About UNICEF Moldova
UNICEF in Moldova
WHO WE ARE
COUNTRY PROGRAMME IN BRIEF
Early Childhood Development:
The best start in life for future
The period of early childhood – from prenatal development to eight years of age – is a time of great potential and great risk. In this short space of time emotions are shaped, an understanding of the world is formed, the foundations of language are laid and the most significant proportion of brain development takes place. To ensure that all young children have the best start in life, UNICEF is promoting good parenting helping mothers and fathers to interact more with their children in a stimulating and non-violent environment. We ensure equitable access to preschool education by setting-up community centres in the neediest communities, training pre-school teachers and providing equipment and learning materials. We also support professional’s learning opportunities through mentoring an innovative approach to teaching and learning.
Getting all children in school for a quality learning
With falling school enrolment rates, deteriorating quality of education and a system heavily relying on old teaching methods, education is a top priority for UNICEF in Moldova. Through our work with the Government and communities, we aim that every child can access and complete quality basic education. A particular area of concern is inclusion of children with disabilities and Roma children who lag behind their peers because of stigma and discrimination. We carry out communication campaigns to change the social norms, train teachers and promote Child-Friendly Schools where children feel safe and protected and have an inclusive environment benefiting all.
Every child needs a caring and nonviolent family
Children have the right to grow-up in a loving and caring family, free from neglect, abuse and exploitation. In Moldova, as in many other countries in this region, many parents think that institutions can provide better care for their children than they can.
At the same time, corporal discipline at home and at school are widespread and socially accepted. Due to poverty, migration and lack of community-based services many children are thus vulnerable to institutionalization, trafficking and begging, and at risk of coming into contact with a child-unfriendly justice system, either as victims, witnesses or offenders.
Despite recent successes in the area of deinstitutionalisation, in particular children with disabilities and young children remain in institutions. However, the child and family welfare services at community-level are not yet well in place and well-connected to offer families support and alternatives to better care for their children. The justice system also needs further improvement to ensure that children are not re-victimised by the police or the court systems.
Therefore, UNICEF supports the Government to prevent abandonment of children, close residential institutions and create alternative social support services for children and families in need. UNICEF is also promoting non-violent discipline practices through raising awareness and communication for development campaigns enabling the system to identify, refer and address cases of violence. At the same time UNICEF is working with law enforcement agencies, public prosecution, judges and lawyers to systematically apply child-friendly procedures.
An age of opportunities and risks
Growing up can be challenging for children in Moldova. Lack of job opportunities, high rates of poverty, easy access to tobacco, alcohol and drugs, lack of parent’s supervision due to labor migration and lack of opportunities to spend free time often lead young people to unhealthy choices and decisions. UNICEF is addressing the needs of most at risk adolescents by developing youth friendly health and social services, supporting children and adolescents in conflict with the law, reducing stigma and discrimination towards HIV affected adolescents and young pregnant women. UNICEF is also giving a voice to young people through various innovative platforms, such as one minute videos, blogging and broadcasting, fostering their confidence, self-esteem and civic responsibility and helps them reach their full potential.
Addressing children’s vulnerabilities
Social protection is a set of public and private policies and programs aimed at preventing, reducing and eliminating economic and social vulnerabilities to poverty and deprivation. Social protection takes into account the multiple and interlinking causes of vulnerability, risk and resilience – addressing them by a wide range of activities across the sectors for the benefit of different groups of population, including children. UNICEF identifies four key areas in social protection particularly relevant for the rights of the children: social transfers, access to adequate and affordable social services, social support and care services and legislation and policy reform. UNICEF Moldova is supporting the Government in integrating the children into the social protection scheme through “child sensitive approach” on policy and budgeting. We actively support the Government in collecting, analyzing and using data for policy making, with particular attention to vulnerable groups, urban-rural and gender disaggregation.