We’re building a new UNICEF.org.
As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

Map of Eritrea
UNICEF photo: A woman administers an oral frop to a child held by another woman, a 3rd woman assists © UNICEF Eritrea/2016/Hadish A community health worker provides a child with vitamin A supplementation.


In 2017, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children under 5 provided with vitamin A supplementation


children immunized against measles


children affected by acute watery diarrhoea accessing life-saving curative interventions

2017 Requirements: US$11,050,000

x Donate Now
Please confirm your country and we will take you to the right donation page:


Total people to be reached in 2017: 505,0001
Total children to be reached in 2017: 450,000

Eritrea is a country that is arid and semi-arid. Eighty percent of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for its livelihoods2. Rain-fed agriculture is the predominant economic activity, employing more than two thirds of the population. By virtue of its location in the Sahel, Eritrea is affected by periodic drought and food shortages. Even in times of good rainfall, domestic food production is estimated to meet between 60 to 70 percent of the population’s needs3. Data from the Nutrition Sentinel Site Surveillance4 system indicates an increase in malnutrition rates over the past few years in four out of six regions of the country, with 22,700 children under five projected to be affected by severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2017. National data also indicates half of Eritrean children are stunted5. Vulnerabilities of children will need to be addressed through collective action.

Humanitarian strategy

2017 programme targets


  • 15,000 children under 5 with SAM admitted into therapeutic feeding programmes
  • 40,000 children under 5 with MAM benefiting from targeted supplementary feeding
  • 450,000 children under 5 provided with vitamin A supplementation


  • 100,000 children immunized against measles
  • 50,000 children affected by acute watery diarrhoea accessing life-saving curative interventions


  • 45,000 people accessing 15 litres of water per person per day for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
  • 45,000 people reached with appropriate hygiene messages

Child protection

  • 30,000 children and young people in and out of school provided with integrated mine risk education programmes on injury prevention in high-risk communities
  • 15,000 vulnerable children reached and supported with basic social services during emergencies


  • 15,000 out-of-school children from nomadic communities provided with access to basic education

UNICEF and partners will continue to mainstream humanitarian response within regular development programmes to contribute to the Government’s efforts to reach the most vulnerable children. This includes an integrated approach to life-saving interventions. In 2017, UNICEF will continue to support the Government to implement blanket supplementary feeding to prevent malnutrition of children under 5, pregnant women and lactating mothers. This will include procuring routine medicines for the management of SAM and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). UNICEF will support a multi-sectoral response in vulnerable communities facing heightened risk of diarrhoea and high levels of malnutrition. Local capacities will be built in these communities through outreach and training programmes to support the provision of safe water and access to appropriate hygiene practices. In support of the Government Health Sector Strategic Plan, UNICEF will strengthen health systems for service delivery and will prioritize routine immunization coverage and community case management of childhood illnesses. Schools in vulnerable areas will offer programmes designed to raise children’s awareness of explosive remnants of war. UNICEF will also support the enrolment of 15,000 (currently out-of-school) nomadic children, working with the Ministry of Education, via advocacy campaigns, outreach and enrolment programmes. Communication for Development will be used to achieve programme results in all sectors.

Results from 2016

As of 31 October 2016, UNICEF had received US$7.8 million against the US$16 million requirement.6 Some 13,000 children under 5 with SAM and 34,000 children under 5 with MAM were treated and 376,000 children received vitamin A. In addition, 30,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers and children under 5 living in hard-to-reach areas benefited from blanket supplementary feeding. Approximately 97,000 children were immunized against measles, and 70,000 children affected by acute watery diarrhoea received life-saving curative interventions. UNICEF surpassed its targets for vitamin A and acute watery diarrhoea support by reprogramming regular programme funds and liaising with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO). A total of 31,000 people benefited from improved access to safe water, including 10,500 people in seven communities with new solar-powered water supply schemes, and 20,500 people in regions affected by acute watery diarrhoea through the provision of water treatment supplies for one month. Key preventative messages on protection, education, health and nutrition reached more than 1 million people in vulnerable areas. While 5,000 children were reached with psychosocial support, fewer children than planned accessed mine risk education and basic education due to limited funding for child protection and education activities.

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$11 million to meet the needs of children in Eritrea in 2017. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the health, child protection, WASH and education needs of the most vulnerable children and communities.

1 Total people to be reached is calculated based on 450,000 children under 5 for nutrition and 45,000 people for WASH.
2 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Regional Outlook for the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region: Recommendations for humanitarian action and resilience response’, Special World Humanitarian Summit Edition, July-September 2016, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Jul-Sep_Regional_Outlook_Doc_PDF_FINAL_22Aug.pdf, accessed 6 December 2016.
3 World Bank. See http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/eritrea/overview
4 Eritrea Ministry of Health, Nutrition Sentinel Site Surveillance System, 2016.
5 Eritrea Population and Health Survey, 2010.
6 Available funds included funding received against the current appeal of US$6.8 million and US$1 million carried forward from the previous year.