Empowering Vulnerable Population

THE CHALLENGE

In spite of sizeable government welfare, most vulnerable populations in Belarus share the problem of exclusion and inefficient assistance.

In 2015, Belarus acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is critical given that there are over 545,000 people with disabilities in Belarus. This breakthrough resulted from many years of advocacy campaigns by disabled people’s organizations.

There is a strong need for expertise and best practices to promote the full integration of vulnerable groups and to implement the Convention.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

  • Form a positive attitude towards the disabled, expand their opportunities, and promote their inclusion;
  • Reduce TIP through awareness raising and promoting safe job searching;
  • Improve assistance to and reintegration of victims of trafficking; and
  • Strengthen the capacity of local civil society organizations (CSOs) to provide support services to vulnerable groups.

OVERVIEW

USAID assists disadvantaged groups, such as vulnerable children, people with disabilities (PWD), people at risk of trafficking and trafficking victims, through the development of community based services, strengthening the capacities of organizations providing support to these populations, and enhancing advocacy efforts to promote their rights and increase public awareness.

OUR PROGRAMS

Supporting Orphans and Vulnerable Children

In 2011-2015, USAID in partnership with Child Find International, USA implemented the project aimed to reduce the number of children in state-administered orphanages and boarding schools by promoting and supporting at-home family care. USAID contributed to increasing the effectiveness of the child protection system and enhancing the family-type placement and rearing opportunities for orphans. The project activities engaged 168 communities in all regions of Belarus. At its completion, the project goal of improving the life conditions of orphans and vulnerable children was reached.

Expanding Participation of People with Disabilities

USAID activities enhance social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities by building the capacity of local PWD organizations. USAID helps disability CSOs to establish and extend a range of services, and improve their ability to promote disability issues on the national agenda and advocate for PWD rights. USAID also promotes inclusive education as a way of integrating PWD into society.

In 2014-2016, USAID supported the Art for Inclusion of People with Disabilities project implemented by the Belarusian Association of Assistance to Children and Young People with Disabilities (BelAPDIiMI). The project aimed to form a positive attitude towards the disabled, expand their opportunities, and promote their inclusion in society. At the moment, USAID continues its partnership with the local NGO through a $300,000 initiative. The three-year project targets the BelAPDIiMI branches in all the six regions of Belarus with an all-round capacity-building program and grant support. USAID will support 30 regional service-providers in their organizational development, broadening the range and improving the quality of services for people with disabilities and their families; developing social enterprises which provide jobs to the disabled; and building professional networks.

Countering Trafficking in Persons

USAID supports enhancing Belarus’ capacity to counter the challenge of human trafficking by strengthening civil society organizations. The project focuses on assistance to victims of trafficking and provision of reintegration services, a targeted information campaign to increase the awareness of people about the dangers of human trafficking, and promoting safe job searching among vulnerable populations.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Supporting Orphans and Vulnerable Children

  • The nationwide level of institutionalization of children in adversity has decreased from 29.4% in 2005 to 16.5% in 2014; the average level of institutionalization in 12 core project communities has decreased to 1%.
  • In 2006-2016, USAID promoted the Parental Resources for Information, Development and Education (PRIDE) methodology, an internationally recognized model for support of families in adoption and fostering. Education authorities accepted the PRIDE methodology for implementation in project target communities and expanded it further through a cadre of PRIDE trainers operating in 24 towns and cities of Belarus.
  • Since 2006, 16,783 children and 19,318 adults were served by 718 new or improved services in 168 geographic locations.
  • Through partnerships with national agencies, USAID supported the creation of a network of six re-training institutes for educators and child welfare workers that promote de-institutionalization programs.
  • By September 2015, 168 communities from all over Belarus had trained specialists on the model of de-institutionalization.
  • New regulations on child welfare have been developed including Standards and Methodological Recommendations for Investigation of Child Abuse and Neglect, and Standards on Social Rehabilitation of Families at Risk.

Expanding Participation of People with Disabilities

  • USAID supported more than 100 new/improved services to PWD through small grants to disability CSOs, including respite care, job placement for PWD, services of mobile support groups for PWD, and others.
  • Advocacy efforts by disability CSOs were boosted.
  • The program Task Group developed a national Master Plan for the development of Inclusive Education in Belarus.

Art for Inclusion of People with Disabilities

  • Over 800 specialists and volunteers were trained in advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.
  • Research on evaluating the PWD stigmatization level among young people was completed. The research results informed an awareness campaign that reached over 500,000 people through creative events, promoting inclusion and reducing stigma.
  • In 2016, through a small grants competition, 14 organizations were supported. Initiatives improved quality and access to social services, promoted inclusion, and improved employment opportunities for young people with disabilities.
  • In 2017, new social services have been piloted in five communities, benefiting over 200 disabled people and their family members.

Countering Trafficking in Persons

  • USAID helped create a counter-trafficking in person network of 19 local CSOs and continues to contribute to their development.
  • The USAID-supported national toll free hotline provides information on safe travel to 144 countries. In FY 2016, the hotline processed over 2,200 calls.
  • To date, 3,600 people received job-skills training conducted by CSOs. USAID partners conducted awareness-raising and educational events on the dangers of TIP for more than 80,000 representatives of at-risk groups, including young people in educational establishments.
  • Since 2005, almost 2,100 victims received reintegration assistance.

Last updated: November 07, 2017

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