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.
- Eritrea is vulnerable to extreme weather patterns, which can affect water resources, food production, hygiene, sanitation and health, particularly child and maternal nutrition.
- Measures to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, including restrictions on movement, have disrupted food supply chains globally. While this has not happened yet in Eritrea, if the virus spreads at the community level, this could be a challenge. UNICEF has supported Eritrea to treat child malnutrition, with some progress observed in recent years.
- COVID-19-related school closures and limited remote learning opportunities could increase the number of children who are out of school, and worsen the situation for over 300,000 out-of-school children. In 2021, UNICEF will support the Government to provide learning opportunities for children and support the continuity of education for over 600,000 children.
- UNICEF requires US$18.7 million to address the most critical humanitarian needs for children in Eritrea in 2021.
Key planned results for 2021
20,000 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
60,000 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
200,000 women and children accessing gender-based violence risk mitigation / prevention / response
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
While efforts to address child and maternal nutrition have gained momentum in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic could hinder this progress. Travel restrictions and containment measures imposed globally and in Eritrea to curb the spread of COVID-19 could disrupt food supply chains and lead to higher rates of malnutrition among food insecure households and in nutritionally vulnerable areas unless appropriate measures are taken.
The latest Famine Early Warning Systems Network Food Security Outlook (April 2020) indicates that food security could deteriorate for most Horn of Africa countries due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and persistent price increases. This information indicates that countries in the region should prepare accordingly.
Based on global evidence, the likelihood of children dropping out of school has increased due to the recent COVID-19-related school closures. This could lead to a rise in the number of out-of-school children.
Handwashing with soap is a critical intervention for preventing the spread of COVID-19, according to the global COVID-19 response. This could be an area of opportunity within the ongoing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme for preventing COVID-19. UNICEF will therefore support the provision of handwashing facilities in schools and health facilities; and scale up the dissemination of public health messages on handwashing.
In 2021, UNICEF and partners will support the Government to mainstream humanitarian responses within its regular development programmes. This includes taking integrated and multi-sectoral approaches to life-saving interventions, such as providing safe water and sanitation to affected populations to help reduce childhood illnesses, and supporting the integrated management of acute malnutrition. Populations in hard-to-reach areas will be reached with services using mobile outreach clinics.
UNICEF works with the Ministry of Health to support treatment for malnutrition and mitigate its immediate causes – primarily disease and WASH-related issues. The programme supports local communities to strengthen their capacities for managing common childhood illnesses and promoting positive health-seeking behaviours. UNICEF will continue to build on existing partnerships to address the underlying causes of malnutrition and create resilient communities equipped to absorb shocks and prevent further malnutrition. UNICEF is supporting the Government to finalize and implement the national strategy for Accelerated High Impact Nutrition Intervention, which ensures a complete cycle of treatment and prevention of acute malnutrition across systems.
UNICEF will work with the Ministry of Education to establish non-formal complementary education centres with trained facilitators to cater to older children; and provide access to quality early childhood education by establishing early caregiving centres and training facilitators to create early learning opportunities for children in remote communities. UNICEF will support schools to be more resilient through the implementation of safety protocols; ensure the continuity of education for over 600,000 children; and expand learning opportunities / basic skills education for children.
UNICEF will support life-saving health interventions, as well as postnatal, maternal and newborn care and mobile outreach services to remote and hard-to-reach communities. Neonatal intensive care – also known as intensive care nurseries – will be scaled up to provide specialized care for ill or premature newborns. UNICEF will continue to support hygiene promotion, water quality monitoring, the provision and rehabilitation of water supply, and the implementation of the community-led total sanitation approach.
UNICEF will work with Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare on social and child protection, including addressing violence against children, gender-based violence and harmful practices, through community-based child rights committees. Social protection programmes will include the provision of one-off cash grants to support income generating activities for vulnerable families; educational support for at-risk children from vulnerable families; mobility support for children with disabilities; and psychosocial support provided through the Community Based Rehabilitation Programme. UNICEF also provides critical protection services designed to prevent injury, violence and disability in schools and communities, including mine risk education and violence prevention education.
UNICEF supports community engagement in social and behaviour change by imparting critical knowledge and skills through comprehensive pandemic prevention and control messages. Positive behaviours are promoted within communities to support access to essential social services. UNICEF partners with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Information through the risk communication and community engagement programme to strengthen communication capacities through community-based platforms, schools and health facilities; and works to equip them with information to support contact tracing and community surveillance.
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 Eritrea; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.