European Union and UNICEF support municipalities in transforming social programmes for children

A high-level meeting brought together Mayors of ten municipalities to discuss programmes for children

08 April 2022
Children in Kindergarten
UNICEF/GEO-2019/Robakidze

KUTAISI, Georgia, 8 April 2022. Mayors of ten municipalities gathered in Kutaisi to discuss actions at the municipal level aiming at increasing municipal engagement in social affairs of their communities. The high-level meeting was attended by the representatives of the central and local government, donors and civil society organizations and was organized by UNICEF and the National Association of Local Self-Government of Georgia(NALA) with the support fromthe European Union.

Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Ms. Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced People From Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs Ms. Tamila Barkalaia and UNICEF Representative Dr. Ghassan Khalil participated in the meeting along with the Mayors of Akhaltsikhe, Ambrolauri, Batumi, Dusheti, Kareli, Kutaisi, Marneuli, Ozurgeti, Telavi, and Zugdidi.

“The role of local government in ensuring child protection and social welfare is very important.”

“Local self-government is closest to the citizens and the needs of the local community can be better identified and responded to at the local level.  Thanks to the great support from the European Union and in partnership with National Association of Local Self-Government of Georgia, we will continue working with municipalities to ensure they actively participate in protecting child rights in their communities”, Khalil added.

The meeting provided a platform to exchange knowledge, information and practice about ongoing programmes at the municipal level, and to explore potential cooperation and partnerships. It also facilitated the formation of new working groups and joint or coordinated activities to increase the capacity of municipalities to support citizens, including children.

During the event, Memoranda of Understanding and a symbolic pledge were signed by the Mayors, vowing to develop social programmes tailored to the needs of the children and families by the end of 2022.   

The initiative responds to the new role of municipalities defined by the Code on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 2019. Based on the Code, Georgian municipalities are granted a significant role in child protection and support. This role is two-fold: municipalities should be able to identify families and children in need and support them through social work and social services available in the community; additionally, municipalities should also be able to identify social needs in the community and address them by developing child-centred social programmes.

This high-level meeting is organized within the three-year project ‘Strengthening Systems and Services for Child Protection in Georgia’ is funded by the European Union. It aims to strengthen legislation, policies and guidelines that support the de-institutionalization process and to enhance the capacity of the professional workforce at central and municipal levels to support and protect children and families in Georgia.

Media contacts

Maya Kurtsikidze
Communication Specialist, Head of Communication Section
UNICEF Georgia

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