Improving the quality of service delivery to socially vulnerable families

more than 400 children and 100 women have been repatriated from armed conflict zones

06 October 2021

Following the decision of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, in the last two years more than 400 children and 100 women have been repatriated from armed conflict zones such as Syria and Iraq to ​​Uzbekistan.

The Government of Uzbekistan has committed to ensuring gender-sensitive and age-appropriate reintegration of women and children into their families and communities.

To provide the best support to these families and promote effective rehabilitation and reintegration of children in their local communities UNICEF conducted an online training for trainers - specialists working in the field of social protection. This activity was implemented with the financial support of the European Union within the framework of the “EU-UN support to states in Central Asia for their citizens returned from conflict zones, primarily Syria and Iraq”.

During the four-day online training, participants learned counseling skills to improve their knowledge of working with vulnerable families.

"Working with the family as a system will allow specialists to understand the causes of problems in the family in many aspects, and a right consultation technique will increase the work efficiency," said Lyudmila Kim,  social worker and trainer.

Children returning from armed conflict zones often face physical health problems, trying to cope with the consequences of wounds and contusions received during the war. They need help with their education, as many of them did not go to school. But the hardest thing for them is to cope with the death of loved ones, the experience of violence, grief, fears, and other mental trauma. Some children develop emotional and behavioral problems, mental disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.

Therefore, at the training special attention was paid to mental health issues, preventive measures, and the provision of proper assistance to children and families. The trainer underlined the importance of recognizing mental health symptoms in children and adults using the main diagnostic categories and screening tools since changes in one family member can affect changes in others.

Participants also learned about the types of family boundaries and, specifics of working with families suffering from domestic violence. They learned provided tips for working with such families, including the creation of a safety and support plan.

“In Uzbekistan, many women do not talk about domestic violence because of condemnation from neighbors. So we need to be able to recognize violence, even if women do not speak out,” stressed Shakhnoza Matchanova, social worker,  Khorezm.

Specialist from different regions of Uzbekistan discussed the types of violence and forms of behavior, risk factors, links between domestic violence and child abuse. They learned how to  recognize domestic violence in families through screening methods.

“There is a myth that children are unaware of domestic violence in the family, where parents hide it. Children always know about it, even when their parents try to hide it,” stated Dilfuza Hoshimi, social worker, Samarkand.

Evaluation of the training shows that the average indicator of the knowledge level of the participants on the topics covered improved by 5.3 points in comparison with the same indicator before the training. 68% of the participants said they would apply the newly gained knowledge and skills in the practice of working with families, and 84% said they would use this knowledge in teaching others.

The training will allow the participants to use the acquired knowledge and skills in their direct work with families. Also they can share newly learned knowledge and skills with colleagues with the aim to improve  services to socially vulnerable families.