South Sudan Appeal
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.
South Sudan snapshot
- South Sudan is going through the worst humanitarian crisis since its independence in 2011, and children are affected most deeply. In 2022, conflict, persistent and unprecedented flooding, disease outbreaks and food and nutrition insecurity continued to compound the complex, chronic needs of the most vulnerable, especially children, leaving 8.9 million people, including 4.7 million children, 2.1 million women and 1.3 million people with disabilities in need of assistance.
- UNICEF's strategy is to continue strengthening community engagement, localization, feedback and accountability mechanisms and the protection of beneficiaries from sexual exploitation. This includes promoting innovations to meet the needs of children and families in an extremely complex humanitarian environment. Preparedness actions will adopt a risk-informed and conflict-sensitive approach and a focus on climate resilience. The humanitarian strategy is aligned with the inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan and Cluster priorities and complements development assistance that addresses the structural causes of fragility and vulnerability in the country.
- The latest Humanitarian Action for Children appeals for South Sudan have been significantly underfunded. However, children's humanitarian needs have continued to increase in recent years. UNICEF requires US$217.2 million for nutrition, health, WASH, education and protection interventions to meet children's urgent needs in 2023.
Key planned results for 2023
2.7 million children vaccinated against measles
290,000 children with severe wasting admitted for treatment
75,000 children/caregivers accessing community-based mental health and psychosocial support
1.4 million children using safe and appropriate WASH services in learning facilities
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
South Sudan is going through the worst humanitarian crisis since independence, and children are the most affected group. The situation continued to deteriorate in 2022, leaving 8.9 million people, including 4.7 million children, with ever-greater humanitarian needs. In 2022, 90,000 South Sudanese fled the country seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. Conflict, persistent and unprecedented flooding, disease outbreaks and food insecurity continue to compound the complex, chronic needs of the most vulnerable, especially children. The increasing costs of fuel and staple foods - driven by the depreciation of the South Sudanese pound and global supply chain disruptions, continue to exacerbate vulnerabilities. Considerable internal and cross-border displacement has further strained scarce resources, livelihoods and basic services and has increased protection risks and intercommunal tensions. The Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan has been extended for two additional years, postponing elections until late 2024. The slow implementation of the Agreement remains a trigger for violence across many parts of the country. Currently, there are 2.2 million displaced people, many of whom need durable, longer-term solutions that build social cohesion and contribute to peace. Furthermore, climate resilience programming is critical as extreme weather events have direct repercussions on peace and security.
Humanitarian access to affected populations continues to be constrained by violence, bureaucratic impediments, threats against humanitarian personnel and assets and physical constraints. Floods and heavy rains have significantly impacted already poor road infrastructure, with many roads impassable, some since 2021. Boats, helicopters and planes are the only ready options to reach many remote areas; such transport modes also come at significant cost.
The country is vulnerable to multiple shocks and unaddressed root causes of need. Children are disproportionately affected and at risk of violence, exploitation, abuse, neglect, recruitment by armed groups, psychosocial distress and family separation. Women and girls remain at significant risk of gender-based violence. Children and adolescents continue to face inequitable access to education, with 2.8 million children (52 per cent of them girls) out of school. Malnutrition is adversely affecting the well-being of women and children, with rates 25 per cent higher in 2022 compared with 2021; and access to life-saving essential health care services, especially child and adolescent health services, remains inequitable. Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) remains a challenge, and only 40 per cent of the population has access to safe water. Significant WASH needs continue to underpin nutrition and health outcomes.
UNICEF is targeting the most vulnerable children, women and their families in the hardest-to-reach areas. The humanitarian strategy is aligned with the inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan and Cluster priorities and promotes community engagement and localization that prioritizes children and women and strengthens feedback and accountability mechanisms; promotes social and behaviour change; and will protect beneficiaries from sexual exploitation. UNICEF's strategy will strengthen existing systems to mitigate the impact of emergencies and complement development assistance to address the structural causes of fragility and vulnerability. UNICEF will promote innovation to meet the needs of children and families in this extremely complex humanitarian environment.
Preparedness actions will adopt a risk-informed approach, with a focus on climate resilience and conflict to strengthen communities' resilience to shocks. Humanitarian response is informed by contextual analysis that promotes a conflict-sensitive approach, and there is a strong focus on social cohesion, contributing to peacebuilding and the linkages between humanitarian and development programmes.
UNICEF will continue to meet needs, prioritizing children and women through an integrated package of life-saving services. A multisectoral, systems-based approach will be taken to address nutritional needs. This includes better alignment with food security, health, WASH and social and behaviour change. Health efforts will focus on addressing preventable disease outbreaks and maternal and newborn care. WASH will provide an integrated package of services to improve access to safe drinking water, sanitation, including menstrual hygiene, and key behaviour change messages to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Community-based learning options will be established to improve access and continuity of education, with a focus on girls. Children who are vulnerable to violence, exploitation, abuse and recruitment into armed forces and groups will be identified and referred to services to address their needs. UNICEF will ensure a supply chain approach that moves critical supplies to hard-to-reach areas.
Humanitarian action will support the community and national and state-level government to respond; and strengthen local capacities through established and new partnerships with civil society organizations. UNICEF will support complementary approaches including fixed, outreach and rapid response programming. UNICEF's field presence in each of the administrative areas of South Sudan will support the localization strategy and enable close monitoring of the quality of interventions. This field presence will also enables tailored negotiations that are key to humanitarian access and the delivery of assistance.
UNICEF commits to strengthened coordination as leader of the WASH and Nutrition Clusters and the Child Protection Area of Responsibility, and co-leader of the Education Cluster. UNICEF also supports national and subnational clusters.
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 South Sudan; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.