UNICEF Humanitarian Assistance in the Northern Caucasus Activity Report No. 96
During the reporting period and within the framework of the 2005 Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for Chechnya - North Caucasus (Russian Federation), UNICEF's Emergency Humanitarian Programme in the North Caucasus received the following contributions: US$531,901 from Government of Sweden (unearmarked) and US$1,240,000 from the US Government/Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM, unearmarked). Consequently, as of 30 April 2005, out of a total requirement of US $6,565,500, approximately US $5,524,078 (i.e. 84.1%) has been received from the following donors: Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, the European Union's Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), the French, Dutch and UK National Committees for UNICEF. UNICEF is sincerely grateful to these donors for the generous support provided to its ongoing programme in the North Caucasus.
In the context of the UNICEF-managed regional peace education project in the North Caucasus, a training of trainers (ToT) was held in Nazran on 18-23 April. Some 30 participants, including teachers and NGO representatives, were trained to conduct peace education seminars, training and other events in the five republics involved in the project (Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria). Prior to the training, UNICEF developed a concise trainer's manual on Peace Education and Tolerance Building: during the ToT, participants were trained on its application for future activities. During the reporting period, UNICEF also benefited from the advice provided by an international consultant, Prof. Haavelsrud (Oslo University). On 25 April-1 May, UNICEF supported a study visit of a 10-member delegation (representatives of Ministries of Education, Youth Committees and NGOs from the NC) to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they were introduced to peace education/tolerance building initiatives undertaken with support from UNICEF. The programme is benefiting from financial support from the French National Committee for UNICEF.
IDP schools and children centres in Ingushetia
In Ingushetia the number of IDP school children decreased from 2,500 (March) to 2,459, with an average attendance rate (in all 28 schools) of 95%. In every school the parents/teachers committee discussed the schedule of additional lessons for pupils with low academic achievements, so as to get them ready for the forthcoming spring exams. In addition, up to 700 IDP children participated in a contest for the best handcraft in 13 IDP schools managed by UNICEF and IRC, with financial support from the Netherlands and US/BPRM. The 20 best works have been awarded a prize. This event was followed by a performance through which 170 children demonstrated their talents in singing and dancing. Meanwhile, four Children Centers, supported by UNICEF in partnership with Caritas and with financial support from ECHO, the German National Committee for UNICEF and the Netherlands, continued to provide care and education to 690 pre-school age IDP children living in spontaneous settlements in Ingushetia.
ECE centers in Chechnya
During the reporting period, 20 Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres continued to provide, with financial support from ECHO, Sweden, the Netherlands and US/BPRM, education and care to 1,000 vulnerable children in Grozny, Argun, Achkhoi-Martan, Kurchaloi and Groznenski rural districts. Two training seminars on hygiene education and methodological issues related to pre-school education were held for all 20 tutors working in the centres, with the involvement of the local NGO Denal.
During the reporting period UNICEF supported the Teacher Training Institute of Grozny in providing two seminars for over 300 teachers in Vedenski district (Chechnya). Thanks to these seminars, teachers from remote villages were exposed to the latest guidelines on education in the Russian Federation. The seminars also included special sessions conducted by some of the new trainers on peace education.
School rehabilitation in Chechnya
UNICEF developed a questionnaire on the physical conditions of school and kindergarten facilities in Chechnya, so as to collect preliminary information for the forthcoming comprehensive assessment, to be carried out by UNICEF before the end of the year. Moreover, the MoE of Chechnya submitted to the attention of humanitarian agencies a preliminary list of 25 schools that require physical rehabilitation - and that are not included in the federal rehabilitation plan.
Two LSP (Landmines and UXO Safety Project) trainings, developed by the UN Mine Action Service, were jointly organized by UNICEF and UNDSS during the reporting period. These trainings were aimed at providing safety instructions to UN and NGO staff working in a mine/UXO-contaminated environment. UNICEF took care of the theoretical part, while UNDSS organized the practical part of the training. About 60 participants (from UNDSS, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP, ACF and FAO) attended the seminars.
In April UNICEF held a sector coordination meeting with participation from the government, the ICRC and NGOs partners working in the NC. Ongoing activities were reviewed and new initiatives were discussed. UNICEF reported on new developments related to its community-based approach to the Mine Risk Education (MRE) component of its programme - a presentation on this approach was delivered by the Head of Achkhoy-Martanovskiy district administration. Meanwhile, the translation in Russian of the UNICEF-developed MRE standards, which are part of UNMAS' international Mine Action standards, was shared with all relevant agencies.
Mine Risk Education (MRE) in Chechnya
With the support of its main implementing partner, Voice of the Mountains (VoM), UNICEF completed the creation of 10 focus groups in Achkhoy-Martanovskiy, Urus-Martanovskiy, Shalinskiy and Gudermesskiy districts as well as in Grozny. The government of Chechnya confirmed its full support to this initiative and provided the necessary assistance. Each focus group includes an administration official, a hospital representative, a religious leader and a representative of the Chechen Youth Committee. The creation of these groups aims at ensuring the future sustainability of the MRE programme in the republic and identifying appropriate ways to further reduce the impact of mine/UXO contamination. Some 15 'letter-boxes' have also been created in each district of Chechnya for ensuring the effective gathering of information related to mine/UXO incidents. With the support of the focus groups, UNICEF distributed 9,000 MRE leaflets, 300 posters, 90 note-books, 150 pens and 50 t-shirts. All above-mentioned activities have been supported with funds from ECHO as well as from the British and Dutch National Committees for UNICEF.
The State Chechen Drama Theatre and Let's Save the Generation (LSG) conducted, with financial support from the British and Dutch National Committees for UNICEF, MRE drama presentations for schoolchildren in Grozny's secondary schools n. 1 and 44. A total of 470 children benefited from two presentations. In the same schools LSG and the Theatre established 2 drama circles and trained 14 children. LSG also continued to monitor the work of 27 drama circles established in 2004 and distributed 150 posters, 150 leaflets and 25 T-shirts in Grozny.
In April the football team of mine/UXO amputees, which is supported by UNICEF and VoM, participated in the first round of the relevant Russian Football Championship in Volgograd. UNICEF team performed well and 3 of its players were short-listed for inclusion in the Russian National Team of Disabled. Meanwhile, 20 disabled girls completed a 2.5 month tailoring course supported by UNICEF through the Society for Disabled. The girls acquired skills for the production of basic overcoat and bed linen. A new group of 20 disabled girls started their course on 16 April. All students will be receiving a small allowance to cover their transport expenses.
A group of 36 disabled children is currently receiving psychosocial support at the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center in Grozny, which is managed by UNICEF, through LSG, with financial support from Germany and the British National Committee for UNICEF. Various therapies (including active listening, art, music and play therapies) are applied for the treatment of these children. These sessions are designed to improve the children's self-esteem as well as decrease their aggression and uncertainty. Children also spend time in the centre's gym and acquire knowledge in computer literacy. LSG psychologists are also providing out-reach counseling for these children's parents, whenever deemed necessary.
Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI)
Within its EPI framework and with financial support from BPRM, UNICEF initiated the procurement of 153,000 disposable syringes to facilitate the implementation of the forthcoming vaccination campaigns in Chechnya and Ingushetia, including routine vaccination against measles.
Mother Empowerment Programme (MEP)
The theme of the World Health Day, marked on 7 April, was "Healthy Mothers and Children" and the related slogan was "Make every mother and child count". UNICEF actively participated in this event and, in cooperation with the local TV company, produced a TV programme with key messages aimed at raising awareness among the local public and health authorities on the status of mothers' and children's health in the republic. UNICEF also delivered a TV and video set to the newly-opened Republican Clinical Centre for Mother and Child Health Care in Grozny. The MEP project receives financial support from BPRM, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Young People's Health and Development (YPHD) and HIV prevention
UNICEF continued, with financial support from CIDA and BPRM, to further develop the on-going YPHD programme activities, which are aimed at raising the awareness on HIV/AIDS prevention and promote healthier life styles among teenagers and young people in Chechnya and Ingushetia. The Youth Information Centre established by UNICEF, in partnership with the NGO CPCD, in Malgobek district (Ingushetia), worked actively to target young people as well as administration, local authorities, social and health care providers, through the implementation of various activities. In particular, the YIC staff conducted a seminar for education providers and local administrators as well as showed a film and promoted discussions among senior schoolchildren from schools n. 20 and 18. UNICEF also signed agreements with the Association of Women-Doctors of the Chechen Republic and the Achkhoi-Martan district hospital for the establishment of two Youth Friendly Clinics (in Grozny and Ackhoi-Martan respectively).
WATER AND SANITATION PROGRAMME
Water purification and distribution in Grozny
In the framework of this project, which is implemented by UNICEF through the Polish Humanitarian Organization (PHO) and with financial support from ECHO, the total water delivery capacity in Grozny has been further increased to 750 cubic metres per day, following the installation of 9 new water bladders of different sizes (1.5, 5 and 10 cubic metres) in three schools (n. 38, 106 and 6), in kindergarten n. 94, in a children orphanage in Staropromislovsky district, in hospital n. 7, and in three locations in residential areas. During the reporting period, the trucking of water shifted to the five-route-per-day system. About 105,000 beneficiaries have been regularly served by 20 trucks through 262 water distribution points, including 34 located in health care facilities, 63 in educational facilities, 6 in TACs and 159 in residential areas. The Republican Sanitary Epidemiological Service (SES) conducted 90 positive checks on the quality of the water delivered.
Sanitary and hygiene education in Grozny
UNICEF continued its hygiene and sanitation education activities, in cooperation with the Municipal Education Department of Grozny and the Republican SES, and with financial support from ECHO. Within the context of this programme, safer hygiene practices and healthier life styles are being promoted, with the help of trained teachers and SES specialists, among children in 46 schools and 5 kindergartens in Grozny, as well as families and communities in 22 TACs, thus targeting in total about 30,000 school and pre-school children and 12,320 TAC residents. During the reporting period 35 schools organized and implemented thematic lessons, performances, drawing contests, book exhibitions, discussions and lectures. In parallel, 42 two-hour training sessions were managed by SES specialists in 3 TACs in Chaikovskogo Street, thus targeting 1,122 persons, including 724 children. A bar of soap was also distributed to each participant.
FOLLOW-UP TO THE BESLAN CRISIS
Provision of psychosocial rehabilitation to affected children and adults
During the reporting period, and with financial support from the German, Italian, UK and French National Committees for UNICEF, the organization continued to provide assistance to children, parents and relatives who were directly or indirectly affected by the tragic events that took place in school n. 1 in Beslan (North Ossetia) on 1-3 September 2004. The Ministry of Education (MoE) of North Ossetia and the Republican Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centre in Vladikavkaz, with financial and technical support from UNICEF, continued to make every effort in providing the crisis affected children and families with psychosocial rehabilitation. In April, in particular, 25 traumatised children from Beslan received individual counseling sessions, while 25 families have been reached in Beslan through the distribution of specific information material developed by the Centre, with the aim of further raising the awareness of the affected population on the availability of psychosocial services.
The issue of children who refused to attend schools and kindergartens as a result of the hostage-taking crisis was the subject of a discussion held at a meeting convened by the Ministry of Education of North Ossetia. As of 20 April, a total of 72 children, including 40 from school n.1, have been registered by the ministry as 'drop-outs'. In cooperation with MoE and the Republican Psychosocial Centre, UNICEF continued to support the provision of technical assistance by experts from other parts of Russia. During the reporting period, five psychologists from the Moscow-based 'Broken Flower' organised a two-week session for more than 30 children from Beslan schools n. 1, 6 and 7. Children from one kindergarten have been also included into the counseling process. The NGO is also closely monitoring the work of the trained teachers and students with the crisis-affected children.
According to the Ministry of Education, the Republican Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centre as well as the beneficiaries themselves, it is becoming increasingly apparent that only through a well-organised, coordinated and long-term psychosocial assistance programme it will be possible to successfully address the psychological trauma generated by the Beslan crisis. UNICEF is therefore determined, availability of financial resources permitting, to continue to support the psychosocial rehabilitation programme beyond its original target date (end-December 2005).