Chisinau hires Palladium for insight in education needs of refugees

01 August 2022 3 min. read

Moldova’s largest city has hired global social impact consultancy Palladium to help the municipality better serve the needs of refugees.

When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine earlier in the year, daily images emerged of individuals and families fleeing the ensuing violence. An estimated 6.5 million Ukrainians – mostly women, children, and older people – have since sought refuge in neighbouring nations.

While in the short term, thoughts were on how to best support refugees until they could return home, the situation is showing no signs of improving. With the war dragging on, thoughts are now turning to long-term integration for those who made it out of Ukraine.

Chisinau is hosting a large number of Ukrainian refugees

Of the countries where refugee populations have become established, Moldova – which borders Ukraine – is one of the poorest and smallest. In spite of this, the country hosts the highest number of Ukrainian refugees per capita, leaving access for public services under strain, and people from Ukraine struggling to gain the support they need. This is particularly pronounced in the country’s capital city, Chisinau.

Chisinau’s local municipality is spearheading partnerships to prepare the city for longer-term refugee integration. Amid this, access to education has been identified as a critical need for refugee children. The municipality initially reported that there are 47,632 refugee children in the country and only 1,829 of them are integrated in general education institutions, with 1,120 of these estimated in Chisinau.

To help address the situation, the municipality has requested support from the Data for Impact (D4I) project, an initiative of international consultancy Palladium.

Palladium and D4I

For nearly 60 years, Palladium has been helping clients to formulate strategies, build partnerships, and implement national and community programs that have a lasting social and financial impact. The firm’s D4I works with partners in Moldova at national and sub-national levels to collect, analyse, and use data to strengthen protection for children in adversity.

The D4I programme will support Chisinau in this case by mapping children and accompanying adults to understand the particular needs of the refugee population. The project will provide further evidence and documentation to create an accurate picture to determine the necessary support and protection services.

“Now, there’s a need to determine what long-term support is needed for refugees who will be staying a significant amount of time, if not permanently in Moldova,” reports Meg Langley, Palladium Senior Technical Adviser and Child Protection Portfolio Lead.

“One of the reasons we’re creating the mapping tool is to see what the gaps really are – maybe the service exists but information needs to be shared on how to access the service, or maybe there really is a gap that needs to be addressed.”

Disruption to safe learning environments can have lasting impacts on the most vulnerable children, particularly girls and children with disabilities, who are already exposed to acute safeguarding risks.

The mapping exercise is just one activity, and will support the identification of individualised information, such as whether a child has access to formal or informal education, to school supplies and equipment, to digital learning and a secure internet connection, their living arrangements, and their required language of instruction, along with support in accessing other health and social services.

Langley added to that end, “The municipality has taken the lead on reaching out to us for support. They want to understand the refugee needs, and to get information out to the children and accompanying adults on the services they could provide.”

D4I is jointly funded by the United States Agency for International Development and works across five countries employing tools that facilitate case management, long term data tracking, and data integration across agencies to support this goal. The work for Chisinau has been funded through a grant of $1 million to D4I from USAID, to support refugees in Moldova.