This is the time to re-imagine the future of Romania together
This report outlines how UNICEF in Romania has responded to the COVID-19 crisis, in partnership with Government and non-Government organizations and with children themselves.
The world we live in may change forever following the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented crisis that is affecting each and everyone of us.
Less directly affected by the virus, children are mayorly impacted by related activities that can affect them for the rest of their lives - school closures, increasing cases of violence against children and reduced access to health services.
This is the time to re-imagine the future of Romania together and invest in that which is most dear to us.
This report outlines how UNICEF in Romania has responded to the COVID-19 crisis, in partnership with Government and non-Government organizations and with children themselves. This support would not have been possible without them and our many donors in and outside the country for which we are very grateful.
1. Rapid assessments of the impact on children
Four rounds of Rapid Assessments of the Impact on Children and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak were conducted in Romania in partnership with national authorities, the World Bank, WHO, UNHCR, the Romanian Children’s Board, Step-by-Step Centre for Education and Professional Development, Terre des hommes Romania, Centre for Health Policies and Services, the Council of Institutionalised Youth, Jesuit Refugee Service Romania (JRS Romania), the National Romanian Council for Refugees (RNCR) and Star of Hope Romania.
Results confirmed widening gaps in access to healthcare, education and social services with a disproportionate impact on the country’s most vulnerable children. 58 per cent of respondents noted the pandemic’s strong impact on health services, while 84 per cent reported interrupted educational services.
2. Protecting and supporting community service providers
3. How can we stay safe? – for children, parents and professionals
UNICEF supported children, parents and professionals across Romania with communication materials addressing how to stay safe from COVID-19, maintain mental health and continue education during lockdown.
Partnership with key Romanian ministries and civil society groups ensured that these materials reached public health inspectorates and school inspectorates nation-wide, and were distributed to teachers, pupils and parents.
Through an innovative partnership with Romania’s Postal Service, flyers with COVID-19 prevention messages were delivered pro bono to the most vulnerable children and their families and in remote areas, to 360,000 households in two counties.
4. Mental health for children and professionals in residential care
UNICEF in Romania in collaboration with the National Authority for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Children and Adoptions, Council of Institutionalised Youth, Center for Legal Resources and dozens of volunteer psychologists, established a hotline for children in residential care.
5. A safe return to school for all
Romanian schools closed in March 2020 and the learning process has mostly moved online since, with schools and teachers little prepared to offer quality, inclusive education in an online environment.
UNICEF provided technical assistance and educational and informational resources to 55 schools and 135 early education units in 22 communities to improve their safe reopening plans and support students’ transition from lower to upper secondary education in this extremely challenging context. UNICEF’s network of strong and credible partners, its flexible approach and real-time intervention were key elements supporting the education sector response to the pandemic.
6. Online learning for all
In partnership with the Ministry of Education, Council of Europe and several other public and private partners, UNICEF supported the establishment of an emergency working group to devise an action plan for online/distance learning and the digitalization of education, applying an equity lens to ensure that the country’s most vulnerable children have continued access to education – both now and well after the pandemic. As a result of this joint work, a growing body of learning materials are now available for online and distance learning.
7. Support for parents
UNICEF launched a rapid on-line assessment to gain insights from all educational actors through a questionnaire designed with inputs from NGOs, education experts and the National Parents Federation.
A parenting response plan was designed in partnership with HoltIS Association, and 50 different materials for parents were developed and made available on several online platforms.
8. Build back better
While the COVID-19 pandemic is a devastating crisis for everyone, UNICEF is also seeing it as an opportunity to rethink policies and priorities, an opportunity to re-imagine the future and build back better.
UNICEF focuses on 10 solutions for champions and has placed these at the centre of its advocacy efforts.
Our advocacy resulted in important commitments for children such as:
✓ The adoption of the revised law on social assistance which now includes national scale up of a Minimum Package of Services to all children in Romania.
✓ Influencing the allocation of €80 billion to Romania by the EU for 2021–2027 to include investment in health, education and increased social inclusion.
UNICEF’s work would not be possible without the support from our donors, including a large number of private individuals, corporate partners in Romania (such as JYSK and Lidl), international foundations (such as Fondation Botnar) and UNICEF’s funding.