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.
Despite improvements in overall security and stability in Iraq, some 4.1 million people – half of them children – remain in need of humanitarian assistance. The needs are severe for some 1.78 million people.
The 4.55 million people who have returned to conflict-affected areas face risks of violence and retaliation and lack of access to basic services. For the 1.44 million people experiencing prolonged displacement, these risks must be weighed against the difficult life in camps and host communities, where water, sanitation, education and health infrastructure and services are overburdened or damaged. Only 39 per cent of households have safely-managed drinking water and despite some progress, outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases continue to affect the vulnerable.
Violence against children is extensive, psychosocial distress is high, and many children lack official identity documents, jeopardizing access to basic services, including education. Inequity is persistent and significant. Nearly 10 per cent of primary school-aged girls are out of school, compared with 7 per cent of boys. The poorest children are twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday. Girls, boys and women who have survived gender-based violence are in dire need of higher quality and more accessible specialized services to support their recovery.
Key planned results for 2020
623,613 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
106,121 children accessing psychosocial support
170,000 children accessing formal and non-formal education
Funding requirements for 2020
The UNICEF strategy in Iraq is informed by national humanitarian priorities, the 2020–2024 Country Programme and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is aligned with the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan. UNICEF emphasizes protecting and empowering vulnerable children, adolescents, women and people with disabilities.
UNICEF leads the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) cluster, child protection sub-cluster and Nutrition Working Group; co-leads the education cluster; and is an active member of the health cluster and gender-based violence sub-cluster. In 2020, UNICEF will work with humanitarian and development actors, including United Nations agencies, government counterparts and non-government partners, to support transition to sector coordination and mainstream child-centred, gender-responsive emergency preparedness into national plans. UNICEF will strengthen capacities, enabling national partners to reach crisis-affected children and integrate gender-based violence risk mitigation, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse and youth engagement across all programmes.
To reinforce resilience, UNICEF will continue safe water, gender-sensitive sanitation and hygiene awareness interventions in camps and return areas in need. Children under 5 years will receive critical vaccination and nutrition services, focusing on low-coverage areas. UNICEF will continue to support education in camps and return areas, and critical psychosocial support and specialized protection services for at-risk children and caregivers.
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 Iraq; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.