Map of Djibouti
UNICEF photo © UNICEF Djibouti2014/Seixas


UNICEF is requesting US$4.5 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children in Djibouti in 2015.

In 2015, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children aged under-5 years benefit from micronutrient supplementation


children aged 6 to 59 months receive vitamin-A supplementation


emergency-affected people provided with access to safe water as per agreed standards

2015 Requirements: US$4,550,000

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Total affected population: 380,000
Total affected children: 152,000

Total people to be reached in 2015: 260,750
Total children to be reached in 2015: 105,400

Despite slightly better rainfall at the end of 2014, seven years of drought have put Djibouti’s population under severe stress1. Child survival in Djibouti remains at risk due to food insecurity, inadequate care practices, constrained basic social services and a proliferation of communicable diseases including malaria and measles. In December 2013, 17.8 per cent of children under-five suffered from wasting and 5.7 per cent were severely acutely malnourished2 – largely exceeding WHO emergency thresholds of 15 and 2 per cent respectively. A survey in November 20143 conducted in the severely affected Obock region revealed a worrying increase of wasting rates from 25.7 to 29.9 per cent. In urban areas, thousands of families displaced by drought live in illegal settlements deprived of basic water and sanitation facilities, while in rural areas three out of five people need to walk over half an hour to reach a water source. Approximately two out of five girls and boys live in extreme poverty, making them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse4. Nearly 41.6 per cent of girls and 33.3 per cent of boys aged 6-10 are out-of-school5 – the majority being migrants, nomads and disabled children. Discrimination and a lack of awareness hinder efforts to reduce HIV prevalence and AIDS; there is a generalized epidemic of HIV in Djibouti and young people are particularly vulnerable. Djibouti is a transit point for 100,000 vulnerable migrants trying to cross to Yemen and Gulf countries; in November 2014, children accounted for 32 per cent of the population registered in IOM’s6 Centre for Migrants Support. Many migrant children end up begging in the streets. With the protracted conflict in neighbouring Somalia, Djibouti hosts 27,500 refugees and asylum seekers out of which 70 per cent are women and children who depend entirely on humanitarian assistance and protection services.

Humanitarian strategy

2015 Programme Targets


  • 5,250 children aged under-5 years with SAM admitted to therapeutic care treated
  • 61,800 children aged under-5 years benefit from micronutrient supplementation
  • 60,220 children aged 6 to 36 months admitted to blanket feeding programmes
  • 43,650 pregnant and lactating women access support for appropriate infant and young child feeding and micronutrient supplements


  • 25,000 women and children aged under 5 years receive insecticide-treated bed nets
  • 90,000 children under 5 receive de-worming medication
  • 100,000 children aged 6 to 59 months receive vitamin-A supplementation


  • 52,000 emergency-affected people provided with access to safe water as per agreed standards
  • 68,000 emergency-affected people receive critical WASH related information to prevent child illness

Child Protection

  • 154 migrant children and children living on the streets benefit from a basic social services package
  • 5,000 unaccompanied minors benefit from risk awareness activities
  • 20% children in Ali-Addeh refugee camp benefit from a pilot programme of psycho-social support


  • 4,000 refugee and vulnerable children enrolled in primary school education or non-formal education and 400 in secondary education


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

In 2015, UNICEF will work with the Government and partners to respond to the humanitarian needs of 260,750 vulnerable children and women, while forging stronger links with long-term development programming to strengthen the resilience of affected communities. Capacity building on emergency preparedness and response will be strengthened. UNICEF, as leader for WASH7 and Nutrition clusters and as the key advocate for the most vulnerable, will coordinate partners’ efforts in these two sectors. UNICEF is supporting the development of a WASH contingency plan that includes preparedness activities, and planned interventions in Nutrition to reduce stunting and wasting. UNICEF will also scale-up the nutrition and health surveillance system at the community level and provide over 120,000 children aged under-5 years and pregnant and lactating women with an integrated health and nutrition package of life-saving interventions. This includes all necessary therapeutic food to treat an estimated 7,000 SAM cases and supplementary food for over 15,000 estimated GAM cases; measles and polio immunizations; deworming medicine; vitamin-A supplementation; and community-based interventions. Given the increasing number of migrant children, UNICEF will partner with IOM to put in place awareness-raising activities for 5,000 unaccompanied minors on risks inherent to border crossing. UNICEF will also continue providing migrant and street children with access to feeding, health, non-formal education, vocational training and recreational activities, along with sensitisation on HIV, and prevention of drug use. Community leaders (men, women and youth) from refugee camps will be integrated in the community-based child protection network and benefit from training on child protection, gender-based violence and disaster risk reduction. Set-up in 2013, this network includes 29 local committees with 10 members each who look into child protection issues using the social norms approach. Their role is to prevent, detect and refer cases of violence against children. They also compile statistics on children who do not have a birth certificate and facilitate the administrative process so they may obtain one. UNICEF will support refugee children’s access to primary and secondary education, HIV/AIDS prevention activities and put in place a pilot project for psychosocial support in the larger refugee camp.

Results from 2014

With a total of USD$2,979,409 of funds available for 2014 (of which USD$1,063,221 was carried over from 2013), the humanitarian action of UNICEF and partners focused on life-saving interventions intensifying the response to the nutrition crisis. The number of under-5 children whose lives were at risk due to severe acute malnutrition greatly exceeded the 4,889 target; by November 5,365 children had been admitted for treatment. In 2014, UNICEF provided the National Nutrition Programme with enough supplies to cover the treatment needs of 7,593 SAM and 16,117 MAM cases in 40 health facilities and 35 community sites (both to meet an anticipated increase in number of cases of SAM at the end of the year and to preposition stocks for 2015). Over 71,000 children received Vitamin-A supplements in the context of polio vaccination campaigns, multi-antigens campaigns and routine and outreach vaccination activities. Constrained by insufficient funding, WASH interventions prioritised 22,400 emergency-affected people from Obock, Tadjourah and Ali-Sabieh regions ensuring them access to safe water through the construction or rehab of water facilities, water trucking as well as distribution of water treatment products and storage materials. Moreover, 36,550 children and women received critical WASH-related information to prevent child illness. As per plan, 154 migrant and street children benefited from a package of basic social services, 245 were enrolled in non-formal education and 10 completed a vocational training course. UNICEF was also able to reach 213 migrant and street children with health, HIV/AIDS and STD-prevention activities. Furthermore, UNICEF participated in a joint mission of the Task Force on Mixed Migration for the establishment of a mechanism for early warning and referral of migrants. Three thousand children in refugee camps and 800 vulnerable children in urban areas gained access to quality education through formal or non-formal education. Life-skills and HIV/AIDS prevention activities with adolescents in refugee camps were delayed until a new partner was identified. The new partnership with the Lutheran World Foundation is on-hold due to fund unavailability. Still, UNICEF was able to reach 600 adolescents by social mobilization activities and involve more than 2,000 in the HIV/AIDS national week.

Funding requirements

In line with the country’s inter-agency 2015 Strategic Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$4,550,000 to meet the humanitarian needs of children in Djibouti in 2015. Without additional funding UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the country’s continuing nutrition crisis, as well as support critical WASH services to people in rural areas and those internally displaced by drought; as well as basic social services for children who are migrants or living on the streets. Basic supplies for primary and secondary education are also urgently needed to uphold refugee children’s right to education.

2 Nutrition SMART survey 2013
3 AGVSAN 2014
4 Estimation based on Country’s Poverty Profile 2012
5 Out-of-School Children report 2014
6 5,895 children according to IOM data from November 2014
7 The WASH Cluster was activated for the Horn of Africa crisis and only meets now on an irregular basis.
8 Most recent data available. Figures include data from September 2014 for the five regions (2,503 cases) and from July 2014 for Djibouti-city and surrounding areas (2,862 cases).
9 Data from November 2014
10 Ibid.