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 Niger is facing a combination of quick onset and protracted humanitarian crises that have been exacerbated by the impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Some 3.8 million people, including 2 million children, will need humanitarian assistance in 2021.
- Insecurity is leading to population displacements and access to people in need is a challenge. The country is also affected by flooding; the number of children at risk of malnutrition is on the rise; and access to basic services remains limited.
- UNICEF will provide a timely, coordinated and multi-sectoral humanitarian response in regions facing recurrent population displacement and other crises; and support the implementation of the Government's national COVID-19 response plan, focusing on the needs of children and women.
- UNICEF requires US$74.9 million to provide life-saving, multi-sectoral assistance to vulnerable children and women affected by multiple humanitarian crises in the Niger.
Key planned results for 2021
412,010 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
100,000 children vaccinated against measles
3,600 women and children accessing gender-based violence risk mitigation/ prevention/ response
144,000 children receiving individual learning materials
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
The Niger is facing a prolonged, multi-dimensional crisis, including recurring armed conflict, displacement, malnutrition, epidemics and climate-related disasters, including floods. The context in the Niger is also characterized by deep structural challenges and the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, and the upcoming presidential, legislative and municipal elections. In 2021, nearly 3.8 million people, including 2 million children, will need humanitarian assistance in the Niger. Many of those in need are located in hard-to-reach areas with limited humanitarian access, which remains a major bottleneck to the delivery of assistance.
Persistent attacks by armed groups along the borders with Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali and Nigeria have led to significant displacements. The growing number of internally displaced persons, refugees and migrants in the Niger is also increasing the vulnerability of host communities. Attacks on civilians in the Lake Chad region have prevented nearly 266,000 people in Diffa from returning home. Insecurity along the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali have exacerbated needs in Tillabéry and Tahoua, where over 195,000 people are displaced. In addition, over 64,000 people who have fled inter-communal violence in northern Nigeria are currently living in Maradi region.
COVID-19 has placed additional strain on the health system, resulting in delays in life-saving vaccination campaigns, which may lead to rising cases of measles and polio. Exceptionally heavy flooding affecting over 549,000 people has highlighted the country's vulnerability to climate-related threats and is seriously undermining food security, nutrition and access to water. In 2021, an estimated 2.7 million people will experience food insecurity; an estimated 1.3 million children under 5 years will suffer from malnutrition, including over 421,010 children who will suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM); and 1.1 million people will require access to emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. COVID-19-related school closures have affected 3.7 million students, and nearly 400,000 children may remain out of school due to insecurity or damage caused by flooding.
As humanitarian needs continue to rise in 2021, especially in regions bordering Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria, in part due to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, household coping mechanisms will be further stretched. In this context of acute vulnerabilities, girls are at risk of abduction, forced marriage and sexual exploitation, and boys are at risk of being economically exploited for work and or being recruited into armed groups. Children without appropriate care, including children on the move and children living in the street, are particularly vulnerable.
In 2021, UNICEF will work with national and international actors to strengthen health and nutrition systems across the Niger and increase national capacities to reduce risks and respond to cyclical and chronic emergencies. Key activities will include preventing acute malnutrition, treating SAM, supporting vaccination campaigns and facilitating cholera preparedness and response. The WASH-in-nutrition strategy will be expanded so that nutrition services, including early detection, referral and treatment, are complemented by WASH interventions in health facilities and communities.
UNICEF will continue to respond to acute emergencies, including new population movements. Working through the Rapid Response Mechanism, UNICEF and partners will increase in-country response capacities, provide technical leadership, centralize the procurement of non-food items and scale up cash transfers. UNICEF will also prioritize efforts to access vulnerable communities in insecure and hard-to-reach areas; facilitate preparedness and contingency planning; integrate humanitarian action and development programming; and support durable solutions.
Across the country, UNICEF will focus on increasing access to and the quality of inclusive education for crisis-affected school-aged children, including migrant and displaced children. Communities affected by population movement and natural disasters will gain access to safe water and sanitation facilities through life-saving and transition actions, and crisis-affected children will receive comprehensive child protection services. UNICEF has also identified key actions for addressing gender-based violence in emergencies, and will implement a plan for preventing sexual exploitation and abuse.
UNICEF will continue to be among the first responders to the COVID-19 outbreak, supporting the Ministry of Health in the areas of risk communication and community engagement, infection prevention and control, supply and logistics, epidemiological surveillance and health care. The Government will receive technical and financial support to ensure the continuity of social services, scale up the national adaptive safety net programme to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic on the most vulnerable, and make the social protection system more shock responsive and sensitive to children's nutrition and protection needs. Throughout the response, UNICEF will prioritize its cross-sectoral commitments, including gender equality, disability inclusion, early childhood development and adolescent development and participation.
UNICEF's operations in the Niger are led by four field offices that enable wide coverage and quality programming across the country. UNICEF leads the WASH, education and nutrition clusters/sectors and the child protection area of responsibility at the national and decentralized levels and actively participates in the multi-sectoral cash working group.
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 Niger; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.