In 2013, UNICEF and partners plan for:
children under 5 with severe acute malnutrition are treated
Ivorian refugees and 140,000 Liberians in host community access adequate water and sanitation facilities
Ivorian and Liberian children and youth access early childhood development, primary education, youth skills training and literacy classes
2013 requirements (US$)
Although significant progress has been made by the Government of Liberia since the end of the 14-year civil war, the country continues to face considerable challenges in ensuring proper care, education and protection for its children. The 2010 crisis in Côte d’Ivoire led to an influx of 200,000 refugees into one of the most marginalized regions of Liberia, increasing the number of people in need of protection and care, given that 82 per cent of the total refugee population are women and children. While 50 per cent of the refugees opted to move into refugee camps established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the remainder preferred to stay in Liberian host communities, where access to basic services is very poor. Malnutrition remains the principal underlying cause of child mortality in Liberia: More than 40 per cent of children suffer from chronic malnutrition and 60 per cent from anaemia. Acute malnutrition rates are reported to be lower among the refugee population than among Liberian host communities. Of the main childhood diseases, malaria and pneumonia are the leading causes of child morbidity and mortality. Among all age groups, women and adolescents are most at risk of HIV infection. In many host communities, only 4 per cent had access to improved sanitation facilities and 77 per cent practised open defecation before the crisis. Despite improved sanitation conditions, the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases among children in Liberia’s refugee-affected counties remains high and cholera is endemic. Moreover, many girls and women were subjected to rape and other forms of violence and abuse during the war in Liberia, and its legacy in terms of the damage to survivors and impact on attitudes and behaviours remains. This contributes to the increased vulnerability of many refugee women and children, who are often exposed to sexual abuse and exploitation, physical violence and neglect, or separation from their primary caregivers. Existing social services struggle to meet the needs of the Liberian population, and the recent Ivorian refugee influx into Liberia has had serious ramifications for the already fragile situation within the border counties. Despite a decrease in the number of refugees, the overall population in need of humanitarian assistance remains high – more than 140,000 Liberians and more than 65,000 refugees in camps and communities.
Planned results for 2013
2013 Programme Targets
- 13,968 children under 5 with severe acute malnutrition admitted to therapeutic care.
- 13,795 children under 5 with moderate acute malnutrition admitted to supplementary feeding programmes
- 64,108 children aged 6 to 36 months and their mothers benefit from the Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA)
- 7,218 children under 1 receive vaccines under the Expanded Programme on Immunization.
- 32,732 children under 5 receive measles vaccine.
- 80% of children under 5 treated with anti-malarial drugs.
- 90% of children under 5 diagnosed with ARI-pneumonia treated with antibiotics.
- 35,000 Ivorian refugees and 140,000 Liberians in host community access adequate water and sanitation facilities.
- Improved water and sanitation facilities and hygiene practices for 50,000 Liberians living in cholera hot-spot areas.
- 1,000 children in vulnerable situations, including unaccompanied and separated children, access psychosocial support.
- 25,000 children live in communities with community-based protection networks and improved social services to prevent and address violence, abuse and exploitation.
- 52,300 Ivorian and Liberian children and youth access early childhood development, primary education, youth skills training and literacy classes.
HIV and AIDS
- 30,000 Liberian adolescents and young people aged 14–24 are reached through community awareness campaigns, mobile voluntary counselling and testing for HIV and referral.
In 2013, UNICEF will primarily support Liberian and refugee women and children living in host communities, as well as other vulnerable communities, while UNHCR will take responsibility for refugee interventions in camp settings. UNICEF Liberia and UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire are also working together, with other United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organizations, on a cross-border initiative that aims to improve social cohesion and food security along the border, through nutrition, social protection and peacebuilding interventions. As lead of the WASH sector and partner of the health sector, UNICEF Liberia will provide assistance in the prevention, control and response to cholera, through improved access to adequate water and sanitation facilities and promotion of safe hygiene practices. Institutional preparedness and the organizational capacity of the Government will continue to be strengthened to implement nutrition interventions, where UNICEF is the sector lead, in areas of high prevalence of malnutrition. As a continuation of the HIV and AIDS programme, UNICEF will target the host Liberian population, including adolescents and young people aged 14–24, as well as pregnant women through prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Since56 per cent of girls and 39 per cent of boys have never attended school,1 UNICEF is working closely with the Minister of Education as sector lead, together with Save the Children, to increase school enrolment and attendance of Liberian and Ivorian children living in host communities. As lead of the child protection sub-sector, UNICEF is coordinating with line ministries and non-governmental organizations to prevent and address violence, abuse, exploitation and separation from families by promoting protective environments for children and youth, strengthening the capacity of Liberian service providers and ensuring accessible, child-friendly services.
Results from 2012
UNICEF Liberia appealed for US$25,929,000, and as of 31 October, US$8,495,012, or 33 per cent of the requirements, had been received as contributions for humanitarian programmes. Despite the significant funding gap, UNICEF has reached 100,000 people in more than 100 communities and six refugee camps with essential services. The mothers of some 22,572 children screened for malnutrition received counselling from health workers on infant and child feeding and care. Radio broadcasts on child feeding were regularly aired by national and community radio stations. More than 22,000 refugee children were immunized in polio campaigns organized by UNICEF, partners and the Government. Around 52 per cent of the targeted number of adolescents and young people between the ages of 14 and 24 were reached through community awareness campaigns, mobile voluntary counselling and testing for HIV and referral. Some 82,000 Liberians and Ivorian refugees now have access to safe drinking water, at an increased level of 16 litres per person per day. In coordination with child protection partners and the Government, 1,700 children separated from their primary caregivers in Côte d’Ivoire benefitted from case management services, with 1,075 cases remaining active. Additionally, more than 20,200 Ivorian and Liberian children were able to improve their safety, emotional well-being and resilience through access to 37 child-friendly spaces, life skills and livelihoods training and children’s clubs. Thanks to the efforts of education partners, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF, an average of 30,464 Ivorian and Liberian girls and boys (61 per cent of the 2012 target) attended early childhood development, primary education, youth skills training and literacy classes from January through September 2012, providing them with a sense of normalcy.
UNICEF funding requirements for 2013
UNICEF is appealing for a total of the US$16,016,500 for humanitarian operations in support of Ivorian refugees in Liberia, host communities and other vulnerable populations. Despite the decrease in the number of refugees and expected continuation of voluntary returns to Côte d’Ivoire, a significant number of refugees are expected to remain in Liberia through 2013, as the security situation in certain parts of Côte d’Ivoire remains volatile. Lack of financial support for recovery activities is negatively impacting local communities and compromising gains made under development and the initial emergency response, and this could potentially contribute to destabilizing the region. Complications in ensuring the continued provision of health and nutrition supplies to the affected counties, as well as in assisting the Government’s implementation of sustainable WASH technologies and improving the overall quality of education and child protection interventions, will have a negative impact on the lives of girls and boys living in one of the most deprived areas of Liberia.
1 Liberia: National and County-wide Consultation on Out-of-School Children and Children at Risk of Dropping Out, Ministry of Education of Liberia and UNICEF, 2012.