Map of Djibouti
UNICEF photo: Children and women queue to receive water at a UNICEF-supported distribution point in Bouldougo, a slum area on the outskirts of Djibouti City, the capital. © UNICEF Djibouti/2012/Najwa Mekki Children and women queue to receive water at a UNICEF-supported distribution point in Bouldougo, a slum area on the outskirts of Djibouti City, the capital.


Updated January 2014

In 2014, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children under 5 with severe acute malnutrition admitted to therapeutic care treated


women and children under 5 receive insecticide treated bed nets


people access quality water, sanitation and hygiene services

2014 Requirements: US$5,000,000

x Donate Now
Please confirm your country and we will take you to the right donation page:


Total affected population: 506,450
Total affected children (under 18): 202,616

Total people to be reached in 2014: 405,160
Total children to be reached in 2014: 81,032

In the Middle East and North Africa, Djibouti is among the lowest performing countries on a number of child well-being indicators, and is ranked 164 out of 187 countries on the 2012 Human Development Index.1 Throughout the country, children are driven into food insecurity by recurrent drought, high unemployment (60 per cent in rural areas2), livelihood challenges and extreme levels of poverty (42 per cent of the population is living in absolute poverty3). Malnutrition affects over 20,000 children in Djibouti.4 The global acute malnutrition rate is 17.8 per cent and 5.7 per cent of children suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Both of these prevalence rates are above the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency thresholds. In addition, Djibouti hosts 23,544 refugees, predominantly from Somalia, including 19,400 people living in two refugee camps, and other refugees living in suburban areas of Djibouti City. The country has become a transit point for approximately 100,000 migrants en route to Yemen and the Arab Peninsula,5 whose use of existing social services puts extra pressure on already limited capacities. Water scarcity persists in many locations, and desertification, flash floods, climate change and high food prices negatively impact children and their families. In rural areas, 69.4 per cent of children are deprived of sanitation, and rural children are 8.5 times more likely to lack access to a toilet than urban children and 10 times more likely to lack access to water.6 These challenging conditions in the poorest rural areas, in refugee camps and among migrants, have led to a rural exodus that has resulted in non-enrollment in education, high dropout rates, particularly among girls, child labor and violence against children.

Humanitarian strategy

2014 programme targets


  • 4,889 children under 5 with SAM admitted to therapeutic care treated
  • 76,143 children under 5 access micronutrient supplements
  • 59,336 children aged 6 to 36 months admitted to blanket feeding programmes
  • 43,209 pregnant and lactating women access support for appropriate infant and young child feeding and micronutrient supplements


  • 27,000 women and children under 5 receive insecticide treated bed nets


  • 120,000 have access to quality WASH services

Child Protection

  • 245 street children will benefit from a social services package
  • Capacity building for the community leaders of 20 refugee camps on child protection, gender-based violence and disaster risk reduction to potentially benefit 23.500 refugees


  • 4,000 school-aged children attend schools with quality learning environments
  • 400 youth can start secondary education


  • 500 adolescents and youth (mainly out of school) from refugee populations benefit of life skills training and HIV prevention messages

In response to the chronic cycles of drought and malnutrition in Djibouti, stronger links must be forged between long-term development programming and emergency response to mitigate the impacts on children and build the resilience of affected communities. Emergency response should also address the chronic malnutrition issues that exist in specific areas. In 2014, UNICEF will link the humanitarian response to the Horn of Africa drought with long-term development approaches through disaster risk reduction initiatives. This will include streamlining enhanced preparedness for rapid response in all sectors, and emphasizing education and health. UNICEF will also continue to play a key role in improving the coordination of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and nutrition clusters and identifying the needs and priorities of the most vulnerable populations in rural areas and suburban parts of Djibouti City. UNICEF will continue to support the basic education of refugee children in camps by constructing additional classrooms, providing furniture and teaching materials to 4000 children and providing pedagogical in-service training to 60 teachers. UNICEF also plans to support the development of secondary education services for refugees. In partnership with Caritas Djibouti, UNICEF will provide 245 children, primarily from urban refugee families, with a package of services, including access to non-formal education, feeding, health, leisure, sensitization on drug prevention, birth registration, vocational training, etc. Twenty-nine community-based child protection networks, including community leaders from refugee camps, will benefit from training on child protection, gender-based violence and disaster risk reduction, to strengthen their abilities to protect and reduce the vulnerability of children and women. This training will also be an opportunity to engage communities in preparedness activities. UNICEF will also partner with non-governmental organizations working with refugee populations, primarily in camps, to provide HIV/AIDS prevention activities to benefit 500 adolescents and youth, using a life skills approach.

Results from 2013

UNICEF appealed for US$7,980,000 for 2013, and as of the end of October 2013, a total of US$3,650,199, or 46 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions. In 2013, UNICEF and partners’ response in Djibouti focused on meeting the needs of the most affected children. More than 65,000 people affected by water scarcity benefitted from the construction and protection of underground cisterns, the rehabilitation of 21 traditional water points and water quality monitoring, and the replacement of water trucking with more sustainable solutions. Support has also been provided to construct family latrines in the suburban areas of Djibouti City and to promote improved hygiene practices through communication for development efforts. UNICEF provided technical and financial support to the Ministry of Health to improve the health of children and pregnant women through high impact, community-based life-saving interventions, including immunization, deworming and vitamin A supplementation. In addition, 27,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito-nets were distributed to children and pregnant women living in malaria-prone zones. In nutrition, UNICEF supported the treatment of 5,175 severely malnourished children with therapeutic milk, and/or ready-to-use therapeutic foods and essential drugs at 40 health facilities and 35 community sites. Over 37,440 children under 5 benefitted from micronutrient supplementation and over 35,000 children aged 6 to 36 months benefitted from the blanket feeding programme. In education, UNICEF financed solar equipment for pre-schools and pedagogical materials. The program also supported the Lutheran World Foundation, a non-governmental organization that manages refugee camp schools. Child protection did not receive any funding under the 2013 consolidated appeals process.

Results through 31 October 2013 unless noted

Funding requirements

In line with Djibouti’s inter-agency 2014 Strategic Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$5 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in 2014. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the continuation of key nutrition interventions, including the provision of therapeutic food and other nutritional supplements for the affected population, and the provision of major WASH activities that facilitate access to potable water and sanitation facilities in rural and in suburban areas. Lack of funding would also undermine the ongoing provision of basic formal and non-formal education services, opportunities for accessing secondary education, capacity building efforts for child protection and HIV prevention work for refugee adolescents and youth.

1 United Nations Development Programme, ‘Human Development Report 2013 The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World’, UNDP, New York, 2012.
2 Reported in the 2012 Djibouti Household Survey, Round 3.
3 Ibid.
4 This figure is according to estimates made based on the results of the November/December 2013 Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) survey.
5 Reported by the International Organization for Migration in 2012.
6 Reported in the 2012 Djibouti Household Survey, Round 3.