UNICEF Humanitarian Assistance in the Northern Caucasus Activity Report No. 98

1 - 30 June 2005

During the reporting period, UNICEF's financial requirements were revised within the framework of the inter-agency Mid-Year Review of the 2005 Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for Chechnya - North Caucasus (Russian Federation), which resulted in a slight increase of the funds sought for the North Caucasus programme: from US$6,565,500 million to US$6,912,300, mainly as a result of the need to continue to the water delivery programme in Grozny beyond August. As of 30 June 2005, approximately US $6,005,641 (i.e. 87%) has been received against the CAP from the following donors: Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, the European Union's Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), the French, Dutch, UK and Irish National Committees for UNICEF. In addition, during the month of June, UNICEF received three new generous contributions: one from the Italian National Committee for UNICEF (US$120,482 - for its special programme in Beslan) and two from the German National Committee for UNICEF (US$309,800 - for its special programme in Beslan; US$619,944 - to support its education programme in the region until mid-2007). UNICEF is sincerely grateful to these donors for the generous support provided to its ongoing programme.


On 30 June, UNICEF conducted a mission to Vedensky District (Chechnya), with the aim of assessing the situation and related needs, particularly with regard to the Education and Child Protection/Mine Action sectors. The mission held a meeting with representatives of the local administration and visited various sites, including in Vedeno, Guni, and Agish-Batoi villages, with a view to opening 2 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Centres as well as promoting the physical rehabilitation of some local education facilities. Some 13 schoolchildren in the district were reported as 'drop-outs' because of physical disability; according to the District Education Department, a special programme is currently being developed for them. In addition, up to 30% of the school-age children is reported as 'not attending school regularly' due to the lack of proper clothing.

IDP schools in Ingushetia

UNICEF, jointly with four implementing partners (HWA, CPCD, IRC and PIN) and with technical assistance from the Ingush MoE, completed a new assessment of all 28 'parallel' IDP schools, which were hosting some 2,402 IDP children by the end of the last school year (with financial support from the German National Committee for UNICEF, US/BPRM, Canada and Sweden). The objective of the assessment was to make an inventory of the existing schools and their equipment, with a view, inter alia, to determine the most appropriate way to absorb the 454 children who were enrolled in 10 schools managed by UNICEF through PIN; the latter, in fact, is in the process of closing down its operation in the NC. These children will be accommodated either in the remaining IDP schools or in regular schools in Ingushetia, while the school education materials and equipment, together with some box tent, are being handed over to four villages in Urus-Martanovsky and Groznensky Districts (Chechnya), where the capacity of the existing school buildings is seriously inadequate. Meanwhile, some 800 IDP children from Chechnya, who attend regular secondary schools or IDP schools in Ingushetia, are attending recreational summer camps organised by the MoE in other regions of the North Caucasus and Russia.

School rehabilitation programme in Chechnya

A special assessment of the physical status of 460 schools and boarding schools as well as over 70 kindergartens in Chechnya was recently launched by UNICEF, in cooperation with the Chechen MoE. All 15 districts of Chechnya are being targeted by 6 teams, each consisting of one civil engineer, one professional photographer and a driver. These teams will be assisted by representatives of the local Departments of Education and by UNICEF's field monitors. The objective of the assessment is to gather updated information on the physical status of the premises as well as evaluate their capacity and specific needs. Meanwhile, within its 2005 rehabilitation programme, UNICEF conducted a detailed assessment of 22 schools and 4 kindergartens (identified jointly with the Chechen MoE) and defined the scope of the rehabilitation work that will be undertaken this summer. At least 15 education facilities will be selected for rehabilitation by UNICEF itself during the second half of the year, including in partnership with NGOs.

Vocational Training

The NGO 'Serlo', which implements - with financial support from ECHO and under UNICEF's supervision - a vocational training project in Chechnya, conducted a rapid assessment of the social vulnerability of the 120 youth who are currently attending the course. The rapid assessment revealed, inter alia, that 30 of the beneficiaries live in a one-parent family, 30 in families where one parent is disabled and almost the same number come from a family that does not own a house. Only 2 beneficiaries have regularly employed parents.


A international course on 'Field Epidemiology for Mine Action' took place on 13-24 June 2005 in Sarajevo - at the initiative of UNICEF Landmines and Small Arms Team (Office of Emergency Programmes, New York). Following this training, UNICEF Nazran - which was represented by its Mine Action Assistant - will shortly organize specific training events for its partners, including government officials, so as to share the newly-acquired knowledge in organizing and conducting surveys and assessments.

In the course of the above-mentioned mission to Vedensky district of Chechnya, child protection issues were discussed with Mr. Khasmogomed Dunaev, the Head of the District Administration, Mr. Ajub Telkhigov, the Chief Doctor of the District Hospital, and Mr. Gapaev Abdul, the Deputy Head of the District Education Department. The meeting revealed, amongst other elements, that two schools in the centre of Vedeno (one of which was previously functioning as specialized school for the treatment of TB-infected children, while the other was a boarding school) are currently being occupied by the military, with no signs that the premises will be released in the near future. The two schools used to accommodate some 650 children.

The district administration noted with concern the lack of significant assistance programmes in the district, maintained that the security situation is currently quite favorable and called for a more frequent and effective presence of aid organizations. On the basis of the findings of the monitoring, UNICEF is considering the possibility of opening four leisure centers for children living in four villages of Vedenskiy district, including Vedeno, Dieshni-Vedeno, Guni and Kharachoy, while trainings of trainers on the CRC (targeting teachers from the district) are also planned.

Mine Risk Education

UNICEF, through its implementing partner 'Voice of the Mountains', completed a training on mine/UXO data gathering for 15 monitors in 15 districts of Chechnya, within the framework of the establishment of a new surveillance system based on 15 'letter boxes', which is supported financially by ECHO. Two new mine/UXO incidents were registered by 'letter-boxes' during the reporting period in Naur and Samashki villages of Chechnya. Two adults were reportedly killed.

A new MRE TV game was supported by UNICEF through its implementing partner 'Let's Save the Generation'. Two teams of students from the Chechen Oil University and the State Chechen University competed in the knowledge of MRE-related topics. Special decorations were produced and a questionnaire developed for the event, which was broadcasted by the Chechen TV.

Survivor Assistance

In the framework of its survivor assistance programme, UNICEF is in the process of opening six new leisure centers for mine/UXO survivors and other disabled children, with financial support from the German Government. The necessary materials and equipment are being procured by UNICEF's field office. Meanwhile, UNICEF continued to enhance the provision of physical rehabilitation to disabled children, through the provision of additional equipment to the Republican Clinical Hospital in Grozny. During the reporting period, some 24 children received physical rehabilitation treatment at the hospital. A short meeting to discuss the current training needs for medical staff on physical rehabilitation was held by UNICEF with Handicap International's Rehabilitation Officer.


Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI)

Within its EPI programme, and with funding support from US/BPRM, UNICEF conducted the follow-up monitoring of 153,000 disposable syringes (1ml and 2ml) that were distributed in Chechnya and Ingushetia in May. According to the monitoring findings, out of this amount, 108,000 syringes were distributed to pediatric and MCH facilities (children's policlinics, maternity wards, vaccination centres and health posts) located in all 17 district hospitals inside Chechnya. Another 45,000 syringes were distributed to vaccination rooms and vaccination centres located in 6 health care facilities (at the district and town level) in Ingushetia.

Mother Empowerment Programme (MEP)

UNICEF also continued to implement, in partnership with Hammer Forum (HF) and with the financial support from US/BPRM, the Netherlands and Sweden, its MEP. An IMCI trainer provided a two-week training workshop to the NGO training team. Meanwhile, two training teams targeted pregnant women, lactating mothers and mothers with under-5 aged children on issues related to breastfeeding, immunization, and the early recognition of common childhood illnesses as well as HIV/STI prevention. During the reporting period, special training sessions were conducted in TACs on Koshevogo and Mayakovskogo streets in Grozny, thus covering 288 beneficiaries. In Ingushetia, 180 women were targeted in Galashki, Berd-Yurt, and Chemulga villages through similar activities.

Young People's Health, Development and Participation (YPHD&P) and HIV Prevention

UNICEF continued, with financial support from Canada and US/BPRM, to further develop the ongoing activities that are aimed at raising awareness on HIV/AIDS and healthier life styles among young people and teenagers in Chechnya and Ingushetia. The project has been implemented in close cooperation with governmental and NGO partners and with the active participation of local youth. Youth Information Centres and Youth Friendly Clinics in Grozny, Achkhoi-Martan and Malgobek - which have been established with support from UNICEF and provided with basic furniture, IT equipment, medical equipment, essential medical instruments - are implementing a new youth-friendly approach that should be applied by all stake holders, including through the provision of counseling, psychosocial support as well as access to information technologies.


Water purification and distribution in Grozny

Within the framework of this project, which is implemented by UNICEF in cooperation with the Polish Humanitarian Organization (PHO) and with financial support from ECHO, the total water delivery capacity in Grozny reached 709.8 cubic metres per day. The total daily water delivery capacity has been slightly decreased (against 751 cubic metres produced per day during the last month), due to withdrawal of some water tanks from schools for disinfection treatment, as per local sanitary standards. About 105,000 residents of Grozny have been regularly served with safe drinking water by 20 trucks through 262 water distribution points, which are located in health care and educational facilities, TACs and residential areas. About 90 water control tests were conducted by the SES during the month to ensure the quality of the water delivered.

Sanitary and hygiene education in Grozny

UNICEF continued its hygiene and sanitation education activities, in cooperation with the republican SES and the City Education Department of Grozny, 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 SES specialists, among families and communities in TACs in Grozny, thus targeting a total of 1,218 persons. SES specialists managed 44 training sessions for beneficiaries in three TACs located on Derzhavina Street, Kirova Street, and Viborgskaya Street, including 550 children. As for the activities conducted in schools, hygiene and sanitary education was carried out as part of the summer extracurricular activities, targeting children involved in summer schools camps and other activities.


On 27-29 June, UNICEF participated in the conference "Building Medical, Social and Psycho-Pedagogical Model of Rehabilitation and Integration of Children Affected by the Hostage-Taking Crisis in Beslan", which was held in Tsei, North Ossetia. The conference, which was organized and facilitated by the local Ministry of Education, constituted an important forum where experts representing psychosocial institutions from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novocherkassk, Obninsk, the UK, Slovenia and North Ossetia shared ideas and identified achievements as well as constraints related to the ongoing projects in Beslan.

During the reporting period, the Ministries of Health and Education of NO made concerted efforts to obtain more precise and accurate data on the situation of children in Beslan who were directly affected by the tragic events of September 2005. As of 28 June, 269 children have been registered as having different degrees of trauma. Of them, 55 have been diagnosed as disabled. In light of this situation, the MoE, in consultation with UNICEF and relevant specialized institutions of the Russian Federation, has started the preparatory stage for launching a project aimed at fostering the integration of the disabled and traumatized children into the regular education process.

Provision of psycho-social rehabilitation

UNICEF - with support from the French, Italian, German and UK National Committees for UNICEF, as well as with funds raised from the private sector - continued the implementation of its psycho-social rehabilitation project, which is based at the Republican Psycho-Social Rehabilitation Centre in Vladikavkaz. Launched in October 2004, in partnership with the local MoE, the project continued to ensure the provision of counseling support to children and adults affected by the tragic events in school n.1. In June, a group of 12-15 children has been visiting the centre on a daily basis. As confirmed by the MoE, the main symptoms proving the effectiveness of the project, as detected by the specialists of the centre, include the decrease in anxiety, the improvement of sleep as well as the decrease in aggression.

With the aim of ensuring the sustainability of the project and providing easier access to the rehabilitation facilities for children with disabilities and their family members, UNICEF, in a joint effort with the MoE and the local administration, has started the process of identification in Beslan of the premises that will accommodate a branch of Vladikavkaz' Republican Psycho-Social Rehabilitation Centre. The renovation of the premises and the installation of the required equipment are planned to be completed by end-September.

A new team of 25 volunteers (students from local higher psychological institutions) has started to contribute to the joint UNICEF-MoE psychosocial project, through their involvement in activities such as PTS diagnosis, data gathering on affected children, support to the active socialization of children, preliminary school courses for children (including last year's drop-outs) and the general organizational support to the Rehabilitation Centre. The volunteers will also be gathering traumatised children in Beslan and accompanying them to Vladikavkaz, which will ensure an increase the number of children visiting the centre on a daily basis.

On 27 June, a group of specialists from the R. Wallenberg's international university from St. Petersburg arrived in Vladikavkaz to conduct a new 40-hour monitoring/supervision session for the Centre's psychologists. In parallel, they also started analyzing the materials produced during the psycho-diagnosis of children that was conducted at the centre. Additional objectives of their visit include the facilitation of workshops for students/volunteers and the initiation of a training of trainers for teachers from school n.1.