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Inter-Ministerial Group on Early Childhood Development Discusses the Holistic Development of Children

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, 25-26 June 2012 – The Inter-Ministerial group on the National Programme on Early Childhood Development (ECD) for 2011-2015 met to discuss its operational framework and implementation plans for holistic development of children in urban and rural settings. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) co-facilitated the meeting where experts in early childhood interventions provided technical inputs.

The two day meeting served as a platform for Inter-Ministerial group members to analyze the immediate and long term steps on policy, institutional and community levels to address the needs of a young child’s development before birth till the age of seven. Particularly, the members discussed about the development of a holistic system of ECD services, including for children with special needs. Strengthening the system of social support and protection for families with young children was identified as one of the priority issues to achieve.

Representatives of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry and the Ministry of Education briefed the members on the activities implemented since the adoption of the National ECD Programme in May 2011. Activities included the review of legislation and norms in the area of ECD, such as the revision of the Law on Guarantees of the Child and Law on Promotion of Breastfeeding; the capacity development of specialists through study tours to Belarus and Israel on inclusive services and professional workshops on early intervention services, and a monitoring and evaluation component through assessments and studies, for example, a study on prevention of vitamin A deficiency and anemia among children and adults and mapping of the health promotion system.

Experts from Arkhangelsk and Minsk Rehabilitation Centers shared their experience of working with children with special needs and gave a range of recommendations to the working group on how to integrate services for such children into the ECD implementation plan. The members drafted the regulations of the ECD Inter-Ministerial group as well as analyzed the services that the state should introduce for children. The situation analysis helped specialists to define impediments in introducing or strengthening the services and actions to eliminate root causes, responsible entities for service delivery and capacity development in ECD area.

The members have concluded the meeting by setting up priorities for 2012 such as identification of pilot regions in Turkmenistan for introducing, with UNICEF’s support, the ECD services covering health, education and social protection issues and strengthening the coordination role of the Inter-Ministerial working group. The participants agreed to meet in July for the next discussion, which will be devoted to monitoring and evaluation of early childhood development services.

For more information please contact:

Ms. Alena Sialchonak
UNICEF Deputy Representative

Ms. Gulyalek Soltanova
UNICEF Communication Officer
Phone: +99312 425681/82/85/86
Fax: +99312 425779



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