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.
- Senegal's humanitarian needs are driven by recurring floods during the rainy season and food insecurity, both of which are exacerbated by the effects of climate change. In 2020, the humanitarian situation was compounded by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which is expected to continue to impact the country in 2021. More than 4 million children will need basic social services in 2021.
- UNICEF humanitarian action in Senegal will focus on expanding disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness interventions, strengthening systems and identifying sustainable solutions to address critical needs.
- In an already constrained funding landscape, UNICEF requires US$16.2 million to realize the rights of vulnerable people and help save the lives of children, adolescents and women affected by emergencies in Senegal.
Key planned targets for 2021
714,458 children receiving vitamin A supplementation every six months
165,000 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
100,000 women and children accessing gender-based violence risk mitigation/ prevention/response
858,000 children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
Senegal faces seasonal floods and droughts that impact children and their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating this situation and threatening the gains made across child survival indicators related to health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and protection.
An estimated 600,000 people affected by flooding lack access to adequate WASH services; at least 45,000 children have missed out on measles immunization; and some 4.2 million vulnerable people are food insecure. The cumulative impacts of COVID-19 and food insecurity could increase the number of children under 5 years suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) from 91,000 to over 108,000.
The pandemic is wreaking havoc on people's lives – both socially and economically. Economic growth slowed to 1.3 per cent in 2020, down from 5.3 per cent in 2019. Thirty-eight per cent of the population lives in poverty, and nearly 3 million children lack access to their basic needs. The real wages of the poorest 40 per cent of the population decreased by 8.1 per cent in 2020, and an additional 800,000 persons may fall into poverty. The children in these households will struggle to access basic services supporting their nutrition, health and education.
Senegal is one of the 12 countries most at risk of experiencing significant school dropouts and seeing its progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (inclusive and equitable quality education and life-long learning for all) stall or even reverse due to the impact of the pandemic. Some 5 million children have been affected by school closures, which have disproportionately affected girls and exacerbated gender inequities. Only 11 per cent of children have access to distance learning. These children are facing additional challenges to staying enrolled in school and completing their studies.
Violence against children remains a major challenge in Senegal especially for girls and children living in the street or placed in informal daaras – traditional Quranic schools. According to the latest data, 3 per cent of girls aged 15 to 17 are victims of sexual violence. This burden is only expected to grow, due to COVID-19-related socio-economic impacts, lockdowns and school closures.
To address the combined crises of COVID-19 and natural disasters such as floods and droughts, UNICEF will implement an integrated, multi-sectoral and life-saving response for children, adolescents, women and other vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities. The response will be designed to strengthen the linkages between humanitarian action and development programmes by integrating resilience and emergency preparedness interventions.
To respond to natural disasters, UNICEF will support uninterrupted access to health, WASH and nutrition services. This will include early detection of acute malnutrition at the health facility and community levels, SAM treatment, procurement of ready-to-use therapeutic food, infant and young child feeding counselling, vitamin A supplementation and access to adequate WASH facilities.
UNICEF will support the implementation of the Education Sector Strategy and the COVID-19 Response Plan and serve as the co-chair of the Technical Working Group on Basic Education, focusing on the impacts of COVID-19. The education response will prioritize establishing COVID-19 safety measures in schools, facilitating learning continuity, and supporting children and adolescents to avoid dropping out of school. These interventions will focus on girls, children with disabilities, children from the poorest households, and children from remote and rural areas.
To respond to critical protection challenges, UNICEF will lead the National Child Protection Partners Group and support efforts to prevent and respond to violence against children and women, focusing on: (1) psychosocial support and stigma prevention for children and families affected by COVID-19; (2) prevention, detection and special support to children deprived of parental care; (3) prevention of violence and abuse and access to services for children who are victims of violence and abuse. This third component will focus on strengthening the capacities of front-line workers and strengthening services across sectors, raising awareness, engaging communities, and facilitating coordination and monitoring mechanisms at both the national and decentralized levels, prioritizing the vulnerabilities of girls.
UNICEF will also continue to coordinate closely with sister United Nations agencies, including through United Nations COVID-19 response platforms. UNICEF leads on the risk communication and community engagement commission, co-leads the coordination commission with the World Health Organization (WHO) and co-leadsthe logistics commission with the World Food Programme (WFP). UNICEF is also the main partner supporting infection prevention and control activities.
Working through the Government's existing social protection system, UNICEF will implement cash-based solutions to strengthen the system's capacity to respond to pressing needs caused by sudden shocks.
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 Senegal; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.