07 April 2020
UNICEF responds to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and Central Asia
Traditional media are also helping to reach those who lack digital access, with hundreds of thousands of traditional print material (posters, leaflets etc.) complementing web-based, multi-language initiatives. COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of daily life for millions of children and their families. Given the impact of family stress and disruption, UNICEF is supporting child protection systems across the Region. In the Western Balkans, for example, we aim to help children report abuse and violence, backed by psychosocial support and the construction of shelters for the most high-risk children. In Italy, we are working with refugees and migrants to ensure that very vulnerable young men and women, and families with small children who remain outside the formal reception system can access emergency shelter and cash assistance. And in conflict-affected Eastern Ukraine, mobile GBV prevention teams have been adapted to provide advice online, with emergency visits available when required. To respond to the devastating socioeconomic consequences for children and families, we are supporting governments across the Region to expand, adjust, and strengthen their social protection programmes. In Albania, we support municipal social protection mechanisms that provide temporary support to help families withstand the impact of physical distancing on their livelihoods. In Tajikistan, we are exploring how emergency cash support can better reach households through the government’s social protection systems. We are appealing for $149 million for the Europe and Central Asia Region to expand our work as part of UNICEF’s Global Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) for COVID-19 response. Against this target, the Region has already received $41 million (11%) in funding from key donors. The appeal will enable UNICEF to ramp up its existing work to support national efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, while mitigating the impacts on children and their families. This will include: Providing protective, life-saving health and hygiene supplies for facilities, health and social care workers and affected communities Supporting continued access to essential healthcare, immunization and nutrition services for women, children and vulnerable communities Intensifying and expanding communication and engagement with communities on infection prevention and safety in the home through social and multimedia, reaching children, adolescents and parents, and recognizing the role of young people as key conveyors Ensuing continuing education through distance learning for pre- and school-age children, using internet-based technology, TV broadcasts and innovative social media challenges Supporting mental health, psychosocial assistance and GBV prevention for children and caregivers through online platforms Supporting evidence-based strategies to strengthen social protection programming and reinforce safety nets for children most at risk in the face of unprecedented economic downturn in the Region Ensuring global and regional coordination, and effective data collection on the impact of the pandemic on children in Europe and Central Asia.