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.
- In Somalia, 5.9 million people, including 3.9 million children, will need humanitarian assistance in 2021 due to the devastating impact of flooding, desert locusts and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Conflict is also continuing to disrupt the lives of children and increasing their vulnerability to protection violations.
- In 2021, UNICEF will focus on increasing community engagement for social and behavioural change and strengthening accountability to affected populations in Somalia. UNICEF will aim to reach 1.2 million people, including 792,000 children, with humanitarian assistance. The response will focus on the most vulnerable groups, such as survivors of gender-based violence and children with disabilities.
- UNICEF is seeking US$129.8 million to provide humanitarian services and support to the children of Somalia. With these funds, UNICEF will be able to reach 121,500 children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM), over 1 million people with health services and 850,000 people with emergency water services.
Key planned results for 2021
121,500 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
1.1 million children and women accessing health care
850,000 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
160,000 children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
Children in Somalia are affected by multiple humanitarian crises, including the ongoing conflict, flooding, desert locusts and the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, an estimated 5.9 million people, including 3.9 million children, will need humanitarian assistance in Somalia in 2021.
The locust infestation – the worst in Somalia in 25 years – has deepened food insecurity and devastated livelihoods. An estimated 162,000 food insecure Somali children are at risk of SAM. Livelihoods have also been impacted by the severe floods that affected 250,000 people in central and southern Somalia in 2020 and destroyed service and road infrastructure. Where floods have undermined access to clean water and sanitation and hygiene services, and health service utilization and awareness are low, children are at risk of waterborne diseases, including acute watery diarrhoea/cholera. Some 4.6 million people, including over 3 million children, need access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
The ongoing conflict also continues to put children at risk of protection violations and impact their access to basic social services. An estimated 2.6 million people have been displaced by conflict in Somalia, with 939,000 people newly displaced in 2020.
The social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak have heightened risks of gender-based violence, malnutrition and mental health challenges for affected populations. Women and girls are increasingly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse; some 1.3 million women and girls require protection from gender-based violence. Remittances have declined by 17 per cent; and incomes are down 20 to 30 per cent among poor urban households and internally displaced persons. The pandemic has also placed severe strain on already fragile health systems in Somalia, with limited access to dedicated health services putting vulnerable children at additional risk.
The school closures caused by the pandemic have significantly disrupted children's education in Somalia. Some 1.9 million children currently require access to schooling. Declining enrolment could lead to a serious deterioration in education outcomes and impede children's learning over the long-term.
As conflict, drought, floods, desert locust invasion and COVID-19 and its secondary impacts drive vulnerabilities in Somalia, UNICEF will respond with innovative and sustainable solutions and support access to basic services for those affected.
Learning from the COVID-19 response, communication for development will cut across all of UNICEF's programmes. UNICEF will engage communities to share information on good practices and how to access services. Third-party monitoring of service provision will be expanded to engage communities in programme design and strengthen resilience in areas with limited access. Utilizing a data-driven approach, UNICEF programming will be informed by risk analysis and service mapping to identify areas that have been underserved by humanitarian actors. UNICEF will also provide effective feedback mechanisms as part of its humanitarian programmes.
UNICEF will continue to expand health services – including measles vaccination – into previously inaccessible areas of Somalia. Across the country, measles cases will be monitored to ensure rapid response to outbreaks. Vulnerable children will be supported with nutrition services, including early detection, screening and treatment for acute malnutrition. UNICEF's water and sanitation programming will focus on the establishment of safe water supply systems, drilling strategic boreholes and exploring innovative approaches to providing safe water to populations in need.
UNICEF will develop and deliver robust prevention campaigns and specialized services to support survivors of gender-based violence. Communities will be engaged through individual behaviour change activities to support the prevention of gender-based violence; and survivors of gender-based violence will gain access to multi-sectoral, specialized services. Children associated with armed groups/forces will receive mental health and psychosocial support, education and job skills training to facilitate their reintegration back into their communities.
In schools, vulnerable and marginalized children and youth will have access to quality education and safe drinking water. Infection prevention and control activities, including hygiene promotion, will be mainstreamed across the WASH response, in all education activities and in health programmes.
In its approach to service provision, UNICEF will be more engaged with and accountable to affected populations and will target the most vulnerable people, including internally displaced persons, survivors of gender-based violence and children with disabilities.
UNICEF leads the WASH and nutrition clusters, co-leads the education cluster with Save the Children and leads the child protection area of responsibility in Somalia. UNICEF will also continue to serve as the technical lead of the COVID-19 risk communication and community engagement pillar.
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 Somalia; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.