UNICEF Programme in the North Caucasus Activity Report No. 109

Situation Report
Originally published
During the reporting period, UNICEF's Programme in the North Caucasus received from $330,580 from the Government of Switzerland, earmarked for the Mine Action sector, as well as $600,000 from US/BPRM. Consequently, as of 30 June 2006, out of a total revised requirement for 2006 of $6,830,000, some $4,127,588 (i.e. 60.4%) have been received by UNICEF from the following donors: ECHO, the Netherlands, Sweden, USAID, Germany, Switzerland, US/BPRM and the Dutch National Committee for UNICEF. The organisation hopes that additional donors will contribute in the near future, so as to ensure the smooth continuation of its well-established programme throughout 2006.



On 1 June UNICEF - together with its implementing partners HWA, CPCD and IRC, as well as the Ingush Ministry of Education and the Russian Red Cross - organized a concert to celebrate the International Child Protection's Day. The event, which was held in Nazran's Community Centre, was attended by some 1,200 children from primary and secondary schools of Ingushetia. All participants, including IDP children from Chechnya, were received UNICEF school bags, T-shirts and notebooks.

On 15 June, during a monitoring mission to Chechnya, a team from UNICEF visited a Vocational Training site located in Sadovoje, village where 60 boys and girls learn basic skills in carpentry and tailoring thanks to a project managed by UNICEF, with financial support from ECHO and in partnership with the Chechen NGO SERLO. A new building, scheduled to accommodate new VT courses, was inspected by the UNICEF team, which also conducted a rapid project evaluation meeting with local parents and school authorities.

During the month of June, some 1,504 sets of school furniture and blackboards were procured and distributed by UNICEF - with financial support from ECHO - to schools in Chechnya (1,000 sets and 80 blackboards), Ingushetia (252 sets and 10 blackboards) and Dagestan (252 sets and 10 blackboards). In addition, a total of 28,496 Russian textbooks were procured and stored in UNICEF's warehouse in Nazran - with a view to their distribution in August.

IDP Schools in Ingushetia

During the reporting period the 2005/06 school year came to its end for 1,507 IDP children attending 12 'parallel' schools managed by UNICEF - in partnership with IRC, HWA and CPCD and with financial support from the German National Committee for UNICEF, US/BPRM, Sweden and the Netherlands - in Sunzhenski, Karabulak, Malgobekski and Nazranovski districts of Ingushetia. Special sessions of the local 'Parents and Teachers Committees' were held to discuss various issues related to the final examinations procedures. Upon completion of the final exams, all students received their record files, which will provide them with the possibility to enter higher education institutions.

UNICEF and its partners continued to pursue their plan to gradually integrate all such 'parallel' schools into the regular education system in Ingushetia. On 30 June, according to the schedule agreed with the Ingush Ministry of Education, UNICEF and HWA handed over all school furniture and education materials of two IDP schools for IDP children to schools n. 2 and 3, respectively located in Voznesenskaya village and Malgobek. The inventory lists were checked and agreed in advance with the local Department of Education.

Early Childhood Development Programme in Ingushetia

In 4 Children's Centres located in Ingushetia, UNICEF and Caritas - with financial support from ECHO, the German National Committee for UNICEF, US/BPRM and Sweden - continued to support 590 IDP children through the provision of basic pre-school education and care. In two of the Centres some refurbishment works were conducted, so as to protect the box tents from rain and replace some walls that had been damaged, over the last two years, by the weather conditions.

Early Childhood Education (ECE) centers in Chechnya

Some 250 children (out of a total of 1,250 ) attending 25 pre-school centers in Chechnya completed their 6 month-course at the end of June, and are now ready to enter, as of 1 September, the 1st grade of primary school. To this end, every 'graduating' child was provided with a full set of school stationary items. Another group of 250 pre-school age vulnerable children has replaced them since 1 July. On 21-23 June an evaluation of the performance of 5 of such centres was conducted by methodologists from the local Departments of education; the outcome of such evaluation will be shared with UNICEF and implementing partners before the end of July. In addition, in all 25 centers children benefited from hot meals (provided by WFP) as well as fruits procured by UNICEF, which manages the project with financial support from ECHO, the German National Committee for UNICEF, US/BPRM, the Netherlands and Sweden

Vocational Training for Young People in Chechnya

A total of 120 young people graduated from the carpentry and tailoring vocational training courses organized by UNICEF and SERLO, with financial support from ECHO. All participants were provided with graduation certificates that will increase their chances to continue education in technical schools of Chechnya or to seek job opportunities. A second group of 120 boys and girls started their courses 1 July (in two locations) and will complete it at the end of the year.

Peace and Tolerance Education (PTE)

UNICEF devoted considerable energies to the organization of two regional initiatives: a children summer camp ("Plus") and a Youth Peace-Building Conference, both to be held in Dagestan. UNICEF signed an agreement with the MoE of Dagestan and the State Youth Summer Camp "Zolotie peski" ("Golden sands"), so that over 125 children from Chechnya, North Ossetia, Dagestan, Ingushetia and Moscow oblast will spend 10 days in the summer camp in the second half of July. The children will be attending 'peace and tolerance building' seminars as well as learning effective non-violent conflict resolution methods. At the same time, a Youth Peace-Building Conference will also be held, to discuss the development of a PTE manual for adolescents and youth, as well as to allow key youth affairs ministers to define further PTE programmes for the future. It is expected that the event will be attended by the Head of the Youth Policy Department of the Federal MoE, Mr. Apatenko, as well as by the UNICEF Representative in the RF.


Promotion Child Rights

On the occasion of the "International Children Day", UNICEF organized a one-day festival in Grozny and Achkhoy-Martan - in partnership with Let's Save the Generation, the Voice of the Mountains and the Chechen State Youth Committee - to promote the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and raise awareness on the importance of children's rights. About 600 children participated in the event. In addition, and with a view to promoting the CRC among teachers, government stakeholders and police workers, a series of 2-day trainings of trainers (ToT) was organized by UNICEF, through its implementing partner 'North-Caucasian Youth Forum', in Grozny as well as Gudermessky and Nojaijurtovsky districts of Chechnya. Approximately 60 officials participated in the workshops.

During the reporting period UNICEF continued to provide a safe playing environment to children, through the 31 leisure centers established by the organization - with financial support from USAID - in different districts of Chechnya. Each leisure center provides some 40-50 children every day with a safe playing environment, where socialization and learning activities (such as Mine Risk Education) are also conducted.

Mine Action (MA)

On 8 June, the monthly Mine Action coordination meeting was chaired by UN ICEF, with the participation of government partners, ICRC, OCHA, Voice of the Mountains, Let's Save the Generation, the State Chechen Drama Theatre, the Republican Clinical Hospital, Grozny's Prosthetic Workshop and others. The meeting was devoted to discussing on-going activities and the introduction of the draft version of UNICEF's MA Strategy for 2006-2009. The participants were also informed of the initiation of the '2007 Mine Action Portfolio' process, which will be coordinated by UNICEF in the North Caucasus. A one-day workshop will be organized by UNICEF in August to discuss the inter-agency MA Vision for 2007.

With the aim of further building the capacity of professionals who are directly working with children, Mine Risk Education (MRE) trainings have been organized by UNICEF for primary school teachers from Gudermessky and Urusmartanovsky districts. MRE materials have also been distributed to all participants.

Assistance to Mine/UXO Survivors and Children with Disabilities

Within its survivor assistance programme, and with financial support from German Government and the Dutch National Committee for UNICEF, the organization continued to provide child mine/UXO survivors with prosthetic and orthopedic appliances, in partnership with Grozny's Prosthetic Workshop. With a view to improving the provision of physical rehabilitation to children with disabilities, a one-month training has been organized for two technicians from Grozny's Prosthetic Workshop, with financial support from USAID, at the Albrekht Institute in St. Petersburg.

At the Psychosocial Centre in Grozny, which is supported by UNICEF through Let's Save the Generation - with financial support from Germany -, psychosocial support is also being provided to mine/UXO-affected children. Some 55 children from Grozny, Urus-Martanovsky district, Gikalo and Prigorodnoe (Chechnya) have been receiving psychosocial treatment through group and individual counseling as well as music, dance, and drawing therapies. In addition, UNICEF also supports the provision of physical rehabilitation to children with disabilities, in partnership with the Republican Clinical Hospital in Grozny. Some 32 children completed their treatment during the reporting period, thus receiving physiotherapy procedures and re-amputation operations.

In the framework of its activities - which are aimed at promoting the social integration of children with disabilities -, UNICEF, with financial support from USAID and through its local partner (Society for the Disabled), continued to support its vocational training project in tailoring and computer courses for children living in Grozny, Achkhoy-Martanovskiy district and Vedeno (Chechnya). Some 60 children are currently benefiting from the project.


Expanded Programme for Immunization (EPI)

Within its EPI programme, which is mainly funded by USAID and aims at increasing the coverage and quality of the immunization services for children in Chechnya and Ingushetia, UNICEF initiated and proceeded with the preparation for the standard EPI Mid-Level Management Training Courses, which are aimed at targeting medical staff from the Ministries of Health who engaged in the management and implementation of the EPI in Chechnya and Ingushetia. In particular, two 5-day training courses, conducted in Kislovodsk and facilitated by two highly experienced external trainers, will target top- and mid-level pediatricians and epidemiologists from all 15 rural districts and cities from Chechnya and 5 districts from Ingushetia. Within the same project activity, UNICEF printed 600 copies of EPI modules (designed by WHO) for their subsequent distribution to each participant in the training courses.

Mother Empowerment Project (MEP)

UNICEF continued the implementation of its MEP, which is conducted in cooperation with the Ministries of Health of Chechnya as well as Ingushetia and is financially supported by US/BPRM and the Netherlands. The project is aimed at raising mothers' awareness on various topics related to breastfeeding, immunization and the early recognition of common child illnesses. Many childhood illnesses and deaths, in fact, can be averted if parents are provided with the right information and skills to care for their children, especially in remote villages, where there is a lack of medical specialists and health facilities. During the reporting period, UNICEF, through its training sessions, targeted some 396 resident and IDP pregnant women, mothers and other primary child care providers living in Malgobesky district of Ingushetia. The project has been carried out in the premises of the Central District Hospital by specialists (pediatricians and gynecologists) from the Republican Centre for Disease Prevention. In parallel, UNICEF distributed brochures on breastfeeding to every pregnant woman and lactating mother attending the sessions. In Chechnya, during the reporting period, UNICEF's partner (the Republican Children's Policlinic in Grozny) targeted 320 women.

Young People's Health, Development (YPHD) and Participation - HIV/AIDS Prevention

In the framework of its YPHD project, which is mainly funded by USAID, UNICEF continued its cooperation with the Chechen and Ingush Republican Ministries of Health, the Achkhoi-Martan District Hospital, the 'Association of Women Doctors of Chechnya' (a local medical NGO) and the Ingush Republican Policlinic. UNICEF and its partners continued to strengthen the work of the 3 existing Youth Friendly Clinics (YFCs), which are aimed at providing access to high quality health services for young people, including counseling on reproductive health, family planning and HIV/STI prevention. Within the same project, UNICEF continued to work on strengthening young people's knowledge on healthy life styles and positive behaviour, through communication and social mobilization activities as well as information campaigns among young people and teenagers. These activities are implemented through the 3 Youth Information Centres (YICs) that have been established by UNICEF, in partnership with the Chechen and Ingush Ministries for Youth Affairs and the NGO 'Genesis'. In these centres, trained professionals and volunteers have been actively involved in conducting various activities, including training courses, lectures, discussions, round tables (in towns and rural districts).

UNICEF also conducted a 5-day training course on the 'Prevention of Risky Behaviour among Adolescents and Young People' in Kislovodsk, with the participation of 35 YFC and YIC staff and young volunteers from Chechnya and Ingushetia. The training course was facilitated by representatives of the NGO 'Look into Future' (St. Petersburg). Each participant was provided with a set of relevant training materials.

UNICEF also continued to provide support to two Centres for the provision of psychosocial support to people living with HIV/AIDS (established since last year, in cooperation with the Ingush and Chechen State HIV/AIDS Centres, and funded by US/BPRM). Counseling and support were provided to 21 HIV-positive individuals and their family members from Ingushetia. In Chechnya, some 33 persons - 23 of which were HIV-positive individuals and 10 family members - also addressed the local centre seeking assistance during the reporting period.


Water Production and Distribution in Grozny

The project continued to be implemented by UNICEF, through the Polish Humanitarian Organization (PHO) and with financial support from ECHO. Safe drinking water continued to be distributed to hospitals, schools, kindergartens and private users in Grozny, for a total of 117,000 beneficiaries. The average water production and distribution capacity reached 706 cubic metres per day. Water was delivered, on a four-route-per-day system and through 20 trucks, to 270 distribution points located in four districts of Grozny, including 32 places in medical facilities, 64 places in educational institutions, 7 TACs, and 167 points in residential area of the city. In addition, the surplus purified water was carried to additional beneficiaries by two trucks that have been provided and maintained by EMERCOM.

Meanwhile, UNICEF, PHO and the local water provider (Grozvodokanal) further developed their discussions on future steps for the planned progressive hand-over to the latter, by end-2006, of the management of the water purification and distribution project. UNICEF also completed the recruitment of a professional water engineer who will strengthen the operational capacity of Grozvodokanal, so as to enable the institution to take over the project responsibilities.


Follow-Up to the Beslan Crisis

On the occasion of the International Children's Day, UNICEF, in cooperation with the Ministries of Education and Culture of North Ossetia, re-displayed a photo exhibition on 'Children Are the Most Precious Thing in the World' in the House of Arts in Vladikavkaz. The photos are the result of the photo workshop, which was organized by UNICEF in July 2005 (with financial support from USAID and the Italian National Committee for UNICEF) and involved a group of 13 children from Beslan, including five survivors from school n.1. A USAID mission visited the exhibition on 9 June and had an opportunity to speak to the children who participated in the photo workshop.

Within the reporting period, and with financial support from the German National Committee for UNICEF and USAID, 50 children with emotional problems have been involved in the 'Thank You to All Who Helped Beslan to Live through Grief' project, which is being implemented through the Centre of Ecological Education (Obninsk). The project methodology is based on such elements as art lessons, game techniques, theatre lessons, history customs and traditions. The draft of a 'Thank You' book have been prepared by the children, parents and teachers of Beslan, who want to express their gratitude to all those people and organisations that provided support in the aftermath of the Beslan tragedy.

In June 2006, UNICEF - with the financial support of French National Committee - launched a new project for the 'post-traumatic rehabilitation of crisis-affected children of Beslan and their family members. The project aims at reaching both psychologically affected children (through the work of school groups and the Rehabilitation centre in Vladikavkaz) and their parents (through the work of the Family Counseling centre in Beslan). The project seeks to strengthen the families' capacity to ensure a protective environment for the psychologically affected children and reduce the effects of the trauma resulting from the 2004 crisis in Beslan.

Psychosocial Assistance to Conflict-Affected Children and Women of Chechnya

The second meeting of the Steering Committee for Psychosocial Rehabilitation, facilitated by UNICEF and chaired by the Government of Chechnya, was held on 15 June in Grozny. The Ministries of Labour and Social Development, Health and Education/Science - as well as other governmental and non-governmental organisations involved in psychosocial activities in Chechnya - took part in the meeting. A presentation was made by NAN (a UNICEF implementing partner) on the data gathered during the second stage of the UNICEF-promoted Psychosocial Baseline Study in Chechnya. It was decided that the Technical group of the Steering Committee, comprising the main experts of the republic, will provide their comments on the study. An agreement has also been reached on the list of the rehabilitation centres to be established by UNICEF, with financial support from ECHO and USAID. The Government of Chechnya also prepared a list of supplies to be procured by UNICEF for these new centres, including IT/audio-visual equipment, stationery, toys, furniture and sport goods. It was agreed that the next meeting of the Steering Committee would take place in September in Kislovodsk.

In the framework of its psychosocial rehabilitation project in Chechnya - and with the financial support from USAID - UNICEF has signed an agreement with the NGO SERLO, which will, inter alia, ensure the monitoring of all project-related activities, including the establishment of the two complementary networks of school-based and rehabilitation centre-based networks in Chechnya, the training of psychologists and the distribution of equipment as well as materials.