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.
- With the failure of the last four rainy seasons, Kenya is experiencing the worst drought in 40 years. It is projected that about 4.5 million people in the 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands will require humanitarian assistance, more than double the number of people who required assistance just over a year ago.
- UNICEF supports the Government, in partnership with United Nations agencies and national and international non-governmental organizations, in the delivery of life-saving, protective and multisectoral interventions for people affected by drought, floods and disease outbreaks. UNICEF is also a partner in providing essential services to refugees using a multisectoral approach that addresses gaps in the response.
- UNICEF is requesting US$137.5 million to: 1) scale up the delivery of an integrated package of nutrition, health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services along with multipurpose cash transfers to the most affected populations; and 2) ensure child protection and education needs are addressed.
Key planned results for 2023
1.1 million people accessing primary health care in UNICEF-supported health facilities
238,373 children with severe wasting admitted for treatment
157,334 children/caregivers accessing community-based mental health and psychosocial support
2.1 million people accessing a sufficient quantity and quality of water
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
With the failure of the last four rainy seasons, Kenya is experiencing the worst drought in 40 years. The short rainy season (October-December 2022) remains below average, and the long rains of March-May 2023 are also projected to be below average, resulting in a deterioration of the drought situation and a worsening of its impact on the population. It is projected that about 4.5 million people in the 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands in Kenya require humanitarian assistance, an increase of 114 per cent in just over a year. This situation has been compounded by spiraling inflation in the price of food.
The number of children aged 6-59 months who require treatment for wasting rose from 754,906 in February 2022 to 884,464 in July 2022. Of these, 222,720 children under the age of 5 require treatment for severe wasting. The deteriorating nutrition situation across the 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands is primarily attributed to worsening food insecurity, low milk availability, increased morbidity and water stress.
The main sources of water for domestic use in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands are rivers, boreholes, water pans and shallow wells. The failed rains meant that there was not enough water to refill the open water sources, which dried up the majority of the pans/dams and shallow wells. Borehole breakdown has subsequently increased due to overuse. The average individual water consumption has decreased from 15-20 litres to 4-8 litres per day. Water hauling distances have increased to an average of 2-6 kilometres, up from the five-year average of 1-2 kilometres.
In 2023, the education sector will target about 968,843 children out of an estimated more than 1.5 million learners in drought-affected areas who will need support to remain in school. Keeping children in school will minimize dropout and also help to prevent gender-based violence and violence against children. The main drivers of school absenteeism are: reduced water availability in schools; the lack of school meals; the inability to pay school fees; and the need for children to care for livestock.
A total of 561,836 refugees and asylum-seekers continue to live in Kenya, of whom 42 per cent live in Kakuma refugee camp, 42 per cent live in the Dadaab refuge complex and 16 per cent live in urban areas. The escalation of the conflict in Somalia, coupled with the impact of the drought, has led to more than 55,000 refugees from Somalia arriving in Dadaab.
In partnership with other United Nations agencies and national and international organizations, UNICEF will continue to support the Government to deliver life-saving, protective and multisectoral interventions to people affected by drought, floods and disease outbreaks. UNICEF will support provision of essential services to refugees using a multisectoral approach that addresses gaps in the response efforts of the Government and partners.
Through its child rights mandate and its 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, including strategic high-level advocacy and influencing.
UNICEF will build capacities to ensure the effectiveness of nutrition, health, cash transfers, education and protection services. Community volunteers will be supported to take integrated life-saving services closer to affected communities and provide referrals for specialized care. Support will be provided to enhance government protocols on safe schools and improve learning outcomes against the backdrop of drought. 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.
Gender analysis will inform the design of equitable, responsive and inclusive programming. Targeted interventions will address the specific vulnerabilities of girls, women and people with disabilities and foster community participation at all stages of programme implementation, along with appropriate feedback mechanisms.
All UNICEF partnership agreements will hold partners to account for preventing and reporting sexual exploitation and abuse and for community sensitization on zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse. UNICEF will raise awareness on identifying and reporting sexual exploitation and abuse through the toll-free national child and gender-based violence helplines; the organization will also monitor reported cases and support mental health and psychosocial support and referrals to specialized care.
UNICEF will use its comparative advantage in supply and logistics to procure various life-saving commodities using economies of scale for the delivery of critical interventions to the most vulnerable people, and will maintain the supply pipeline. It will leverage its lead role in risk communication and community engagement to equip communities with appropriate information and skills to avert and respond to humanitarian situations.
With the United Nations Development Programme and the Resident Coordinator, UNICEF will strengthen resilience and the humanitarian-peace-development nexus through technical and financial support for developing disaster risk management legal frameworks. UNICEF will work to strengthen devolved governance structures for disaster risk management along with resilience, especially around WASH interventions, where UNICEF will provide a mix of emergency and longer-term resilience interventions.
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.