also met with representatives of other UN agencies in the country, international development partners and civil society organisations.
Speaking to the UNICEF Executive Board members, Ms. Ruqiya Kurbonova, Deputy Prime Minister of Tajikistan, serving also as the chair of the National Commission on Child Rights, said: “We are aware of our problems, and the situation of children and women is a priority for the government of Tajikistan. We highly appreciate UNICEF’s support in improving children’s health, education and social protection in the country.”
Saving children’s lives
While in Tajikistan, Board members visited Rasht district in eastern Tajikistan, one of the country’s poorest regions. Rasht was selected as one of the eight districts where, in the next two years, UNICEF will strongly enhance its engagement in the social sector.
In Rasht, Board members visited the local health committee and central district hospital. Over the recent years, UNICEF has supported the hospital’s maternity department through providing essential life saving equipment, micronutrient supplements for newborns and pregnant women, vaccines and cold chain equipment. This support exemplifies UNICEF’s efforts in saving children’s lives in Tajikistan.
Mobilising communities for girls’ education
While in Rasht, Executive Board members also visited local school No.28. This rural school has seen UNICEF support in keeping girls at school and returning some of the children who dropped out of school for various reasons. This has been achieved mainly through community mobilisation, outreach and provision of supplementary reading materials and resources which make the learning process more interesting for children.
“With UNICEF support, we have achieved very good results in ensuring that girls complete their school-level education,” said Khurinisso Gafforzoda, head of the NGO Oshtii Milli that helps implement UNICEF-supported girls’ education project in the school No. 28. “Most importantly, we have managed to mobilise local community, including the elders and religious leaders, to support girls to study.”
Emergency response and drinking water
After returning from Rasht, Board members also visited Shohrukh settlement in Khuroson district. This settlement in southern Tajikistan was recently built to house families displaced by two major mud flows that destroyed four villages in the spring of 2009.
Following the initial response that focused on hygiene education and prevention of water-borne diseases, UNICEF is now supporting the construction of a water supply system in the settlement. The system has already brought safe drinking water to 160 households with more than 900 children.
Summarising the results of the visit, Ambassador Andrei Dapkiunas said: “UNICEF is doing a remarkable job in supporting the government of Tajikistan to achieve Millennium Development Goals and realise child rights. We will now work to raise Tajikistan’s profile both within the United Nations and on the international arena.”
For more information, please contact:
Alexander Sodiqov, UNICEF Tajikistan Communication Officer, Tel.: +992 (44) 600 01 90, 600 01 91, 600 01 92, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org