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, urgent support is needed to save lives, ensure protection and access to quality learning opportunities and alleviate the suffering of displaced, refugee, returnee and host community children, including those vulnerable to measles and cholera outbreaks and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
- UNICEF will support its partners through capacity building, training and enhanced monitoring; invest in data improvements for better evidence, targeting and advocacy; and undertake complementary, multi-sector responses in hard-to-reach areas, especially the North-West and South-West regions.
- Given the attacks on civilians in the Far North, UNICEF will scale up its operations to improve delivery, monitoring and reporting. Child protection and education activities in the Far North, North-West and South-West will strengthen the protective environment.
- UNICEF requires US$83.1 million to provide life-saving measles vaccination, safe water, sanitation, protection and education interventions for children affected by multiple crises. Implementing partners will deliver these services with UNICEF support, including for coordination and monitoring.
Key planned results for 2021
130,000 children vaccinated against measles
400,000 people reached with critical water, sanitation and hygiene supplies and services
340,118 children / caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support
516,000 children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
Intensifying attacks on civilians in the Far North, the continuing North-West/South-West crisis and the uncertainty complicating refugee returns to the Central African Republic have worsened the humanitarian situation in Cameroon. There are over 1 million internally displaced persons, 360,000 returnees and 418,000 refugees from the Central African Republic and Nigeria, mostly in the Far North, North-West, South-West and East regions. Children and women are facing shocking human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence.
Over 3 million children are affected by multiple protracted crises in areas where the nutrition situation is fragile; and more than 500,000 of these children need nutrition interventions. Only 20 per cent of children in the North-West, South-West and Far North are fully vaccinated against measles. In the North-West and South-West, 19 per cent of health facilities are not functioning due to insecurity. The number of assisted deliveries has fallen significantly, and undernourished children urgently require nutritional supplementation.
In the Far North, isolated communities are exposed to daily killings, abductions and looting by armed groups and 150,000 children are displaced, increasing the risk of abduction and recruitment. In 2020, increased attacks on internally displaced camps were observed, and 50,000 people fled their villages in seek of greater protection. Attacks on civilians, including aid workers, have also increased. In the North-West and South-West regions, the protection of civilians, particularly children and women, is a major concern. Children, particularly boys, are being killed and abducted, and both boys and girls are experiencing family separation, gender-based violence and lack of civil documentation. Displacement is ongoing in forest areas and urban centres and to neighbouring regions (Littoral and West). Education is increasingly politicized, and even non-formal education has been blocked. Insecurity is threatening communities, children and humanitarian workers and aid delivery has been delayed due to restrictions on movement.
The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated humanitarian needs and complicated the response given the overburdened health services, schools and water systems. Some 49 health districts, particularly those affected by conflict, are at risk of measles and nearly 1,300 cholera cases have been reported as of August 2020. The needs of 280,000 Central African refugees add to this strain, and insecurity has forced over 2,700 persons into eastern Cameroon. Insufficient consideration of gender and accountability is hindering transformative programming. Cash-based approaches remain peripheral. And while 25,000 people are annually displaced by natural disasters, local early warning/early action capacities are almost non-existent.
UNICEF will respond to the complex and increasing humanitarian needs of children and women in Cameroon by applying lessons from the 2019–2020 emergency response, including the COVID-19 response. This includes supporting predictable partnerships with national and international non-governmental organizations; and building capacities for compliance, technical training and quality monitoring, including third-party monitoring.
UNICEF will emphasize needs-based assessment and needs-based resource mobilization—leaving no child behind. This will be informed and supported by data investments for evidence, targeting and advocacy, including by documenting the impact of conflict on children.
Children and communities will be accessed through complementary, multi-sector responses in hard-to-reach areas and sites for internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees/host communities. This will include the Comprehensive Child Response Programme in the North-West/South-West regions, which emphasizes rapid response targeting for diarrhoea, measles, malnutrition, malaria, pneumonia and neonatal care.
Given the unrelenting attacks and displacements, UNICEF will enhance its operations in the Far North by strengthening risk analysis, capacities for early action, monitoring, quality and timely reporting and advocacy. UNICEF will strengthen its staff presence for assessment, partner engagement and monitoring, drawing on its operational capacities in outposts in the Far North and North-West.
UNICEF will invest in the prevention of infectious diseases in high poverty/high displacement/refugee settings given the continuing impacts of COVID-19 and the expanding threats of measles and cholera. UNICEF will also build resilience and reduce inequities through education and by using technology to accelerate quality learning.
Gender-transformative programming will be reinforced through quarterly benchmark reviews, as well as standards and accountability for the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. Systems strengthening interventions embedded in humanitarian response will be tracked to articulate humanitarian and development linkages. Technical support will strengthen community-level flood early warning in the Far North and national disaster risk reduction will be supported through an emerging child-centred national platform. UNICEF will accelerate multi-sector cash-based programming.
Inter-agency coordination and partnership will be key, including the Blueprint Initiative with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), food security, nutrition and school health interventions with the World Food Programme (WFP) and health systems strengthening and rapid response to disease outbreaks with the World Health Organization (WHO). With the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UNICEF will support cluster coordination for nutrition, education, child protection and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for the North-West/South-West response.
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.