In Moldavia, the “Veolia Environnement” Foundation provides its help to Unicef as part of an ambitious pilot programme, designed to guarantee every child a school environment that is favorable to his development.
Placing the child at the centre of the school, considering his well-being comprehensively (health, nutrition, life in the family and in the community), creating an environment that favors learning, through the quality of the teachers, the educational methods and the work setting: it is in this spirit that UNICEF has for several years been promoting the concept of Child Friendly Schools already implemented in many countries (Cambodia, India, Kosovo, Mongolia, etc.). In 2008, it is launching the same type of pilot experiment in Moldavia, an Eastern European country that has been independent since 1991, witnessing growth of some 8% per year but where 30% of the 4 million inhabitants live below the poverty threshold. (source unicef.org and unicef.fr, NB 4.2 million inhabitants with Transnistria)
This project, under a joint partnership between UNICEF and the Moldavian education authorities, concerns issues of training (capacities of the teachers, educational content), prevention (battling violence at school, rules of hygiene and living, etc.) as well as infrastructures. The idea is to ensure, for each school, access to the essential services, in other words, water, sanitation and heating, areas in which the Veolia Environment Foundation provides its technical expertise.
Access to essential services: water and heating
To satisfy the prerequisites for success in the large-scale implementation of the approach, the schools have been invited by the Education Ministry to respond to a national contest organized by UNICEF to select the 2 or 3 target schools, according to the prerequisites identified during the first two assessments made by Veolia Water force last spring, particularly in terms of permanence of the establishment, motivation of the teaching team, availability of good quality water and energy resources, and the involvement of the local populations.
Fully aware of the general problem of water quality in Moldavia, the Moldavian ministries in charge of education and youth, and of health, have also authorized the international organization to conduct a national audit on the quality of the water consumed in the schools (including in Transnistria). UNICEF therefore again solicited the technical support of the Foundation, and a third field mission, as part of the agreement to release personnel assigned with Veolia Eau, is being prepared to validate the feasibility of the project and to determine the rules and procedures. The aim is to deliver a certificate attesting to the drinkability of the water point that supplies each school.
At the financial level, the initial budget of UNICEF for the two aspects of this project ("Children Friendly School" and water quality audit) amounts to $1.5 million. This budget should be backed by other partners, including the Veolia Environment Foundation for the infrastructures portion, once the final perimeter of the project has been decided. As a first approximation, the cost of the water supply, sanitation, heating and thermal insulation works has been estimated at between 80 K€ and 100 K€ for each of two or three target schools.
But the ultimate challenge is clearly to initiate the upgrading to standards of all the schools in Moldavia, by drawing the lessons from these two initiatives to quantify and to mobilize the necessary financing.
- Identity : Child Friendly Schools Unicef Moldavie
- Place : all Moldavian districts
- Sponsor : Jean-Pascal Rigolleau, Veolia Énergie - Dalkia
- Foundation grant : 150,000 euros
- Board of Trustees: June 05, 2008