Eastern EuropeERIKS Development Partner
ERIKS work in the region
In Eastern Europe ERIKS is working in four countries; Belarus, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine. We work in partnership with local organisations using an integrated approach, strengthening children’s rights to education, health and protection. To increase our presence and being closer to our partners a regional office was established in 2017 in the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
In Belarus we focus on inclusion of vulnerable groups of children, including children with disabilities and youths in conflict with the law.
During recent years, children’s rights have received increased attention by the national authorities and in 2016 the country ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Even though positive developments have been seen, challenges still remain. The percentage of children and youths with disabilities placed in institutions is still high, where the medical model prevails. There is no comprehensive juvenile justice system, the recidivism is high as it focuses on punishment rather than on rehabilitation.
Through the projects supported by ERIKS, children with disabilities have received better opportunities to develop and live a more independent life. Efforts have been implemented to prevent institutionalisation and develop family-type care for children with disabilities. Advocacy, awareness raising and capacity building are carried out to support inclusive education for children with special needs. A better coordination and cooperation between different authorities have also been seen leading to a more comprehensive juvenile rehabilitation system.
In Romania we focus on social inclusion of the Roma population in the Romanian society using an integrated approach to education, health and protection, where livelihood is seen as key to strengthen resilience of communities.
During recent years, an extensive work has been carried out in the country to decrease the level of corruption and generally a positive development can be seen, also as a result of the membership to the EU. However, the country is still one of the poorest within the Union. The majority of the population living below the poverty line is Roma and they are also widely subjected to discrimination. The percentage of Roma children starting and completing school is far below children from non-Roma communities. There is also a problem of un-registered births leading to lack of access to the educational and health care system available in the country. Without an education, the opportunity to receive an employment is limited, leading to further marginalization.
Through the projects being supported by ERIKS, more Roma children receive assistance to be enrolled and complete their education. They are supported with school materials, homework, and have the opportunity to participate in leisure activities, contributing to better school results. Parents realise the importance of education and, by creating working opportunities, the parents become better equipped to support their family and increase their standard of living. Improved health and increased level of protection are two positive effects for children when their parents access an employment and income.
In Moldova we focus on education and protection of vulnerable groups of children and youths. Ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights is also a specific focus within our country programme.
During recent years, significant legislative measures have been taken to improve the child right situation in the country. The school enrolment is high and the proportion of children with disabilities attending general school has substantially increased. There is a nation-wide health insurance scheme in place and a growing primary health care sector. 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 with a high percentage of parents leaving the country in search for better working opportunities. Children are left behind with immense risks including children’s possibilities of completing school, maintaining good health and receiving necessary protection. Sexual and reproductive health is another area of concern where HIV is still widespread in the country.
Through afterschool activities, including assistance with homework and leisure activities, children are better equipped to complete their education and improve their results. Our projects also ensure that more teachers are trained in children’s rights and methods of working with participation within the school. Adolescents have an increased access to health information and services. Integrated services for children victims of abuse are developed at regional level.
ERIKS’ efforts in Ukraine largely focus on the rights and protection of children and their families in relation to the war that started with Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022. Implementation is done through local partners and focus on humanitarian support, both to refugees within the country as well as to those who chose to stay in Ukraine. Relief is given both through cash support and with food packages, clothes, diapers, hygiene items, but also through psychosocial support and social assistance.
In addition to the humanitarian response, ERIKS also provides long-term support for those who stayed in Ukraine and for refugees nowreturning to the country. Through a larger program, which started in August 2022, ERIKS ensures that war-affected children and women in the regions of Kyiv, Sumy, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya, as well as in the city of Kyiv, are empowered to regain their lives and have the opportunity to participate in the rebuilding of their communities. The programme covers psychosocial support, social assistance, help for the children in returning to school and also in finding job opportunities and sources of income.
Download Strategy for Belarus
This pdf is in English.
Download Strategy for Romania
This pdf is in English.
Download Strategy for Moldova
This pdf is in English.