This program seeks to improve access of vulnerable groups in targeted communities to have better access to social services through civil society engagement. EEF will assist local NGOs to promote adequate support of local authorities and inhabitants in targeted communities for the integration in the social life of marginalized groups through capacity building and advocacy campaigns. EEF and its partners will empower vulnerable groups in targeted communities to know and be able to claim their rights.
The project builds upon the previous experience acquired during 2009-2011, whereby the Soacial Action Program was carried out. Three hundred children from 6 orphanages benefited of project activities within the program implementation: vocational classes are equipped with necessary pieces: bakery, woodworking, agriculture and sawing and 180 representatives of the NGOs and State institutions were trained in the social inclusion and human rights fields. The experience showed that the project contributed to the respect of children’s rights, in particular provided by UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Moldova in 1993. The Convention expressly stipulates in article 27 (1) the “… right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development”.
The social system in Moldova targeting the vulnerable groups of people is still facing many obstacles. The inclusion of children with disabilities is a big challenge for national education system. Currently, the Ministry of Education has no resources to cover all the needs and openly relies on donors and CSOs. A strategic partnership was forged with UNICEF and three major CSOs acting in the field, but those only cover 12 of 53 institutions. Inclusive education programs run mostly in donor-funded schools. These efforts are yet sporadic and insufficient.
Even if in many sectors actual Government registered positive changes, the protection of the most marginalized groups has not been notably improved. The current deinstitutionalizing efforts have only covered 40% of orphans, managed to close or reorganize only 10 out of 63 orphanages and boarding schools, with another 12 being under transformation (of which only 3 to be closed).
EEF proposes a project that will support the National Program for Inclusive Education 2011-2020 and the National Strategy on the Reform of the Residential Child Care System for 2007-2012 by assisting the inclusion of deinstitutionalized orphans from three residential institutions into general education schools and to support their further integration into the labor market.
Another layer of population lacking elementary social infrastructure is the elderly people. The current system of support for retired and disabled people is primarily welfare-driven. Local governments and private charities provide social assistance to vulnerable populations in the form of cash payments or in-kind donations. This is not enough to support a dignified lifestyle.
EEF-M identified as needs of elderly and disabled people the access to social, legal and medical services, and the low quality of these services; the lack of social activity; and limited opportunities for communication with peers and community members and will try to offer support in salving all these problems. Thus, the project will focus on 3 target groups: children in difficulty, persons with disabilities and elderly people.
This component foresees capacity building for teachers and social workers, summer programs where children newly included into the mainstream schools will benefit from academic and social transition classes, mentoring and tutoring during the year, life skills and social inclusion activities, methodological manuals for teachers, social workers and assisting teachers involved in inclusion of social orphans and their academic transition into the general schools system and support to children with special needs to integrate into general education.
EEF will award for each of the three targeted localities grants that will be provided to support inclusion into mainstream education of children with disabilities.
Expert support will be provided to develop methodical materials for teachers and social assistants, transition curricula for persons with disabilities coming from boarding and auxiliary schools, train teachers and tutors and organize transition schooling and tutoring with the involvement of existing CSOs active in the field.
Support from local authorities will be mobilized to ensure accessibility for children with disabilities. Based on good practices from other countries appropriate trainings will be conducted for schools administrations and teacher to ensure best use of the amended curriculum and methodological guidance.
The project will also address the needs of elderly people by creating community centers which will provide support to retired persons to access social, legal and medical services and will also create possibilities of social inclusion of this layer of population, considered the most vulnerable at the moment.
This program will be implemented during 2012-2016.