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.
- In Cameroon, 3.9 million people (including 2.1 million children, 969,000 women and 587,000 people with disabilities) urgently require humanitarian assistance. Their needs are created by armed conflict, intercommunal violence, the influx of refugees from neighbouring countries, disease outbreaks including cholera and measles and seasonal flooding. Increased security incidents and violence hamper humanitarian access and the ability to reach affected populations with life-saving interventions.
- UNICEF will tackle new and protracted humanitarian needs by investing in emergency preparedness, scaling up its field presence and strengthening localization and accountability to affected populations. UNICEF’s programme will strengthen the integration of gender equality, the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse and prevention and response to gender-based violence in emergencies. UNICEF and partners will apply a targeted, multisectoral approach across interventions.
- UNICEF requires US$64 million to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance within a context characterized by significant access challenges and a volatile security situation. Child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and nutrition sectors have the greatest funding needs.
Key planned results for 2023
64,400 children with severe wasting admitted for treatment
190,400 children vaccinated against measles
341,000 children/caregivers accessing community-based mental health and psychosocial support
478,800 children accessing formal or non-formal education, including early learning
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
Cameroon is facing concurrent, complex and protracted crises, driven by armed conflict and a refugee influx that now impacts 9 of the country's 10 regions. Cameroon remains vulnerable to disease outbreaks, especially measles and cholera. As of 29 September 2022, eight regions had been affected by cholera, with a total of 12,373 cases and 249 deaths.
In 2022, 3.9 million people need humanitarian assistance, of whom 2.1 million are children and 53 per cent are women/girls. More than 2 million people are in extreme need. A total of 975,786 people are internally displaced and more than 1 million people are either refugees or returnees. Cameroon is currently ranked 141 out of 162 countries on gender equality. Gender-based discrimination against women and girls is further aggravated in regions affected by crises.
Humanitarian needs play out against a backdrop of structural deficits, chronic vulnerabilities and multidimensional poverty that challenges the long-term recovery of affected people.
In the first three quarters of 2022, 1,294 security incidents were recorded in North-West and South-West Regions, including but not limited to protection and grave violations against children. These security incidents include confrontations between parties to the conflict or either party targeting civilians or such civilian facilities as schools and hospitals. Some of these incidents amounted to grave violations against children, which are reported by the United Nations in accordance with the established mechanisms.
Nearly 40 attacks on education occurred from January to September 2022. These included the abduction of 65 teachers/students, the burning of eight schools and the killing of five teachers.
The Lake Chad Basin conflict continues to create considerable humanitarian needs in Cameroon's Far North Region. Humanitarian access is hampered by the use and presence of improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance, combined with physical constraints such as poor road infrastructure and seasonal flooding. As of September 2022, 37,000 people were affected by floods in Far North Region and 2,400 houses were destroyed. This flooding has also led to the destruction of 88 schools, disrupting the education of more than 26,615 children.
High levels of malnutrition endure among refugee populations. The global acute malnutrition rate as of February 2021 was 12.5 per cent in some refugee sites. Adamawa, East and North Regions host more than 329,500 refugees from the Central African Republic. Littoral, West and Centre Regions host increasing numbers of internally displaced people affected by armed conflict in North-West and South-West Regions, with the displaced population in Littoral and West Regions growing from 166 225 people in 2021 to 194 065 in 2022.
UNICEF is focused on scaling up its field presence to identify and respond to the needs of affected populations, including those in hard-to-reach, insecure areas. This is particularly important in North-West, South-West and Far North Regions, where locally tailored negotiations are key to increasing humanitarian access and the delivery of assistance.
UNICEF's humanitarian strategy is concurrently tackling new as well as chronic humanitarian needs. It is designed to be agile, risk-informed, and responsive. Through recovery and development assistance, where possible, systems are being strengthened and protracted humanitarian needs met.
UNICEF is now the lead of the Localization Working Group in Cameroon and is committed to pursuing a strong localization strategy, in partnership with Government, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and people in need of humanitarian assistance. This is critical to navigating complex community dynamics and delivering humanitarian assistance.
To ensure a gender-sensitive response, UNICEF is working to strengthen partners’ capacities in gender-sensitive analysis, the prevention of gender-based violence and the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. UNICEF is a member of the Accountability to Affected Populations Working Group, led by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Accountability to affected populations will be assured through improved reporting mechanisms and systematic third-party monitoring in hard-to-reach areas.
UNICEF will provide access to quality treatment for children suffering from severe wasting. To reduce malnutrition in the long-term, UNICEF’s response aims to increase the proportion of infants aged 0-5 months who are exclusively breastfed to 46 per cent and the proportion of children aged 6-23 months who are receiving the minimum dietary diversity to 25 per cent (by 2025). To achieve this and to reduce the need for emergency treatment in the long term, UNICEF will apply a multisectoral approach using the health, food and social protection platforms.
UNICEF will continue to meet sector and cluster lead responsibilities in education, WASH, nutrition and the child protection area of responsibility. In Cameroon, UNICEF is currently piloting the Blueprint for Joint Action with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in East Region. UNICEF is also a member of the task force on Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus established by the United Nations Country Team to support the implementation of inter-agency humanitarian and development initiatives.
Find out more about UNICEF's work
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 Cameroon; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.