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.
- The socio-economic situation in Madagascar deteriorated in 2020 following several natural disasters, including flooding in the north, prolonged drought in the south and disease outbreaks, such as dengue fever, malaria, measles and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has spread across the country.
- Decreased access to and demand for social services due to COVID-19 has significantly affected households, communities and systems, and exacerbated the vulnerability of children.
- In 2021, UNICEF will reach children in need through a holistic, multi-pronged approach incorporating water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and child protection to protect children's rights and well-being. The response will focus on continuing the provision of social services and mitigating the impacts of COVID-19.
- UNICEF is requesting US$15.4 million to reach 925,000 people, including 534,000 children, affected by epidemics, cyclones, floods and drought, with life-saving assistance in 2021.
Key planned results for 2021
200,000 children and women accessing health care
400,000 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
137,000 women and children accessing gender-based violence risk mitigation / prevention / response
100,000 children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
In 2020, three emergencies hit Madagascar: flooding in the north, prolonged drought in the south and disease outbreaks, including COVID-19, in all 22 regions. As of September, Madagascar had over 16,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The large rainfall deficit in southern Madagascar has left over 580,000 food insecure people in need of social protection. An estimated 120,000 children under 5 years will suffer from acute malnutrition by the end of 2020, and among these, 19,500 will be severely malnourished.
Water prices have increased in Madagascar, and a deterioration in the quality of water is anticipated due to low aquifer reserves, which will challenge access to safe drinking water and sanitation and hygiene services for some 400,000 people. Urban populations are also at risk due to potential shortages of potable water.
While Madagascar is prone to epidemics such as COVID-19, plague and malaria, the health system struggles to ensure continuity of services during crises. In addition, the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 have increased the number of people living in poverty by 2.3 million – including 1.3 million children – and significantly increased social protection needs.
COVID-19-related school closures between April and August disrupted the learning of 7 million Malagasy children. Disrupted learning is expected to increase the share of children who are out of school. Prior to COVID-19, 24 per cent of primary-school-aged children and 73 per cent of lower secondary school-aged children were out of school. Students and teachers will require psychosocial support to cope with the impacts of COVID-19.
Deprived of protective school environments, and given the increased stress and economic pressure in families, children are at heightened risk of experiencing violence and exploitation, including child marriage and child labour. COVID-19 has exacerbated the chronic weaknesses of systems for monitoring, preventing and responding to violence against children and gender-based violence; and data on gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse on vulnerable groups and in remote areas are limited. In the first semester of 2020, the number of children referred to protection services decreased by 50 per cent or more compared with 2019, highlighting the need for responsive child protection services and stronger monitoring.
In Madagascar, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Government and partners, will provide an equity-focused and child-based multi-sectoral emergency response. The strategy will link humanitarian action and development programmes to increase the resilience of populations and systems, including through behaviour change communication, gender mainstreaming and climate-sensitive actions.
UNICEF's nutrition strategy will focus on preventing and responding to acute malnutrition, continuing access to treatment, strengthening systems and supporting nutrition surveillance at the facility and community levels. This will be complemented by an integrated package of life-saving health interventions targeting pregnant women, children and newborns. The package will be adapted according to the emergency and combined with an integrated WASH-health approach that incorporates infection, prevention and control interventions in health and treatment centres. UNICEF's WASH response will include contingency planning, capacity building for emergency and hazard management, hygiene promotion and access to water via government subsidies. In line with the Grand Bargain commitments, UNICEF will provide social protection support to affected households via the national cash transfer programme or through humanitarian partners to strengthen household resilience.
As part of its education response, UNICEF will invest in catch-up programmes; support school management by communities and local governments, including budgeting and tracking learning outcomes; facilitate the inclusion of students with disabilities; and promote evidence-based structured pedagogy strategies. Capacity development activities for risk reduction and resilient school management will integrate WASH and health components. UNICEF will also provide post-emergency psychosocial support for children and teachers returning to school.
Child protection services for vulnerable children will include psychosocial support provided during home visits, telephone counselling, child-friendly spaces and potential programme linkages with social protection interventions. UNICEF will continue to prioritize alternative care for children without parental support during crises. In addition, UNICEF will support vulnerable children in detention by facilitating online hearings, promoting alternatives to detention and connecting these children with health and WASH services.
UNICEF is working to improve the identification of, reporting on and referrals for gender-based violence, and raise community awareness of safe and confidential channels for reporting and assistance. Given the fact that women, girls and boys are at heightened risk for gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse during emergencies, including COVID-19, UNICEF will use a cross-sectoral approach in all gender-based violence activities to ensure that: (1) emergency implementing partners can effectively orient survivors; and (2) community awareness is raised on safe and accessible reporting and referral systems.
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 Madagascar; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.