Turkmenistan’s Joint Programme (JP) for Integrated Social Protection seeks to facilitate transformative change in the system of social service delivery, particularly in support of the most deprived and vulnerable populations. A new model of inclusive community-based services for children at risk of separation from parents, children without parental care, children with disabilities, youth at risk, women facing gender-based violence, people with disabilities, and older persons in need of basic everyday care is being designed for this purpose.
Over the first six months, a high-level Steering Committee was established with government partners and participating UN agencies (PUNOs). Inaugural meetings of the Steering Committee and Working Group took place to launch the JP and endorse the detailed joint work plan. Civil society organizations were invited to the second meeting of the Working Group where it was agreed to recommend the Steering Committee to grant membership to Civil society organizations in the Working Group in order to use their unique, valuable expertise in the provision of social services. With the support of the Chief Technical Advisory Group, a briefing note on structural issues related to introducing community-based social workers and social services was also drafted.
The Ministry of Education was engaged to create a National Expert Group to assemble a pool of educators for social work, and develop standards for higher education, curricula and programmes. An inventory of existing social services is currently being conducted through a questionnaire sent to government ministries and NGOs. The recruitment of social workers has been initiated through online platforms, while the recruitment of consultants to conduct a legislative review is also in process. Indeed, despite the ongoing global health crisis, the JP in Turkmenistan has led a successful launch over its first semester.