“Good social work carries unique, professional, and humanistic qualities [of social service workforce] in all its aspects: knowledge, skills and relations,” notes head of the training team who supports the UN-Turkmenistan Joint Programme on community-based social services. She further notes that without the humanistic side of social work, risks could become bureaucratic and without professionalism, risks could be damaging.
The UN-Turkmenistan Joint Programme on community-based social services funded by the Joint SDG Fund has enabled introduction of inclusive and quality community-based social services by laying the foundations for the development of a Turkmenistan model of social work and social services with common understanding of key concepts emerging among government decision-makers, lawmakers, educators and practitioners. The Joint Programme started to achieve its aim of transforming the system of social service delivery by developing social work as a new profession in Turkmenistan, building social service workforce capacity with trainings and supervision sessions, piloting new social services, and revising the legislation to support the change for leaving no one behind.
The foundational training of the newly recruited 45 social work specialists enabled the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population of Turkmenistan to deploy them in all regions of Turkmenistan for initial assessment of vulnerable populations. The gaps in the existing social service provision were also identified to inform the development of new community based social services. Within the framework of the Joint Programme on social services, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population of Turkmenistan also supported the training of social work managers and representatives of the governmental and non-governmental social service providers.
While social work specialists actively conduct needs assessment of vulnerable people and further continue to support them in their communities, social work managers and social service providers get ready to participate in piloting of specialized community-based social services. Moreover, a group of national social work theorists and practitioners work together with international consultants to develop national standards of higher education, curricula and programs for social work in higher education, that are adapted to the national characteristics of the system of social services in Turkmenistan. It is expected that along with all other joint achievements between UN Agencies and Government of Turkmenistan, it will be an important contribution to strengthen the human resources for social work and social services in the country.
The UN-Turkmenistan Joint Programme, “Improving the system of social protection through the introduction of inclusive quality community-based social services” funded by the Joint SDG Fund, is being implemented by the partnering UN agencies, namely, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, and UNODC and Government of Turkmenistan. The Joint Programme is aimed at introducing a new model of social services at the community level accompanied by relative legislative reviews and capacity building of national social service workforce. The lead national partner is the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of Turkmenistan and the lead UN agency is UNICEF. Other key national partners include the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, and Ministry of Finance and Economy.