Eastern EuropeERIKS Development Partner
ERIKS work in the region
In Eastern Europe ERIKS is working in three countries: Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine. We work in partnership with local organisations using an integrated approach, strengthening children’s rights to education and leisure, health, and protection. The war in Ukraine has affected the security situation all throughout the region where we are providing humanitarian support both in Ukraine but also the bordering countries Romania and Moldova.
Our operations are managed by our regional office in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
In Romania, our primary goal is to empower Roma children and ensure that they have real opportunities for a rewarding life by upholding their rights to protection, education and health care.
Despite recent positive developments, such as economic growth and progress on most of the Sustainable Development Goals, the country continues to have the highest levels of child poverty in the EU, with Roma inclusion being one of its biggest challenges. The percentage of Roma children starting and completing school is far below that of non-Roma children, and the number of Roma families living in informal settlements and segregated areas is significant. Adults lack employment opportunities, which affects their ability to support children’s access to education and health services.
ERIKS’ support is concentrated in the north-western part of the country, with interventions targeting communities with high levels of poverty and a significant Roma population. ERIKS’ portfolio of partners in the country includes an average of five partners implementing multi-annual interventions at both grassroots, regional and national levels.
Through our partners’ interventions, Roma children are supported to enrol and advance in their education. In this respect, schools are prompted to develop customized literacy programmes, thus ensuring inclusive quality education for all children. Mothers and their infants receive direct support and medical care, reducing infant mortality and giving children a better start in life. Girls and boys feel protected as ERIKS’ partners collaborate with local authorities to react firmly and tackle with diligence the child abuse cases.
In Moldova, we focus on inclusive quality education for all children, while also prioritizing the rights to protection and mental health. We continue our efforts to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights for adolescents. Additionally, we provide humanitarian assistance for both Ukrainian refugee children and Moldovan children impacted by the economic downturn.
During recent years, significant measures have been taken to improve the child rights situation in the country. The commitment of the current government for EU integration has positively influenced various political, social, and economic reforms. The awareness of children’s rights, both among children and adults, is however low and not properly covered in schools. Moldova is still counted to be the poorest country in Europe, and the Russian war in Ukraine poses additional difficulties to addressing poverty, including increased political and social tensions, rising energy and food prices and an influx of refugees from Ukraine. These factors increase the risks for the most marginalized children and the fulfilment of their rights, requiring humanitarian and gap-filling development interventions.
ERIKS has four main partner organisations, and its interventions cover the whole country, focusing on areas where the risks of poverty and marginalisation are higher. They implement solutions that create the necessary policy environment to fulfil children’s rights and work with duty bearers to build their capacity to fulfil children’s rights. Through a network of youth-friendly clinics, adolescents have access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services. Children are supported to join platforms and put issues that matter to them on the agenda of decision-makers. Survivors and witnesses of abuse and exploitation are supported and protected with rehabilitation services.
ERIKS’ efforts in Ukraine largely focus on the rights and protection of children and their families in relation to the war covering the thematic areas of education, health, and protection. The implementation, done through our two local partner organisations, focuses on humanitarian support for internally displaced people (IDPs), but also psychosocial assistance to overcome war trauma. ERIKS also provides long-term support for those who stayed in Ukraine and for refugees now returning to the country.
Through two larger programmes, ERIKS ensures that war-affected children and women in the regions of Kyiv, Sumy, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia and Khmelnitsky, are empowered to regain their lives and have the opportunity to participate in the rebuilding of their communities. The programmes cover psychosocial support, social assistance, help for the children in returning to school and support for women in finding job opportunities and sources of income.
Through its regional presence, ERIKS’ has managed to immediately respond to the humanitarian crisis in the region, establish an immediate connection with the local context, understand the cultural specificities of both refugees and host communities, and to keep abreast of developments in Ukraine.
Regional Office in Cluj, Romania
ERIKS Regional Office
Blajului 27, 400393 Cluj-Napoca