UNICEF Tajikistan together with the Ministry of Labor, Migration and Employment of the Population and with the support of the European Union (EU) organized the second meeting of the Project Advisory Committee yesterday to discuss joint efforts to improve the environment and systems in the country that will allow increased protection of children affected by migration, according to the EU Delegation to Tajikistan.

The 42-month project on “Protecting Children Affected by Migration in Southeast, South and Central Asia” with a total budget of EUR 12,140,550 for eight countries, which came into active implementation phase in the summer of 2018, aims to enable children affected by migration (and their caregivers), including those left behind by migrating parents, to access the necessary social and protection services. The European Union contribution to the project constitutes 10,557,000 euro.

The Deputy Minister of Labor, Migration and Employment of the Population, Mr. Nourullo Mahmadullozoda, welcomed members of the Project Advisory Committee and gave an overview of the situation of migration and the work of the Ministry.

The Project Advisory Committee, which comprises members from a wide range of Ministries, international organizations, UN agencies and local NGOs, reportedly discussed the progress of the project since its inception and agreed on a working plan for the next six months of the project.

Over the reporting stage, project implementers have identified 200 children affected by migration and begun assisting 62 families with access to birth certificates, identification documents, legal and social counseling.  As part of the project, six pilot social assistance at home units were refurbished with essential equipment’s needed to transform into a center for social services provision. First 30 para social workers have been oriented with issues related to statelessness, child protection, migration and social protection.

Following the opening, Stefano Ellero, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to Tajikistan mentioned, “Migration is a crucial aspect in the reality of Tajikistan. We are all aware of the deep impacts it has on the families left behind and especially on the most vulnerable members within the families: children.  The EU is very proud to have established through this program a valuable partnership with UNICEF and the Government of Tajikistan to provide a better living environment for children affected by migration.”

Representative of the UNICEF Tajikistan, Mr. Luciano Calestini said: “Migration is part of the fabric of the lives of tens of millions of people around the world, and has become a defining socio-economic feature of our time.  While migration can bring benefits to families and children, we should also consider the social costs of children who are negatively affected or at risk.  Many children are often pushed to the margins of society, face difficulties accessing services, and are vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse as a consequence of migration. We thank our partners from the Government of Tajikistan who are taking action to improve the situation of the children affected by migration, including those left behind, and thank the European Union for their commitment and support on this critical issue.”