Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
- Burundi experiences recurrent humanitarian crises with cyclic natural disasters and health epidemics with implications on population movement and nutrition. The country’s weak preparedness for future disasters, along with the COVID-19 pandemic impact, worsens the ongoing socioeconomic crisis, significantly slowing down development.
- UNICEF aims to provide a timely, coordinated and multi-sectoral humanitarian response through the continuity of nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, education and protection services. UNICEF centers its strategy on supporting affected and at-risk populations along with reinforcing their preparedness to face humanitarian crises. A particular focus is put on linking humanitarian actions to development programming and strengthening the resilience of communities.
- In 2022, UNICEF requires US$22 million to provide multi-sectoral assistance to vulnerable children and women affected by the recurrent humanitarian crises in Burundi. This includes US$6.1 million for the first-line response to severe and acute malnutrition and US$5 million to address the important needs of children in WASH.
Key planned results for 2022
440,300 children and women accessing health care
150,000 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
118,953 children / caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support
95,480 children receiving individual learning materials
Funding requirements for 2022
Country needs and strategy
In Burundi, 1.8 million people, including 946,000 children, 429,000 women and 92,000 persons with disabilities, urgently need humanitarian assistance. Burundi is among the poorest countries in the world, experiencing recurrent humanitarian crises, including natural disasters, population movements, disease outbreaks and protection issues. In 2021,191,402 people repatriated and around 116,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were reported. Throughout 2021, Burundi faced unprecedented floods, increasing the number of disaster areas and the number of IDPs caused by natural disasters up to 92 per cent.
Access to social services and basic infrastructures remains low across the country. Around 39 per cent of the population lack access to basic water, while 56 per cent lack access to basic sanitation services. Hygiene awareness needs increased, as only 6 per cent of the population has access to basic hygiene services. The education rate remains low, as 1.9 million children and adolescents of school age (4 to 19 years) out of 5.1 million are still out of school, (37 per cent dropouts and 63 per cent never attended school and half of repatriated children lack access to formal education). Child protection remains a concern as 93,498 children do not have birth certificates as of 31 December 2021, thus limiting their access to basic social services. 2,903 unaccompanied children are particularly at risk of trafficking, abuse, exploitation and violence, including gender-based violence (GBV).
The prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) is not improving over the years, reaching 6.1 per cent, with 31 of the 47 districts in a precarious situation (GAM 5 to 9.9 per cent). Only 6.8 per cent of children (6 to 23 months) receive a minimum acceptable diet. More than 55,000 children under 5 years of age are estimated to be at risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2021.
Some diseases with high epidemic potential remain prevalent across the country, including malaria, measles and COVID-19. The health system and facilities at community level remain fragile, and one fifth of the population lacks access to primary healthcare. There has been a 14 per cent increase in malaria cases compared to the same period last year. End of 2021, 634 cases of measles were recorded in 36 of the 47 health districts.
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to keep interrupting a still-fragile economic recovery, exacerbating humanitarian needs. As of 31 December 2021, a total of 31,615 people tested positive for COVID-19. The situation deteriorated with a peak wave caused by the Omicron variant, although most reported cases are asymptomatic, with a reported death rate of under 1 per cent so far.
In 2022, UNICEF will continue to be a major actor in emergency humanitarian response through providing multi-sectoral and integrated life-saving response to the acute needs of children and women affected by natural hazards, disease outbreaks, malnutrition and population movements. UNICEF’s interventions are aligned with inter-agency strategies, including the Humanitarian Response Plan, the COVID-19 Strategic Response Plan and Joint Returnee Reintegration and Refugee plan.
Through its humanitarian strategy, UNICEF will ensure timely and holistic humanitarian assistance by reinforcing the links between health, nutrition, WASH, education, child protection and social policy programs and activities. UNICEF will also work on the rehabilitation and construction of basic social infrastructure affected or damaged by the crises affecting Burundi. UNICEF will strengthen its community-based approach to enhance humanitarian response efficiency, engaging women and children's rights and strengthening communities’ resilience, especially through capacity-building, technical support, strengthening of local and community-based organizations, as well as dissemination of appropriate life-saving messages to at-risk and affected communities and operationalization of feedback and complaint mechanisms.
UNICEF will bridge its humanitarian interventions with development programming to strengthen communities’ resilience and preparedness for future disasters. It includes expanding disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness interventions and building community-based resilience thanks to medium- and long-term solutions while responding to immediate humanitarian needs.
UNICEF continues to work with community-based solidarity groups (Nawe Nuze), who play a leading role in identifying problems and developing sustainable ways to address disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, food insecurity, livelihood and education, among other relevant topics. These solidarity groups ensure the focus on community resilience and sustainability, support the early recovery of affected households, offering solidarity, economic opportunities and enabling good practices to flourish. UNICEF supports with setting up, training in good practices, referral systems and cash transfers for investment in income generating activities. This strategy promotes an intervention 'as local as possible, as international as necessary', following the World Humanitarian Summit call.
Throughout UNICEF's assistance, cross-cutting issues such as gender, gender-based violence and disabilities are integrated. UNICEF also invests in a systemic approach to preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, including regular training, community engagement, risk assessment, increased vetting and human resources measures.
UNICEF continues to lead the WASH, nutrition and education sectors, the child protection subsector and co-lead the health sector that will continue to support the National Platform for Risk Prevention and Disaster Management to respond to natural disasters regularly affecting the country.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in Burundi; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.