Save the Children began its partnership with Georgian families and communities in 1993. Initially SC programs focused mainly on supporting socially vulnerable people suffering from social and economic crises (caused by the Soviet Union collapse) and then the humanitarian and emergency response activities for the internally displaced persons from Abkhazia due to civil war. However, from 1997 SC gradually shifted focus to development programs and, since then, SC and its many partners in Government and civil society have successfully implemented projects in child protection, formal and non-formal education, social and economic development, including microfinance, civil society strengthening, women’s health, STI/HIV-AIDS intervention and emergency preparedness as well as response and assistance. From 1993 through 2008 donors provided $120 M in humanitarian and development funding to Save the Children for direct response and implementation as well as significant forward-funding and capacity building for dozens of national and international NGOs. Strong support to key Georgian NGOs continues today.
In August 2008 [six years after the last humanitarian program, which was $1.2M in EFP/ECHO drought relief funding for Emergency Drought Assistance in 2000-2002 to promote food production and enhance food security to farmer households] SC renewed emergency response activities following Georgia’s five-day war with Russia. The response focused on creating Child-friendly Spaces (CfS) and other child protection activities as well as on distributing food and non food items to new IDP in partnership with WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR, FAO, ECHO and OFDA. The CfS provided warm and safe play areas for children and youth in the post-conflict / transition stage.
Over the last five years SC in Georgia via intensive cooperation with relevant state structures (Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection, etc.) and partner NGOs (First Step Georgia, Alert, Tanadgoma, Bemoni, etc.) has achieved impressive results in child protection, education, child rights governance, and HIV prevention areas by - (i) advocating for the inclusion and effective implementation of better practices, programs and policies; (ii) developing evidence-based, replicable solutions; and (iii) partnering with relevant ministries, stakeholders and other duty bearers - for achieving immediate and lasting change for children and families of Georgia.
As an effort of SC advocacy, for the first time in Georgia, and perhaps in the South Caucasus region, a Social Worker Supervision System was developed and endorsed by SSA. Furthermore, the Reintegration Concept, which describes and addresses every stage and aspect of a child leaving state care and reunifying with his/her biological family was endorsed by the State. In addition, all 24 state-run DCC in Georgia working with disabled children were assessed against minimum standards and were provided with a comprehensive and standardized twenty-day training in the basics of working with children with special needs.
For the first time in Georgia, a National Disability Software database was created to collect and analyze data on persons with disabilities and/or applicants requesting disability status. In addition, SC developed a new disability assessment structure/model noting the importance of including a functional assessment while granting disability status. The Home Based Care Model describing the whole process and procedures of service delivery to children with severe disabilities in the home environment was developed and effectively implemented.
Now the goal of Save the Children is for vulnerable children to be safe and protected, and better able to attain their rights. Our 2013-2015 strategic objectives are that vulnerable children in Georgia are supported to cope with psychosocial distress and integrate in society, and are protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.