Ashgabat, 18 October 2021: The representatives of Turkmenistan’s governmental and non-governmental social service providers and new social work specialists from Ashgabat, Turkmenabat and Mary discussed progress and challenges in piloting new community based social services at a one-day online supervision session in the framework of the UN-Turkmenistan Joint Programme on “Improving the system of social protection through the introduction of inclusive quality community-based social services” (JP). The session was facilitated by the specialists of the Bulgarian Social Activities and Practice Institute (SAPI), national trainers as well as representatives of the UN agencies participating in the JP and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Turkmenistan.

The interactive discussions specifically focused on the most difficult cases of service users from 12 new specialized social services being piloted in Turkmenistan with funding from the UN agencies participating in the JP. Case-presenters representing new specialized social services shared their experiences and challenges with reintegration of some service users into their families and communities, listened to practical advice from other pilots on alternative ways of overcoming difficult life situations of pilot service users in question and received professional guidance and counselling from SAPI. The session participants agreed that such practice of knowledge and experience sharing should continue within and beyond the piloting period for the benefit of social service providers and users.

The online supervision session marks the completion of the comprehensive 10-month long training programme for the newly emerging national social service workforce in Turkmenistan provided by UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Turkmenistan and support of other UN agencies participating in the JP. This capacity building exercise aimed to support Turkmenistan’s efforts in modernizing the existing social service provision system for creation of a national model of inclusive quality community-based social services, specifically addressing the needs of children with disabilities, children without parental care, children at risk of separation from parents, people with disabilities and older persons in need of support, women facing gender-based violence and youth at risk.

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The Joint Programme on “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 with the view of 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 Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population of Turkmenistan is a leading national partner. UNICEF is a leading UN agency in the JP. Other key national partners are Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, and Ministry of Finance and Economy. Implementation period: 2020-2022.

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