ITF and Slovenia`s Development Cooperation
The Government of the Republic of Slovenia is among major ITF donors. With regular yearly donations for ITF projects it has contributed more than 13.5 million USD out of which over 4.2 million EUR was contributed through the Department for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance. Between 2017 and 2018, an additional amount of 740,000 EUR is allocated for the following projects:
- Enhancing Psychosocial Wellbeing of Children from Ukraine (more information)
- Medical Rehabilitation of a Victim of Armed Conflict in Ukraine (more information)
- Support to Mine Detection Centre (MDC) Polyclinic in Kabul, Afghanistan (more information)
- Psychosocial Support of Victims of Conflict and the Support in the Field of Comprehensive Rehabilitation in Gaza Strip (more information)
- Mine and Explosive Remnants of War Risk Education (MRE) for Syrian Refugees in Jordan (more information)
- Medical Rehabilitation of Children from Belarus (more information)
- Support of ITF Representative Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) (more information)
- School and peer mediation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (more information)
- Integrated Program of Telemedicine and E-Health in Cabo Verde (more information)
- Organization of the seminar for DAICMA experts and support of ITF Temporary Representative Office in Bogota, Colombia (more information)
Enhancing psychosocial wellbeing of children from Ukraine
The so-called Ukrainian crisis with its salient international implications, erupted in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. In spite of the Minsk agreements, attempts to provide a peaceful resolution to the conflict, and a significant reduction of hostilities in certain parts of eastern Ukraine recently, the political and security situation remains uncertain and poses an immediate threat to human safety. These traumatic events cause severe psychological distress and negatively impact the mental health and psychosocial well-being of the most vulnerable group – children.
In order to address the needs of children affected and traumatized by the conflict in Ukraine, ITF is implementing a project for the enhancement of their psychosocial well-being. Since 2014, 321 conflict affected children facing trauma and other psychosomatic disorders have already been included in intensive psychosocial rehabilitation programs at Debeli rtič, Slovenia, and another 80 will be able to receive the necessary support by the end of 2018.
Medical rehabilitation of a victim of armed conflict in Ukraine
The so-called Ukrainian crisis having salient international implications erupted in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. In spite of the Minsk agreements and attempts to provide a peaceful resolution to the conflict, hostilities continue to pose an immediate threat to human security. Although we have in the last few months seen a significant reduction of hostilities in certain parts of eastern Ukraine, the political and security situation still remains uncertain.
At least 10,225 people have so far lost their lives and 24,541 people have been wounded (out of which at least 182 children) in east of Ukraine according to the UNHCHR statistics, while actual numbers are likely to be higher due to severe unexploded ordnance contamination. Humanitarian situation is dire with many people struggling to satisfy the basic needs and with government struggling to provide medical assistance. In an exemplary case, ITF provided aid and physical rehabilitation to a girl who lost her left leg in 2015 during the conflict in Mariupol, Ukraine. As of this year, the girl has undergone three phases of medical rehabilitation and received a regular below-knee prosthesis and a secondary prosthesis to be used in water. However, due to her continuous growth, rehabilitation requires a sustainable and comprehensive approach in order to enhance her general health and well-being. This also helps lay the foundation for the long-term reintegration process. The project, which will continue in 2018, is co-financed by the Republic of Ireland and private donors.
Support to mine detection centre (MDC) polyclinic in Kabul, Afghanistan
In the shadow of never-finished wars, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world. 50% of the population lives 1 hour on foot away of the closest medical facility and 37% of the population lives 2 hours away. Based on statistical data, 74% of medical services must be paid for which demonstrates an issue of accessibility. Health issues are often associated with fertility, with an extremely high birth mortality rate. In addition, transmitted diseases account for half of all deaths in Afghanistan.
The project of supporting the MDC Polyclinic in Kabul is co-financed by the United States of America and enables free healthcare support to de-miners and their families as well as the population of Kabul. The care includes physiotherapeutic, psychosocial, gynecological, and dental services as well as examinations and consultations. Additionally, radiological, laboratory and pharmaceutical services will be provided. The project specifically focuses on services for women and children who cannot afford healthcare.
Psychosocial support of victims of conflict and the support in the field of comprehensive rehabilitation in Gaza strip
ITF started its engagement in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in 2009. In cooperation with the University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia – Soča (URI – Soča), ITF has since been developing and implementing projects that include physical/mental rehabilitation and local/national capacity building in the field of rehabilitation. Between 2009 and 2015, 109 children from Gaza (eleven groups) were rehabilitated at URI – Soča, over 300 children were medically triaged in Gaza by a joint URI/ITF team and 20 local physiotherapists underwent training at URI – Soča.
The current project, co-financed by the Republic of Korea and OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), is primarily aimed at providing psychosocial support to children who are victims of armed conflict in Gaza Strip. Secondly, the project focuses on contributing to faster and more effective reintegration of victims into society as well as improving the expertise on comprehensive rehabilitation. Lastly, it aims to improve the skills of experts in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Mine and explosive remnants of war risk education (MRE) for Syrian refugees in Jordan
As a result of the armed conflict in Syria in 2011, almost 11.5 million Syrians were forced to leave their homes. The immediate effect of the armed conflict is the extensive contamination of areas with landmines, ERW and other unexploded ordnance that prevent and hinder the return of refugees to their homes. Jordan is hosting approximately 657,000 registered Syrian refugees and is second only to Lebanon, a country with the largest number of refugees per capita in the world.
The aim of the project is to raise risk awareness and safety among Syrian refugees in Jordan as well as to minimize the number of possible mine/ERW victims upon returning to their homeland. The program focuses on the implementation of MRE workshops for approximately 12,000 Syrian refugees in primary and secondary schools in the Irbid province as well as for approximately 8,000 Syrian refugees in the Zaatari refugee camp in the Mafraq province.
Medical rehabilitation of children from Belarus
Chernobyl is infamously marked as the worst nuclear accident in history. The radioactive particles from the explosion in 1986 still present a serious health risk to the lives of many people. Medical estimates suggest up to 4,000 people will die prematurely due to radiation exposure and thousands more still suffer health effects, primarily in today’s Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
Until now, 119 children between the ages of 7 and 14, affected by the nuclear accident in Chernobyl, received comprehensive medical rehabilitation in Slovenia through ITF. Next year, an additional 30 children will be included in the medical rehabilitation program containing inter alia respiratory physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and endurance exercises that will improve their health as well as their general well-being.
Support of ITF Representative Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH)
The ITF Representative Office in BIH has been active in-country (BIH) since 1999 by supporting the national mine action strategic goals through implementation of ITF’s mine action humanitarian mission. This mission is executed through a combination of demining, raising mine/UXO contamination awareness, mine/UXO victims' assistance, rehabilitation and national capacities' support. In addition, ITF's activities also include evaluation, monitoring and communication as well as coordination with the donors/embassies and BIH institutions.
The peaceful settlement of disputes is key at preventing conflicts on both an international and personal level. The aim of the project is to empower teachers and peers to independently solve conflict situations and thus strengthen tolerance, communication and equality.
In cooperation with the European Centre for Dispute Resolution and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, 9 teachers and 30 pupils will be trained to perform mediation. They will also be able to implement the new skills not only in the classroom but beyond it in the future. The project of School and Peer Mediation in BIH is especially important since solving conflicts in a constructive and peaceful way enhances inter-ethnic and intercultural tolerance and improves communication in order to build sustainable peace in post-conflict and transitional societies.
Integrated telemedicine and e-health program in Cabo Verde
With the support of the Republic of Slovenia, 11 telemedicine centers were built between 2012 and 2014 and in 2016, linking all nine inhabited islands of Cabo Verde. An established and operational national telemedicine and e-health network improves the accessibility and quality of health services, provides regular training for health personnel and reduces healthcare costs. By enabling teleconsulting, it reduces the number of patient evacuations to one of the two tertiary health-care institutions on the archipelago or even abroad (Portugal).
Between 2017 and 2018, under a two-year donation contract with the Slovenian MFA, ITF will establish two additional telemedicine centers, one in Santa Cruz (Santiago Island) and the other in Tarrafal de Sao Nicolau (Sao Nicolau Island). Easier and faster access to quality health services would be available for at least 33,000 inhabitants of the Santa Cruz Municipality and 5,400 inhabitants of the S. Nicolau Municipality. The other segment of activities includes lectures targeting 80 healthcare personnel in Cabo Verde in the clinical discipline of traumatology and critical care.
Organization of the seminar for DAICMA experts and support of ITF Temporary Representative Office in Bogota, Colombia
In September 2016 ITF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mine Action Centre of Colombia (Dirección para la Acción Integral contra Minas Antipersonal – DAICMA), which enabled the establishment of official cooperation between ITF and DAICMA in areas of development and implementation of mine action activities in Colombia. Due to the necessity for close cooperation between ITF and DAICMA and the scale of programs implemented in Colombia, ITF established a Temporary Representative Office in Bogota.
With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia for the temporary representative office, ITF is able to conduct all the necessary activities and projects for helping Colombia tackle and solve problems in mine action. The presence of ITF through the established office offers easier communication and implementation of activities related to project development and implementation. This not only increases efficiency and coordination between ITF and DAICMA, but also with other relevant actors of mine action in Colombia. The temporary representative office also covers the organization and monitoring of events, which bring potential new projects and help identify the desires of the donor community.
The temporary representative office provides and enhances the presence of ITF as an organization in demining activities in Colombia and efforts of declaring Colombia a mine free country. With the support of Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the ITFs office, the Republic of Slovenia enjoys a visible role of a donor country that strives for a global initiative of demining Colombia.