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 Ethiopia, 19.2 million people, including 11.7 million children, 4 million women and 1.7 million persons with disabilities, urgently need humanitarian assistance. This is double the number of people in need in 2020 due to the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), desert locust infestation and conflict displacement.
- In 2021, UNICEF will deliver life-saving services to children and families and apply a targeted, multi-sector systems strengthening approach through its partners and eight field offices, and using cash-based solutions.
- UNICEF will address the specific needs of girls, boys, adolescents, women and men using a conflict-sensitive approach, emphasizing accountability to affected populations and focusing on the prevention of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation.
- UNICEF is appealing for US$188 million to reach children in Ethiopia with humanitarian assistance in 2020. This includes major funding requirements for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition, education and child protection.
Key planned results for 2021
568,498 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
476,222 children and women accessing health care
4.8 million people reached with critical water, sanitation and hygiene supplies and services
94,180 children / caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
The humanitarian situation in Ethiopia is complex, with 19.2 million people currently in need of humanitarian assistance as of August 2020, up from 8.4 million in January 2020. This includes 11.7 million children, 4 million women and 1.7 million people with a disability. Additional needs have emanated from the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 and the worst desert locust infestation in 25 years. Ethiopia remains vulnerable to other disease outbreaks, floods, conflict displacement and drought.
The pandemic has threatened the gains made to children's well-being, particularly due to its impact on poverty levels, the delivery of maternal, newborn, child, adolescent and youth health care and education and protection services. Given that women are primarily responsible for procuring and cooking food, rising economic and food insecurity places them at heightened risk of gender-based violence. Yet support for survivors of gender-based violence has been severely disrupted due to overburdened health systems grappling with COVID-19.
The locust infestation has devastated livelihoods and directly impacted food security for millions of people. An extended rainy season has led to flooding that has destroyed livelihoods, services and road infrastructure and caused displacement. The National Flood Task Force estimates that by December 2020, over 2 million people will have been impacted by flooding, and over 500,000 people will be displaced.
Ongoing insecurity, inter-communal violence and military confrontations have also led to displacement and undermined humanitarian access. Some 1.8 million people, including 1.1 million children, are currently displaced.10 The return of more than 1.4 million internally displaced people (52 per cent of them women) has further depleted community resources and increased humanitarian needs.
In addition, 9.7 million people lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation; 687,000 children are severely malnourished, with needs expected to rise; 26 million children are affected by school closures; and 2.4 million children require protection. Ethiopia hosts over 779,000 refugees, including 440,000 children.
Children and women are extremely vulnerable to, and disproportionately impacted by, COVID-19, other disease outbreaks, displacement and the loss of livelihoods. Refugees and internally displaced persons, particularly women and girls, will require protection from gender-based violence and referral to services.
The resources available to respond to the humanitarian needs in Ethiopia are insufficient. The limited number of partners, COVID-19-related operational restrictions, challenging topography, pockets of insecurity and access constraints are hampering the provision of humanitarian assistance.
In 2021, UNICEF will deliver life-saving services for children and families in Ethiopia who have been displaced by conflict, impacted by COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks and affected by climatic shocks, natural hazards and malnutrition. Early preparedness and contingency planning will accelerate the response.
Given the chronic and protracted nature of the needs, UNICEF will apply an equity-based, multi-sector, systems-building approach in its humanitarian action. Where possible, cash-based solutions will be provided through the Government's existing social protection system to strengthen its ability to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable following sudden shocks.
UNICEF will leverage its extensive footprint in Ethiopia, including through its strong capacity for community outreach and its partnerships with the Government and national and international non-governmental organizations. UNICEF will deliver equitably, based on the severity of need, mitigating child migration and ensuring durable solutions by building resilience.
Integrated services will be delivered through common platforms, cross-referrals and communication for development strategies that capitalize on UNICEF’s field presence and leverage its cluster leadership roles in WASH, nutrition and child protection and co-leadership in education. UNICEF also co-leads the COVID-19 response Risk Communication and Community Engagement Pillar with the Ministry of Health.
UNICEF will address the specific needs of girls, boys, women and men by disaggregating data by sex, harmful practices and barriers to accessing services such as education, health, nutrition and protection. Girls, boys, adolescents, women and men will be consulted and equipped to meaningfully engage in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the response. Positive parenting practices will be encouraged across all sectors.
UNICEF’s response will be informed by a conflict-sensitive approach that involves monitoring, responding to and adapting to the changing operational context, including socio-political-ethnic dynamics. Response interventions will link humanitarian and development responses that are conflict-sensitive and promote peacebuilding and social cohesion. These will integrate context-relevant peacebuilding and social cohesion strengthening to address the causes and impacts of conflict. Throughout this work, UNICEF will emphasize the active engagement of adolescents as peacebuilders in their communities.
Protection has been mainstreamed across the response and UNICEF will prioritize the protection of civilians and displaced people, as well as child rights monitoring. UNICEF is also committed to the prevention of exploitation and abuse and has strengthened its reporting mechanisms in this regard; and is contributing to inter-agency efforts to establish community-based complaint mechanisms.
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.