Young Couples in Ukraine to Be Better Prepared for Married Life

17 Apr 2014

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On the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family, the UNDP project "Support to the Social Sector Reform in Ukraine" is contributing to the implementation of the State Programme preparing young couples for entering marriage.

 Twenty years have passed since  the UN General Assembly announced the first International Year of the Family, but the passing time has not decreased the importance of this topic, especially for Ukraine – the country with the highest divorce rate in Europe. Statistics show that every other family splits up. "In 2009 the divorce rate was 46%. In 2011-2012 it rose to 51% and 61% respectively," said Fedor Fomin, the Deputy Head of the Family Policy and Human Services of the Family and Children Department at the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine.

 "However, the average age of newly married couples in Ukraine is lower than in most parts of Europe. In Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Czech Republic, and Hungary the average age upon marriage is 24-25 years old. In Belgium, Germany, Norway, and Finland it is over 27 years old. And in Ukraine it is 23.5 years old”, added Adrian Bukovinsky, an expert on family policy and family relations, and President of the "Family" Charity Fund.

 "Research results suggest that among young couples there is a lack of preparedness for entering marriages, which is causing social problems such as domestic violence, increased divorce rates, and consequently, an increase in single-parent households and child abandonment. Sadly, every fifth family is led by a single mother. Meanwhile, Ukraine also has a low fertility rate (number of births on average by Ukrainian women) of 1.29 children per woman of childbearing age (in Russia – 1.54; in Belarus – 1.44; in France – 2.08)", continues Fedor Fomin

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Based on this data UNDP, jointly with the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, held a series of instructional regional workshops in the cities of Sumy, Rivne and Zaporizhia, which were attended by over 160 government workers from eight regions in Ukraine – Sumska, Poltavska, Kharkivska, Zaporizhska, Dnipropetrovska, Rivnenska, Volynska and Ternopilska.

 "These workshops were intended to illustrate to local authorities the problem of youth preparedness for entering marriage and to therefore encourage them to conduct training for couples. We expect that the training programme will be implemented in every city and village in Ukraine, which will ensure that upon course completion every young couple is better prepared for marriage", said Olena Ivanova, Head of the UNDP project "Support to the reform of the social sector in Ukraine".

 

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"The pivotal difference between this State Programme and the previous one is a set of measures aimed at preparing young people for married life. Currently the task of government is to train regional experts and facilitate the Programme’s implementation in other parts of Ukraine. We are talking about opening local and regional educational centres to prepare couples for married life. We have also developed a manual for the specialists who will be implementing the State Programme of preparing young couples for entering marriage," reports Fedor Fomin.

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Photo credits to Zaporizhzhya Regional State Administration. The last photo is copyright @ Anastasiya Cherkis.

United Nations Development Programme «Support to the Social Sector Reform in Ukraine»

 The project supports the Government of Ukraine and the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine in accelerating the implementation of reforms in the social sector and achieving Ukraine’s short- and mid-term social and economic development goals.

Since the beginning of the project implementation in 2011, proposals have been drafted for pension reform in Ukraine, administrative reform in the social sphere, and the optimization of institutions that provide social services. Moreover, over 26 regulations on social services have been developed.

 With project support, over 1,000 representatives of departments of social protection and service providers from all regions of Ukraine were trained on the new issues of social service planning, management, and delivery (such as assessment of community needs in social services, social commissioning, quality control, standards, public awareness, calculation of costs of social service, etc.).

 Advisory support was given to the local authorities of all 26 regions of Ukraine for implementing social commissioning; local authorities and social institutions in Poltava oblast piloted a model for public awareness on social services.