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.
- Children and women throughout Ethiopia remain at high risk for protection concerns and other harms stemming from armed conflict and violence, climate shocks and stressors, multiple disease outbreaks, new refugee influxes and large-scale population displacements. Twenty million people require humanitarian assistance, including 15.4 million children and women and nearly 4.4 million displaced people.
- Humanitarian assistance that addresses the risks and vulnerabilities of communities will form the basis of UNICEF's humanitatian action in Ethiopia in 2024. The aim is to prevent suffering and the loss of life and to develop the resilience of communities most at risk. UNICEF will focus on displaced, returnee, refugee and host communities.
- This 2024 Humanitarian Action for Children appeal requests $535.3 million to ensure critical humanitarian assistance reaches the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations nationwide and helps to strengthen their resilience. UNICEF's comprehensive support will include the treatment of severely malnourished children; support for out-of-school children to return to school; water trucking and the solarization of water schemes; mental health and psychosocial support; and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of children associated with armed forces and armed groups.
Key planned targets
2.9 million children and women accessing primary health care
188,014 children/caregivers accessing community-based mental health and psychosocial support
4.9 million people accessing a sufficient quantity and quality of water
265,000 households reached with UNICEF-funded humanitarian cash transfers
Funding requirements for 2024
Country needs and strategy
Armed conflict and intercommunal violence, climate hazards, disease outbreaks, acute food insecurity and high inflation are contributing to large-scale population displacements, and continue cause a complex and protracted humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia. People's difficulties are compounded by humanitarian access constraints, the suspension of food aid and significant new refugee influxes. Altogether, 20 million Ethiopians require humanitarian assistance, including 15.4 million women and children, nearly 4.4 million displaced people, 1.8 million children with disabilities and 117,000 new refugees.
The situation in Amhara Region is volatile and complex due to armed conflict between national government forces and Fano militia. Access to affected populations, including nearly 1 million internally displaced people, has been largely limited, and protection concerns and reports of human rights violations are mounting. Basic services, markets and livelihoods have been disrupted and a key farming season missed. In Oromia Region, armed conflict is present in 11 out of 20 zones. More than 1 million people are displaced and many are inaccessible to humanitarian actors. Meanwhile, 40 per cent of the region's woredas are drought-affected. Livelihoods have been lost and negative coping mechanisms are on the rise. Altogether, 2.5 million children in the region are out of school.
In Tigray Region, despite progress since the signing of a peace agreement in late 2022, an estimated 1 million people remain displaced; and 274,000 ex-combatants are yet to be reintegrated into society. The rehabilitation of damaged and destroyed infrastructure and the resuscitation of essential services are key to recovering from two years of war. And in Afar Region, due to the compounding effects of conflict, drought, floods and disease outbreaks, 84 per cent of all woredas are classified as priority one hotspot woredas, while the remaining 16 per cent are classified as priority two.
Children and families throughout the country must navigate multiple disease outbreaks. Since August 2022, more than 25,000 cholera cases have been reported (with a 1.37 per cent case fatality rate). And, in addition to 18,899 cases of measles, nearly 2.7 million malaria cases and 12,699 dengue fever cases have been reported since January 2023. Control measures for waterborne and vector-borne diseases are lacking. These outbreaks will be further aggravated by the El Niño weather pattern, which will likely cause flooding in southeastern regions, while in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and Afar Regions El Niño it may worsen the drought. Either scenario will deepen displacement, food insecurity and malnutrition.
The burden of these crises falls on the most vulnerable, particularly girls and women, the elderly and those with disabilities, who are trapped in a vicious cycle of inequalities and negative coping mechanisms.
In 2024, UNICEF will continue its timely, principled, child-centred humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia on a ‘no-regrets’ basis. Multiple and integrated streams of work will be carried out in close partnership with the Government and with local and international humanitarian actors. The people who are hardest to reach, those who are in the most vulnerable households, displaced persons and new refugee populations are priorities for humanitarian assistance.
The recent transition of Ethiopia from a Level 3 to a Level 2 emergency belies the ongoing urgency of needs in the country. Critical life-saving assistance will therefore be at the heart of UNICEF's response, while measures for community resilience building will be interwoven into services to help break the cycle of shocks and stressors that have eroded household capacities to cope.
Immediate life-saving assistance includes treatment of children with severe forms of malnutrition; providing access to critical health-care services for pregnant and lactating women; provision of safe spaces for children and women, including mental health and psychosocial support; water trucking during sudden-onset crises; rapid deployment of social workers for case management of survivors of violence and abuse, including gender-based violence; as well as provision of shock-responsive humanitarian cash transfers to address the urgent needs of those newly displaced and other extremely vulnerable households.
Additionally, UNICEF will promote capacity building of health workers to enhance the prevention, early detection and treatment of children who are wasted. The organization will provide support for drilling new boreholes to enable sustainable sources of safe water and to help stem water-borne diseases in places where incidence is highest. UNICEF will augment the 'Bete' programme with integrated child protection and education approaches, and further connect humanitarian cash transfers to the government safety net programme for food-insecure households.
Disability- and gender-sensitive programming is a priority. Partnership approaches will ensure all assistance is equitable and inclusive through capacity strengthening of partners. Zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse will be central to all partnership agreements; the capacity of all staff will be strengthened to ensure the protection of children and women.
Scaling up local partnerships, particularly in hard-to-reach locations, will drive results in 2024. At the same time, UNICEF will consistently engage communities in planning and decision-making processes and through feedback mechanisms. Throughout the programme cycle, community feedback will be sought to hold UNICEF and partners accountable and to make sure that information, supplies and services reflect the needs of communities. Behavioural insights on community resilience will help to identify and design programmes on social and behavioural drivers of life-saving practices and use of services. Conflict-sensitive, ‘do no harm’ programming will guide all interventions, and together with local capacity building will strengthen communities’ resilience to future shocks and stressors.
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 Ethiopia; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.