© UNICEF Afghanistan
. UNICEF is conducting water/sanitation hygiene awareness to prevent people taking water from the river as shown in the photos

UNICEF provides full efforts to deliver emergency assistance during conflict and natural disasters, in addition, to its development support to the children and women of Afghanistan, The organisation is working closely with the government at the central and local levels, NGOs, other UN agencies and community level as and when required or possible. In the last decade, the country has faced critical emergency due to conflict situation and some large natural disaster such as floods, earthquakes, drought, harsh winters etc. UNICEF has been involved in such emergencies by supporting children and has been an active partner of the government in any emergency. This year as of end of July, lifesaving support has been provided to 7,860 families (65,678 individuals) through UNICEF regional offices.

UNICEF Emergency Planning, Management & Coordination System: Emergency has been mainstreamed into UNICEF country programme. Harmonise Emergency Response Management Initiative (HERMI) has been introduced in early 2011 which is regularly updated by the responsible emergency focal points in programme and operation. Apart from UNICEF role in clusters, it has also specific response role in emergency in line with the Core Commitment for Children (CCC) in humanitarian action. UNICEF jointly with partners and various cluster teams continues to provide the lifesaving humanitarian response in order to meet its core commitment for children (CCC). The Field Coordination and Emergency section is responsible for overall coordination of the emergency preparedness planning, response and monitoring for UNICEF Afghanistan.

For the better coordination and management of the emergency issues within the office, UNICEF’s Emergency Management Team (EMT) chaired by Representative meets once in every two months with the cluster coordinators (WASH, Education, Nutrition and Child Protection sub-cluster), Section emergency focal points (Nominated by sections for HERMI) and the emergency team of the field coordination unit. This would create more synergy within UNICEF for effective planning, implementation and reporting of the emergency issues and allow UNICEF to play a strategic and leadership role in the Humanitarian Country Team of UN.  In addition, monitoring frame work for emergency response which includes lifesaving and protracted responses is also in place and updated quarterly.

Each UNICEF zone office has its own emergency preparedness plan for each year which describes the minimum target population under the response plan for any emergency. As is the current practice, the zone offices through UNICEF partner agencies such as, governments, NGOs and other UN agencies continue to respond to emergency as they occur to save lives of the children and women during any natural disaster and conflicts. 

Cluster Lead and UNICEF in Afghanistan: UNICEF at present leading three clusters WASH, Education (co-lead with Save the Children), Nutrition and one sub-cluster --Child Protection Sub-cluster. All UNICEF lead clusters are functional at the national level and some at sub-national level. There is a dedicated cluster coordinator for Nutrition and the rest clusters supported through UNICEF regular staff members.  

Over the last one year, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) proposed to deactivate some clusters. They undertook a strategic review of operational coordination to examine and improve the cluster architecture. Based on the consultative review, it was decided to rationalize the number of national coordination structures. After this initiative the HCT mandated the clusters to review and make final recommendations on the types of the operation coordination. UNICEF cluster leads already started the process and they prepared a transition plan which includes the aim, process, timeline and the impact/implication??.

Child Centred DRR: Recognizing the recurring incidents of natural disasters in Afghanistan and revision in the policy of CCC, UNICEF started intervention on risks reduction strategy, particularly in the north, to contribute to enhancing capacity of the community for a resilient society. UNICEF implements a development programme within a complex emergency context and will put more emphasize on:  i) a long-term sustainable interventions to increase the resilience of the community and the family through Child Centred Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) at community level in collaboration with partners; ii) Strengthening the capacity of the government’s sectoral coordination mechanism for the disaster management and the Provincial Disaster Management Committee (PDMC); and iv) Advocacy with the IPs and development partners including NGOs for developing the national policy and strategies on CCDRR, early warning system, and build consensus on Hyogo Framework, and Sphere Standard, etc.

Through a Project Cooperation Agreement with Save the Children UNICEF is implementing CCDRR in Balkh, Saripul and Jawzjan provinces of Afghanistan. The project started since late 2012 for next two years. It target 120 communities across three provinces with various community-based DRR interventions. A total of 23,840 direct beneficiaries, of which 20,640 are children, and benefit approximately 155,400 indirect beneficiaries through building wider community resilience and strengthening government, and civil society, capacity.



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