In Turkmenistan, the sphere of providing inclusive social services to the population is expanding. In particular, since November last year, a new profession of a specialist in social work has been introduced at the etrap level.
This work is carried out within the framework of the Joint Program “Improving the social protection system through the introduction of inclusive quality social services at the local level”, implemented by the UN and the government of Turkmenistan.
Inclusive social services are currently being carried out through 45 social workers who work at the level of the capital (12 specialists) and velayats (6 specialists each in Ahal, Balkan and Dashoguz velayats, 7 in Lebap, 8 in Mary). In total, the services of social workers cover 20 etraps, including the etraps of the city of Ashgabat.
The new profession of a specialist in social work implies the provision of primary care to families and individuals in difficult life situations.
What is included in this primary care. First of all, every social worker relies on an assessment of the needs of vulnerable families or individuals such as lonely elderly people in their work. The assessment takes into account the strengths and weaknesses, the potential of the family, the available resources in order to provide competent assistance in the future.
Further assistance is to support people through difficult times in their lives. At the same time, the assistance provided by a specialist can be different, depending on the needs - assistance in collecting documents, accompanying, if necessary, processing documents, for example, for disability or for treatment, searching for a specialist who is competent in the current situation, for example, a lawyer or a medical specialist. Also, the work of the social worker includes competent readdressing to a competent institution, which will take control of the problem of the person who applied.
Assistance can be one-time, as well as long-term according to an individual plan of work with a specific family. In any case, the task of a social work specialist is to ensure that people who turn to them for help recover and get out of a difficult life situation, in which they, for some reason, have found themselves.
Since then, more than 500 cases have been registered, affecting more than 2,500 people, of which 40% are children and 9% are elderly people. The cases include family members affected by the same issue.
Earlier, we reported that all social workers underwent comprehensive training in accordance with the objectives of the Joint Program, including a seminar on a new social service - family therapy.
As a reminder, the Joint Program aims to introduce a new model of social services at the local level, together with relevant legislative reviews and capacity building of social workers. The program, the implementation period of which is 2020-2022, is funded by the Joint SDG Fund and implemented by the UN agencies: UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA and UNODC in cooperation with the Government of Turkmenistan.