September 2007, Local Leaders and UNICEF Commit to Improve the Situation of Children in Batken Rayon
17 September 2007
Batken Oblast, Kyrgyz Republic
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Kyrgyzstan and Batken local authorities will launch a new programme committing more than $200,000 USD to ensure the rights children in Batken to early childhood development, education and social protection.
At the presentation in the Batken State Administration on 17 September 2007, the akim (head of rayon administration) of Batken rayon, Mr. Hodjaev, and UNICEF Representative Mr. Schaffter, together with local aiyl okmotuu, (heads of villages), representatives of the local kenesh (council) and non-governmental and international organizations discussed on-going activities supported by UNICEF and drew up a plan for further improvement of the conditions for children in Batken rayon.
Early childhood development, education and social services to support and protect the most needy families and children are the main areas of the new programme which anticipates funding from UNICEF, the wholehearted participation of local communities, and the political will of the local authorities.
The programme will start by strengthening a newly opened Rayon Child and Family Support Department, which was established in accordance with the Code of the Kyrgyz Republic on Children, signed in 2006. Its role is to identify families and children who need special protection and further develop social services to tackle their problems. The programme aims to do everything so that the needs of each child are addressed and to prevent children in difficult life situations from moving out into the streets or into institutions.
At the same time, local activists, with support from specialists, would work with communities to involve them in developing solutions for children who do not receive proper pre-school and primary education. Special communication materials, books, TV and radio programmes will be designed to help parents and other family members to ensure the best start for their children and reach their potential. Teachers, care givers, and community leaders will have a chance to enhance their professional knowledge and skills and learn new concepts and modern practices.
The participants of the presentation discussed the results of the current projects run by UNICEF in Batken. They watched a short video story on how family childcare centres were established and preschool classes opened in primary school in Batken rayon. The local partners shared achievements and plans for a recently started project on community management of education, which began in Naryn oblast in 2002, and could help to resolve numerous barriers for local children to receive quality care and education.
At the presentation, as part of the first step to implementing the programme, UNICEF distributed to its local partners books, special equipment and a car. The next day, local decision makers gathered for a training session on social policies.
The Batken programme is a part of the current UNICEF-Government of the Kyrgyz Republic Country Programme of Cooperation for 2005-2010, which aims to support governmental and non-governmental efforts to ensure children’s rights with particular attention paid to “excluded and invisible” children living in the poorest and most remote regions. This has all been made possible thanks to additional funding provided by the Italian National Committee for UNICEF early in 2007.