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UNICEF in Georgia

NEWSLETTER, February 2011 (#14)

UNICEF supports Rugby Festival, promotes health lifestyle We are delighted with the vision of the Georgian Rugby Union, and we are happy to further enhance our partnership and to work together to build a healthy new generation”.

Play sport, li­ve healthy – was the slogan for the UNICEF-supported Rugby festival for children aged 14-15, at Gori stadium on November 21. Twelve teams from across the country took part in the tournament which sought to promote healthy living, and to inform young people about tobacco, drugs, HIV/AIDS and alcohol.

Messages about living a healthy lifestyle were communicated to children throughout the tournament, at the end of which, the participants were awarded certificates and prizes. Representatives of the Georgian Rugby Union, the National Rugby Team and UNICEF welcomed the participants, once again highlighting the need to engage in sports and live a healthy lifestyle.

“For UNICEF, sport is much more than a form of entertainment. Sport is critical to a child’s development. It teaches core values such as cooperation and respect. It improves health and reduces the likelihood of disease” said Roeland Monasch, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “Rugby is a very popular sport in Georgia, and young people play rugby not only to win but to play together – it promotes real team spirit.

“I like playing rugby. I made a lot of friends here, and I am glad that I met players from the Georgian National Team. Maybe one day I will also play for the national team”, said 14-year-old David, one of the participants in the tournament.

Contact: David Gvineria, project coordinator, +995 99 91225291,

Enhancing child-friendly reporting in Georgia The Georgian media is characterised by sensational, stereotyped reporting on children-related issues, and frequently discloses the identities of children who have been in conflict with the law or victims of violence. UNICEF is working to address this issue through raising the awareness of children’s rights among journalists in the country and promoting child-friendly reporting.

discussion about reporting on children and media ethics in Georgia was held at the Frontline Georgia Club on 19 November. The head of the information service at one of Georgia’s leading independent TV stations said after the meeting: “We will be more careful now and will try not to make mistakes; and if we still do, we will address them as soon as possible. After the Round-table at the Media Frontline Club I am on alert when it comes to reporting on children.”

Four trainings for more than 80 journalists from different regions across Georgia have been held to improve understanding of children’s rights and international ethical norms. The trainings sought to promote more responsible coverage of children in the Georgian media.

On December 7, a Memorandum of Understanding between UNICEF and four leading Georgian universities – the Ilia State University, Tbilisi State University, the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, and the University of Georgia – was signed, formalising the inclusion of a new ‘Children’s Rights and Journalism Practice’ syllabus into journalism degree courses - ensuring that future generations of journalists will report responsibly and respectfully on child-related issues. The syllabus has been developed by the UNICEF Regional Office in Geneva with the support of the Dublin Institute of Technology.

To mark the 21st Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a round-table

Contact: Maya Kurtsikidze, UNICEF Communication Officer, +995 99 533071,


Paata Burchuladze, new UNICEF Ambassador in Georgia

“We are delighted to welcome Paata Burchuladze to UNICEF”, said Roeland Monasch, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “Mr. Burchuladze’s voice will deliver a truly powerful message on behalf of Georgia’s children. His popularity across the country and beyond and his commitment to children will undoubtedly put the spotlight on issues affecting children in Georgia.” “This is an honor for me”, said Paata Burchuladze, new Ambassador for UNICEF Georgia. “It is a huge responsibility and I will do my best to continue supporting children in Georgia and to justify this title.” he added.

to advocate for the best interests of children through delivering messages to those who can make a real difference.

Alongside his work with the Iavnana Foundation, Mr Burchuladze’s partnership with UNICEF Georgia will further enhance his endeavors

Contact: Maya Kurtsikidze, UNICEF Communication Officer, +995 99 533071,

Christmas fundraising event for children bread house in the main hall of the Radisson and decorated it with colorful candy. Children and parents attending the event made donations to their peers in need. The money collected, GEL 1,074.80, was handed over to UNICEF Georgia for its programmes to support vulnerable children.

Editorial Note The Newsletter of the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF in Georgia, is published in English and Georgian. Our publication provides the public with information on UNICEF activities in Georgia. This is the fourteenth issue of the Newsletter. Comments and recommendations concerning the publication are welcome. Let us know if you wish to obtain any additional information on UNICEF and its work. We welcome any feedback, suggestions or contributions. If you wish to obtain a copy of the Newsletter or any other information, please contact Maya Kurtsikidze, Communication Officer at the UNICEF Office in Georgia. Telephone: (995 32) 232388, 251130 E-mail:

NEWSLETTER, February 2011 (#14)


On 3 December, Paata Burchuladze, the famous opera singer and world-renowned bass, was appointed as the first National Ambassador for UNICEF in Georgia, joining forces with UNICEF to advocate for children’s rights.

In December, UNICEF partnered with the Radisson Blue Iveria Hotel in a Christmas fundraising event. Hundreds of children visited a giant ginger-

UNICEF in Georgia NEWSLETTER, February 2011 (#14)

2011 sees the start of a new five-year Government of Georgia/UNICEF country programme seeking to help the country achieve its commitments to children under the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. The new country programme, through its two major components – ‘Integrated and inclusive systems for children’ and ‘Social policy, child rights monitoring & communication’ – is designed to ensure that children, especially those living in the poorest families, are able to benefit from quality social services, enabling them to enjoy life in a family environment. The programme will also support the Government in providing quality education to all school-aged children, and will contribute to reducing child mortality by strengthening perinatal services in the country. Children in conflict with the law will remain an important

target for UNICEF, and the programme will work to ensure that more children are diverted from the penitentiary system, with greater support from social workers and psychologists. UNICEF will also work with the Government and civil society partners in the implementation and monitoring of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The New Year has started with a new program­ me, new commitments and renewed hope that by 2015, all children in Georgia will have the services envisioned in 2000. There is still a lot of work to be done in the coming five years and we cannot do it alone. Only through close collaboration with our partners will Georgia be able to achieve tangible results for its children. We will update you on the progress of the programme in the following issues of our newsletter. Roeland Monasch UNICEF Representative in Georgia

New Action Plan for further reform of the Child Welfare System in Georgia The ongoing UNICEF-supported reform of the Child Welfare System has already reaped considerable results: the development and improvement of legislation to reduce administrative barriers to a child’s reintegration into its biological family, or into adoption or foster care; strengthening the role of social workers; the establishment of regional bodies for guardianship; a reduction of the number of orphanages from 46 to 20, and the number of children in residential care from 5000 to 1300. As part of the reform, 37 small group homes, modelled around family living, have opened throughout the country, catering for a total of 254 children. In January 2011, with financial support from USAID, UNICEF signed partnership agreements

with EveryChild, Save the Children, First Step, and Children of Georgia, to provide support to the Government of Georgia in implementing

UNICEF in Georgia

NEWSLETTER, February 2011 (#14)

its new Child Care System Reform Plan of Action for 2011-2012. The new, recently-finalised Action Plan envisions the closure of all remaining large-scale institutions in the country. The ambitious plan will further strengthen the role of social work in child care; expand the quantity and quality of foster care; scaleup the number of small group homes - each catering for no more than 8-10 children; and strengthen services for the prevention of child abandonment. Contact: Aaron Greenberg, UNICEF Child Protection Chief, +995 99 91225290,

The Parent-Baby Book A new national child health record Educational tool - Recent studies have shown that families throughout the country demonstrate inadequate knowledge and practices with regard to the care of young children, particularly in relation to healthcare, and development. To address these challenges, the Parent-Baby Book is designed so that it also serves as an educational tool for families and caregivers, and contains a wealth of information on child health, development and protection. The issues addressed in the book include health care and nutrition for children and mothers, clean water and sanitation, psycho-social care, and early learning.

On 17 December, 2010, the Ministry of Labor, Health & Social Affairs, the Reproductive Health Council, the Civil Registry Agency and UNICEF launched a new Parent-Baby Book, which will be introduced for all new-born children from 2011. The Parent-Baby Book is personal record of a child’s health and development, and aims to record the growth and development of each individual child from birth to the age of six. The Parent-Baby Book is being promoted as an integral part of the Georgian healthcare system, and will be distributed through maternity wards and public healthcare facilities to families across the country when a child is born. Before a mother is discharged from their maternity ward, health care workers will provide support to families in the use and maintenance of the Parent-Baby Book, continuing this process through subsequent contact between families and public healthcare facilities.

tre, the Emergency Management Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, UNICEF and the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission, which foresees the development and incorporation of a special disaster preparedness programme into the national school curriculum.

on key developmental and health milestones, and best parenting practices for their children. Furthermore the new system will send reminders relating to key health events to parents and caregivers: For example, SMS messages will be sent on specific dates to remind of the need to visit the immunization clinic for vaccinations in line with the national calendar.

A Technical Working Group has been established to review the current national education and disaster preparedness policy, and to initiate the process of mainstreaming disaster preparedness and risk reduction into formal education and schools’ extra-curricular activities. The pro-

The service will be available in all of the country’s major languages, with parents being given the option to choose the language in which they wish to receive updates. Contact: Tamar Ugulava, UNICEF Health Officer, +995 99 92 90 09,

The software, developed under the leadership of the Civil Registration Agency, also allows for the dissemination of vital information relating to child care, early childhood issues, and appropriate practices to parents and caregivers via SMS. Parents are able to receive tailored advice based on their child’s age via three of Georgia’s major telecoms providers: MAGTI, GeoCell and Beeline. Parents will receive updates


Contact: Dragan Markovich, UNICEF Georgia Emergency Officer, +995 99 517 614,

Juvenile Justice Reform Gathers pace

Children in Georgia learn how to respond to natural disasters

Progress on the reform of the Georgian penitentiary system for young convicted offenders was reviewed at a conference organised on 26 November by the Ministry of Corrections, Probation and Legal Affairs, with the support of the Ministry of Justice, UNICEF, the Georgian Centre for Psychological and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT), and the European Union. The initiative is part of UNICEF’s ‘Reform Options for the Penitentiary and Probation Systems for Convicted Child Offenders in Georgia’ project, which is working to support the Georgian government in its reform of the national juvenile justice system. The project been underway since March 2009, and is being implemented by the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance, the Ministry of Justice and UNICEF, with the financial support of the European Union.

Empowering parents through text messaging To complement the Parent-Baby Book, UNICEF, in partnership with the Civil Registry Agency, has supported the establishment of a new, electronic Child Record system. The system ensures up-to-date health-related information is available on each child in the country; the information can be accessed and managed by health professionals at child health facilities throughout Georgia.

gramme will see the development of a relevant curriculum, and the training of teachers, with the introduction of the curriculum in eight pilot schools in disaster prone regions throughout Georgia - including Tbilisi. The project also envisions the development of policy and legislation to further strengthen education on disaster preparedness, and a number of information campaigns for children on safety practices and disaster risks.

There is a deficit of knowledge among children and their caregivers, particularly in conflict-affected and disaster-prone areas, on skills related to disaster preparedness. Furthermore, the current school curriculum and related teacher training programmes fail to provide children and teachers with the knowledge they require to be adequately prepared in the event of a natural disaster.

Georgia is a signatory of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), an international plan of action that by 2015 seeks to substantially reduce the impact of disasters – in terms of lives, and in terms of damage to social, economic and environmental assets. Within this context, a new partnership initiative has been launched by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, the National Curriculum and Assessment Cen-


capacity. New regulations for detention facilities have also been adopted which clearly outline the responsibilities of all persons working with convicted juveniles. Learning opportunities for young offenders have been further enhanced, with training given to teachers at penitentiary facilities across the country carried out by the Ministry of Education and Science.

Since early 2010, UNICEF has supported the development of a new approach to juvenile justice in the country’s penitentiary system. The approach entails individual plans for convicted juveniles which take into account their individual needs and requirements; these plans enable tailor-made programme to be developed for young offenders, supporting their rehabilitation and reintegration into mainstream society.

A separate juvenile parole board for the consideration of applications for Early Conditional Release was also established in October with the support of UNICEF. This board will ensure that adequate consideration is given to juveniles’ applications for early release, contributing to a reduction in the number of children held in detention.

The project has seen the number of social workers and psychologists working on needs assessments for young offenders increased, and support given to training programmes to build their

Contact: Aaron Greenberg, UNICEF Child Protection Chief, +995 99 91225290,


Newsletter - UNICEF in Georgia  

What UNICEF is doing in Georgia, 2011

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