In 2013, UNICEF and partners plan for:
children under 5 treated for severe acute malnutrition
women and children (80 per cent of affected population) have access to essential maternal, newborn and child health services
people affected by natural disaster or conflict and host community members (including approximately 159,000 children) provided with safe drinking water per agreed-upon standards
2013 requirements (US$)
Violence, natural hazards and disasters are frequent in Afghanistan, resulting in recurring humanitarian crises. These have severely undermined the resilience of communities to the extent that small-scale hazards or disasters (such as flash floods) tend to have a devastating impact on the affected populations, at least half of whom are usually children. Only 57 per cent of households in Afghanistan use an improved water source, and just 29 per cent have access to improved sanitation facilities, while only 42 per cent of the population practices handwashing.1 Child malnutrition remains high; in the country’s provinces, the prevalence of global acute malnutrition is estimated at between 2.8 and 17 per cent.2 Afghanistan continues to have one of the highest under-five mortality rates in the world as well as very low immunization coverage – as low as 31 per cent for the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTP) in some regions.
Afghanistan currently has 450,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 5.7 million refugees and at least 250,000 people affected by natural hazards or disasters every year.3 During 2012, children constituted 73 per cent of casualties caused by explosive remnants of war and landmines, and they continue to be recruited as soldiers, while those displaced continue to be vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Deliberate attacks on schools and hospitals continue, as do denial of humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected populations.4 As a result, 45–50 per cent of primary school-aged children are out of school, and most of the 500 schools closed in 2011 due to insurgency remain closed in 2012.5 The current withdrawal of international forces may also result in reduced humanitarian funding and reduced access to parts of the country. The withdrawal of international forces may not result in improved stability; rather, the security situation may worsen. The worsening conflict trends of past years indicate that civilians will suffer as a consequence of armed violence, and the humanitarian situation will deteriorate. Armed conflicts will prevail in major parts of country and cause significant physical and psychological harm to the civilian population, especially the children, as well as reducing access to basic services.
Planned results for 2013
2013 Programme Targets
- 35,181 children under 5 treated for severe acute malnutrition
- 251,828 children 6–23 months old provided with micronutrient supplementation
- 335,770 pregnant and lactating women provided with information on breastfeeding, complementary feeding and WASH promotion
- 497,280 women and children (80 per cent of affected population) have access to essential maternal, newborn and child health services (number of affected children and women is 1.2 million)
- 271,320 children (95 per cent of coverage target) receive measles vaccination and vitamin A supplementation
- 5,000 (80 per cent) community health workers trained on immunization and maternal and newborn care
- 447,552 (90 per cent) of affected population receiving health education and key messages
- 300,000 people affected by natural disaster or conflict and host community members (including approximately 159,000 children) provided with safe drinking water per agreed-upon standards
- 200,000 emergency-affected people benefiting from hygiene and sanitation promotion; 100,000 IDPs, returnees, deportees and host communities receiving hygiene and sanitation promotion and demonstration latrines
- 4,100 children and adolescents affected by emergency accessing safe environments and protection services
- 81 schools reopened following advocacy with leaders, elders and influential people in affected communities
- 400,000 teaching and learning materials provided for accelerated learning centres and community-based education
- 288,000 returnees and IDPs integrated into schools and receiving teaching and learning materials
- 232 staff trained on education in emergencies strategy
Cluster and sector coordination
- Child protection sub-cluster referral pathways implemented for extremely vulnerable children and those with acute protection needs
- 60 communities with 11,000 direct beneficiaries (80 per cent children) have improved mechanisms to mitigate child-centred disaster risks.
During 2013, UNICEF will support the Government of Afghanistan in providing targeted and timely emergency response to at least 3.1 million children and women affected by drought, floods, internal displacement, waterborne diseases and conflict. UNICEF will continue to scale up lifesaving nutrition interventions for severely acutely malnourished children, disseminate information on infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and hygienic practices to pregnant and lactating mothers, and provide micronutrient supplementation to children aged 6–23 months. In addition, the organization will support access to essential maternal, newborn and child health services; measles vaccination; vitamin A supplementation; and health education. To tackle acute water shortages and waterborne diseases prevalent in areas affected by conflict and drought, safe water points and improved sanitation facilities will be developed, supported by hygiene promotion. To counteract the debilitating effects of the conflict, UNICEF will support the creation of community-based safe spaces to link children and adolescents with formal education, numeracy, literacy, recreation and psychosocial support. The organization will intensify advocacy for the protection and reopening of schools closed because of the conflict, and will also provide teaching and learning materials to IDPs and returnees to promote school enrolment and attendance. Looking forward, UNICEF will strengthen emergency preparedness and response at the national, provincial and community levels, and introduce community-based disaster risk reduction initiatives to improve the resilience of communities in disaster-prone areas. UNICEF is lead for the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); nutrition; and education clusters, as well as the child protection sub-cluster. However, pursuant to an ongoing discussion among humanitarian country team members who have reviewed the current humanitarian architecture, the number of clusters may be reduced, and some may be merged, in order to improve the response to emergency needs.
Results from 2012
UNICEF originally requested for US$31,661,000 and later revised the requirements to US$44,974,316 to reflect the increased needs. The number of measles outbreaks increased sharply in the first quarter, alongside outbreaks of pertussis, with some areas showing a case fatality rate of 14 per cent, three times the international emergency threshold and affecting all age groups. The situation underscored the need to ramp up counrtywide emergency interventions to improve health and vaccination coverage rates while reducing deaths from preventable diseases.6 Thus, a combined UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) project was proposed to address the gaps, requiring additional funding. As of 31 October, a total of US$28,250,077, or 63 per cent of requirements, was received in contributions aligned with Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP).). This enabled improved access to safe drinking water for 551,000 people through the development of 231 water points and six spring-fed water systems as well as the trucking of 40 million litres of water; additionally, 285,000 people benefited from hygiene and sanitation promotion, chlorination, and distribution of hygiene kits, jerry-cans and other WASH emergency supplies. Some 180,000 children across 126 schools also benefited from a WASH in Schools package that included the provision of safe WASH facilities within their learning environments. During the emergency, children under 5 and pregnant and lactating women received measles immunization, vitamin A supplementation, deworming and multiple micronutrients along with improved case management of childhood illnesses through community-based activities. Clean delivery kits and behaviour change communication interventions were provided for improved health care, hygiene and feeding practices. Community-based services for the management of severe acute malnutrition in children were expanded in 14 drought-affected provinces, reaching 80 per cent of targeted children and 72.5 per cent of targeted women. To improve the nutrition emergency response, 55 staff members from 20 partners received training on nutrition in emergencies that was specifically tailored to the Afghanistan context. UNICEF and the Ministry of Education facilitated mediation by community elders to protect and reopen 29 schools7 and to encourage community shuras in seven provinces to sustain girls’ schooling.8 Thirty-three schools were rehabilitated, and master trainers were trained in psychosocial and community mobilization. UNICEF continued to co-chair the United Nations-led Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) that produced monthly reports on violations against children, managed the MRM on children affected by armed conflict (CAAC) information system and coordinated the submission of the formal report to the United Nations Security Council. UNICEF also supported the development of community-based child protection structures and systems in the northern region, including development of a curriculum to train social workers in improved protection case management in emergencies. The main implementation constraints were underfunding of health and education interventions. Late receipt of funds from donors also severely curtailed implementation time.
UNICEF funding requirements for 2013
UNICEF is requesting US$27,045,000 within the framework of the Afghanistan Common Humanitarian Action Plan to meet the humanitarian needs of children and women in 2013. The funding will be vital to supporting the national response to Afghanistan’s continuing nutrition crisis and providing critical WASH services, basic health services and emergency education to people displaced and affected by the prolonged conflict. Underfunding will leave millions of Afghan children, women and other vulnerable people without safe drinking water and lifesaving health and nutrition services, as well as denying thousands of children the opportunity to attend school and continuing to expose them to a hostile environment devoid of protection services.
1 Central Statistics Organisation and United Nations Children’s Fund, Afghanistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2010/11: Final report, CSO and UNICEF, Kabul, June 2012.
2 Central Statistics Organisation and United Nations Children’s Fund, Afghanistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2010/11: Final report, CSO and UNICEF, Kabul, June 2012.
3 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘UNHCR Afghanistan Statistical Summary of Conflict-induced Internal Displacement’, 30 September 2012.
4 Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, <childrenandarmedconflict.un.org>, accessed 15 December 2012; http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/67/256
5 Ministry of Education, Aide-Mémoire: Education joint sector review 2012/1391, Ministry of Education, 2012.
6 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Afghanistan: Consolidated Appeal Mid-Year Review, United Nations, Geneva, 2012.
7 In Andar, Deh Yak, Zina Khan, Qara Bagh, and Muqar districts of Ghanzi Province.
8 Kunduz, Takhar, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Jawzjan, Baghlan, Samangan and Uruzgan Provinces.