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.
- Severe drought and the secondary socioeconomic effects of COVID-19 have affected access to basic needs for children in Kenya. The President of Kenya declared the ongoing severe drought a national disaster on 9 September 2021, with 2.1 million people being food insecure by August 2021. Some 653,000 children aged 6 to 59 months require treatment for acute malnutrition, of which 142,000 are severely malnourished.
- UNICEF will support the Government, United Nations and partners in the delivery of life-saving and protective interventions to drought-affected populations, providing essential services to refugees, and cushioning vulnerable families in the urban informal settlements against the socioeconomic effects of COVID-19 through strengthening multi-sectoral linkages and maximizing integrated coverage to meet gaps in the response efforts of the Government and partners.
- UNICEF Kenya is requesting US$30.9 million to support critical life-saving and protective interventions for the most vulnerable children in the arid and semi-arid counties (ASAL), refugee camps and urban informal settlements.
Key planned results for 2022
89,675 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
232,975 children and women accessing health care
450,000 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
30,024 children / caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support
Funding requirements for 2022
Country needs and strategy
The President of Kenya declared the ongoing drought a national disaster on 9 September 2021. Over 2.1 million people in the 23 arid and semi-arid (ASAL) counties were food insecure by August 2021, up from 1.4 million in February 2021 and 739,000 in August 2020. Of these, approximately 1 million are children. By October 2021, the number is projected to reach 2.4 million due to the forecasted below-normal October-December 2021 rain season.
Twenty ASAL counties are reporting above-average distances to water sources for households and 17 counties for livestock, leading to inter-communal conflict and disease outbreaks. An increase in upper respiratory tract infections and malaria was reported across ASALs by May 2021, and 36 suspected cholera cases were reported in Turkana county and Dadaab Refugee Camps. By August 2021, a total of 625 measles cases were reported in West Pokot and Garissa counties.
By 21 September 2021, Kenya had reported 246,956 COVID-19 cases with 5,008 deaths (case-fatality rate of 2.02 per cent). There is insufficient public information to sustain preventative behaviours, including correct wearing of masks and social distancing. In addition, insufficient access to water due to the drought will constrain consistent handwashing. Between June 2020 and June 2021, 5,453 (51.1 per cent) of child protection cases were related to neglect and 1,195 cases (10 per cent) to child pregnancy, indicating increased vulnerability for children and adolescents due to COVID-19 and drought. Poverty levels are substantially higher, particularly among urban households as pandemic control measures continue to hinder economic recovery. Constrained access to essential services in the COVID-19 context continues, with 360,000 children, adolescents and pregnant or breastfeeding women needing HIV care and treatment. After schools reopened in January 2021 following a 10-month pandemic-related closure, 53 per cent of learners demonstrated learning loss, with girls in lower grades more impacted than boys.
Malnutrition levels have surpassed the emergency threshold, with global acute malnutrition rates of 15-30 per cent in the eight arid counties due to drought. Nationally, 652,960 children aged 6 to 59 months, of which 465,000 are in ASALs, and 96,480 pregnant or lactating women require treatment for acute malnutrition. 142,809 of the children are severely acutely malnourished.
Kenya hosts 525,671 refugees and asylum seekers as of 31 August 2021, of which 227,429 reside in Dadaab and 215,810 in Kakuma refugee camps. On 23 March 2021, the Government of Kenya announced closure of all refugee camps by 30 June 2022, impacting protection of refugees in the COVID-19 context.
UNICEF will support the Government, United Nations and partners in the delivery of life-saving and protective interventions to drought-affected populations, providing essential services to refugees and cushioning vulnerable families in the urban informal settlements against the socioeconomic effects of COVID-19 through strengthening multi-sectoral linkages and maximizing integrated coverage to meet gaps in the response efforts of the Government and partners. Support will also be provided to strengthen Government capacity and shock-responsive systems for delivery of basic social services.
Through its child rights mandate and sector lead role, UNICEF will provide operational, technical and managerial support by developing strategic partnerships to provide critical nutrition, WASH, education, health, social protection, HIV/AIDS and child protection services. Community volunteers will be supported to take services closer to affected communities by delivering integrated life-saving services at community level and providing referrals for specialized care. Support will be provided to enhance Government protocols on safe schools and improving learning outcomes in the drought and COVID-19 context.
Gender analysis will inform the design of equitable, responsive and inclusive programming. Targeted interventions to address particular vulnerabilities for girls, women and persons with disabilities will be supported, community participation in all stages of programme implementation will be ensured, and appropriate feedback mechanisms will be strengthened.
UNICEF will adhere to and support COVID-19 preventive guidelines and Government pandemic control protocols, particularly in schools, health facilities and community engagement activities. COVID-19 preventive messaging will be integrated with other key behaviour and social change messaging.
Multiple strategies and channels of communication, including FM radio, social media and community volunteers, will disseminate messages, create awareness, increase community participation, receive feedback and increase demand for basic social services.
All UNICEF partnership agreements will outline partner responsibility in preventing and reporting sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and community sensitization on the zero tolerance to SEA. UNICEF will raise awareness on identifying and reporting SEA through the toll-free national child and gender-based violence (GBV) helplines, monitor reported cases, support mental health and psychosocial support and referrals for specialized care.
UNICEF will use its comparative advantage in supply and logistics to procure assorted life-saving commodities using economies of scale for the delivery of life-saving interventions to the most vulnerable and maintain the supply pipeline for critical supplies.
In close collaboration with UNDP and the United Nations Resident Coordinator, UNICEF will strengthen resilience and the humanitarian-peace-development nexus through technical and financial support to the development of the Disaster Risk Management legal framework and strengthening devolved governance structures.
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 Kenya; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.