Map of West and Central Africa Region
UNICEF photo: Mali, September 2013. Children at Babale Santana school where flood victims found a shelter. © UNICEF/UKLA2013-03571/Cindy Cao Mali, September 2013. Children at Babale Santana school where flood victims found a shelter.

West and Central Africa

including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal

Updated January 2014

Country Offices 2014 Requirements: US$53,351,622

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Regional Office 2014 Requirements: US$13,000,000

Women and children in West and Central Africa are affected by a variety of humanitarian crises, including insecurity and conflict, drought, flooding, epidemics and acute malnutrition. Conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) and in north-east Nigeria has led to displacement, grave protection violations and the initiation of self-defence groups that can threaten stability in neighbouring countries. Widespread insecurity persists in northern Mali, with significant political instability in Kidal. Although refugee numbers have declined in Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger, remaining refugees are not likely to return to their homes soon. Improved humanitarian access after the recent defeat of Mouvement du 23-Mars (M23), one of the principle armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has revealed larger caseloads of malaria, measles and acute malnutrition, which may mean that increased humanitarian action is needed. In the Sahel countries, children under 5 continue to suffer from malnutrition and gastric and respiratory infections, and a significant increase in malaria cases has been observed. Although cholera caseloads declined in 2013, significant epidemics continue to affect the Congo River and Niger River basins. Flooding also continues to displace large numbers of people, including in Niger and Mauritania. In addition, tensions remain in Guinea following elections and in Guinea-Bissau following the coup, and further upheaval may take place in countries with elections scheduled for 2015 (e.g. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC and Nigeria). The lengthy recovery from the Côte d’Ivoire crisis has led to limited returns of refugees from Liberia and Ghana.

  • Regional Office - Planned results for 2014

    Results from 2013

    UNICEF appealed for US$43.9 million for 2013, and as of 31 October 2013, a total of US$23,448,648, or 53 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions.1 In response to conflict and growing numbers of displaced people, WCARO scaled up its cross-border response in Mali and in neighbouring countries, providing technical assistance to support the integration of education into the humanitarian responses in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Nigeria, DRC and CAR. In the Sahel, over 800,000 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) were admitted for treatment. Over US$2.2 million of life-saving supplies were quickly distributed from the two regional supply hubs to support a holistic response to the nutrition crisis. Children affected by the nutrition crisis and their caretakers also benefited from psychosocial support. WCARO provided technical support to the country offices in Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and CAR to increase the number of children with SAM that are tested for HIV, a critical intervention given the vulnerability of children living with HIV. WASH, communication for development, emergency and health staff also provided technical support to country offices to respond to cholera outbreaks, notably in Guinea Bissau and Guinea. The ‘shield and sword’ strategy,2 combined with guidance on cholera risk management, enabled country offices to better support prevention, mitigation and response. Communication for development played an active role in preparedness and response plans for cholera in 10 countries in 2013.

    The West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) will continue to provide technical coordination and improve preparedness to help country offices reach vulnerable children and women in 2014. WCARO will support cross-border response in conflict-affected countries, notably for children separated from their families and/or recruited by armed forces and groups. WCARO will also continue to reinforce an integrated, multi-sector approach to the nutrition crisis, incorporating health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and communication for development, as well as psychosocial support. WCARO will monitor nutrition crises in the region and support prevention activities and life-saving responses. The nutrition team will also support oversight and quality improvement of integrated management of acute malnutrition programmes. Regional health, WASH and communication for development teams will support country offices to mitigate and respond to cholera, meningitis, measles and HIV. Response plans will be scaled up, including for cross-border issues, capacity mapping, local staff training, and stock pre-positioning. WCARO will continue to strengthen results monitoring in humanitarian situations, and will support and oversee emergency-related evaluations. The resilience agenda will continue to be strengthened to assist countries with chronic and recurrent humanitarian needs to develop in-depth risk analysis and mitigation plans. A WASH-in-resilience approach is currently under development. In education, WCARO will support capacity building to provide country offices and partners with the practical tools, skills and knowledge needed to support education for crisis-affected children.

  • Nigeria - Planned results for 2014

    Results from 2013

    UNICEF appealed for US$10,200,000 for 2013, and as of the end of October 2013, a total of US$6,621,619, or 65 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions. UNICEF worked closely with the Government of Nigeria at the federal and state levels, as well as with non-governmental organizations and the Nigeria Red Cross, to respond to emergencies, including conflict-related population displacement, flooding and cholera epidemics. In Sahel countries, UNICEF treated 199,593 children with SAM, out of the targeted 296,950. Access to education was supported through the distribution of 31,762 education kits, as well as learning materials and school furniture. Working closely with the National Population Commission, over 186,390 children received birth registration between January and November 2013. In northern states, UNICEF distributed 1,000 health kits in high-risk areas, which resulted in improved immunization coverage and health services.

    Nigeria is facing a growing number of emergencies, including floods, epidemics and food insecurity, mainly in the northern states. This situation has been exacerbated by insecurity and the state of emergency in the north-eastern states. In 2014, UNICEF will treat 323,488 children with SAM and provide essential supplies, including ready-to-use therapeutic food, equipment and medicine, and will train health workers on case management in 500 community-based management of acute malnutrition sites. In addition, approximately 1,500 families will receive WASH packages at community-based management of acute malnutrition sites and 500,000 people affected by floods will be provided with access to improved water supplies. UNICEF will provide women and children with access to behaviour change communication interventions to improve health care and feeding practices. In 2014, UNICEF will reach 4,000 children with early learning instructive materials, and 12,500 flood-affected children through 65 alternative and safe learning spaces and with teaching/learning materials. UNICEF will continue to strengthen routine birth registration activities and community support for child protection networks in emergency-prone states. 2014 programme targets are:

    • 323,488 children under 5 suffering from SAM receive adequate quality treatment
    • 8.7 million people in humanitarian situations receive insecticide-treated nets (2 per family)
    • 4,000 children access quality early learning opportunities

  • Cameroon - Planned results for 2014

    Results from 2013

    UNICEF appealed for US$15,177,624 for 2013, and as of the end of October 2013, a total of US$15,603,926, or 103 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions. In response to the nutrition crisis, over 53,000 children with SAM were treated in nutrition centres (92 per cent of the estimated caseload) and 60 per cent of households with malnourished children used insecticide-treated bed nets. In addition, 334 out of 470 nutritional centres in the north and far north regions benefitted from a WASH minimum package, and 26,265 SAM-affected children received WASH kits with key hygiene messages. In health, 63,302 children aged 9 months to 15 years (95 per cent) were immunized against measles; and in child protection, 1,300 children benefitted from psychosocial support, including 950 children who received birth registration. As a part of the emergency response to the floods, 2,344 internally displaced persons benefited from potable water, latrines, WASH kits and key hygiene messages. Some 24,000 primary school-aged children benefited from the provision of temporary learning spaces (including tents), the distribution of teaching and learning materials to 170 schools, the construction of 60 classrooms, support to school management committees, and the provision of 180 latrines and water pumps in 60 schools. This was complemented by a programme for girls and vulnerable students that included community mobilization and advocacy. In addition, 1,806 Nigerian refugees benefitted from health interventions. The education response to Nigerian and Central African refugees included the provision of emergency teaching and learning supplies.

    Scaling up humanitarian support will be a priority in 2014. UNICEF will continue to support malnourished children through community-based management of acute malnutrition and the delivery of nutritional supplements and essential drugs for treating complications among children with SAM. In addition, affected populations will receive immediate basic health services. Children under 5 and pregnant women will benefit from HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment and children will be vaccinated against measles. WASH activities will be developed for nutritional centres and at the household level to protect children with SAM and to halt the vicious cycle of malnutrition and diarrhoea. UNICEF will support the prevention and treatment of cholera through behaviour change activities, including activities related to WASH. UNICEF will support cholera case management by making essential supplies available and by training partners in case management. WASH in schools and emergency education interventions will complement child protection and HIV prevention programmes for displaced populations and refugees. Protection measures will include the development of programming that addresses sexual and gender-based violence, psychosocial support and birth registration. 2014 programme targets are:

    • 49,000 children under 5 with SAM (100 per cent of the estimated caseload) admitted for treatment in four regions
    • 17,000 schoolchildren (and their communities) provided with safe water, latrines, key hygiene supplies and messages in 20 flood-affected school locations with high refugee populations
    • Targeted children and their communities are provided with sexual and gender-based violence and psychosocial support

  • Burkina Faso - Planned results for 2014

    Results from 2013

    UNICEF appealed for US$19,476,127 for 2013, and as of the end of October 2013, a total of US$9,012,274, or 46 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions. Over 59,000 severely malnourished children were enrolled in therapeutic care nationwide. In health, 5,310 children were immunized against measles, 2,676 meningitis cases were treated and behaviour change communication and sterilization of water sources and latrines successfully prevented cholera transmission in the Sahel region. Zero cases of cholera were reported in 2013. Post-emergency standards for water provision were reached and latrines were constructed in all four Malian refugee camps and in some host communities. In addition, 12,978 children in camps were enrolled in the back-to-school campaign. Finally, 14,986 children from camps and host communities benefited from access to child-friendly and safe spaces.

    In 2014, UNICEF will support the Government of Burkina Faso’s response to the humanitarian needs of 100,000 children under 5 with SAM, 500,000 pregnant and lactating women and 150,000 children aged 6 to 23 months suffering from micronutrient deficiencies. Nutrition centres in affected areas will be provided with a basic WASH-in-nutrition package. UNICEF will continue to prevent and respond to cholera and meningitis outbreaks nationwide; provide routine immunization to 1,750 children aged 0 to 11 months and 1,750 pregnant women; and distribute 1,750 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to pregnant women. In refugee camps and in host communities, 10,000 parents caring for children under 5 will be trained on life skills and child survival and development, and UNICEF will continue to provide approximately 20,000 children with access to safe spaces with psychosocial support and recreational activities. 2014 programme targets are:

    • 100,000 children under 5 suffering from SAM treated
    • 1,750 refugee children under 1 and 1,750 pregnant refugee women covered with routine immunization
    • 120,000 people, including 35,000 refugees and 85,000 from host communities, accessing safe WASH services
    • 20,000 children receive psychosocial support and recreation activities, and accessing safe spaces

  • Senegal - Planned results for 2014

    Results from 2013

    UNICEF appealed for US$3,305,266 for 2013, and as of the end of October 2013, a total of US$1,324,007, or 40 per cent of requirements, had been received in contributions. UNICEF supported emergency response in 11 out of 14 regions. Ready-to-use therapeutic food, therapeutic milks and essential medicines were supplied in all health regions. UNICEF assisted with the creation and equipping of nutrition centres in health facilities and supported SAM treatment trainings for health personnel. With country office support, the national nutrition protocol was updated and personnel were trained. Two non-governmental organizations provided technical support to health practitioners and authorities in four regions with UNICEF support. In flood-affected regions, UNICEF provided school supplies and hygiene products to 150 schools, hygiene kits to over 19,000 families, and summer camp to approximately 2,000 vulnerable children.

    Women and children in Senegal remain vulnerable to malnutrition, food insecurity and floods. UNICEF will continue to support health districts to improve SAM management and to strengthen treatment quality, through training, technical support, the provision of materials and overall supervision and coordination. Emergency activities will cover all 14 regions with an integrated package that includes nutrition, health, WASH and communication for development activities. During the flood season, UNICEF will reduce the risk of epidemics through the distribution of hygiene kits and key messages, the disinfection of emergency shelters (schools) and homes, and water quality control and treatment. In addition, affected children in vulnerable areas will have access to child-friendly spaces. 2014 programme targets are:

    • 50,325 children under 5 admitted for SAM treatment and receiving hygiene kits and key counselling on hygiene and nutrition
    • 300,000 people affected by floods supported with hygiene kits, water treatment, school supplies, facility disinfection or child-friendly spaces

    All results as of 31 October 2013
    *UNICEF supported response for refugees/host communities only.

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$66,351,622 to provide technical support and coordination for humanitarian work throughout West and Central Africa in 2014. This includes over US$53 million to support Burkina Faso, Senegal, Cameroon and Nigeria, countries that are not individually profiled in Humanitarian Action for Children 2014. In addition, regional funding may be used to respond to situations elsewhere in the region that are not included in a separate chapter of Humanitarian Action for Children 2014 and may not benefit from inter-agency flash appeals to respond to small- or medium-sized emergencies. WCARO gratefully acknowledges donors’ strong response during 2013 and invites supporters to maintain or increase their commitments to meeting the humanitarian needs of children and women in emergencies in the region during 2014. It is important to note that UNICEF, together with the wider United Nations system, is facing great challenges in the West and Central Africa region with the multitude of protracted and new humanitarian crises that are occurring.

1 Income and requirements for WCARO in 2013 include Cameroon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Nigeria.
2 The ‘shield and sword’ strategy focuses on preparedness, prevention and response.