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 independence in 2011, and children are the most affected. In late 2022 toward the new year, 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 9.4 million people, including 5 million children, 2.3 million women and 1.4 million people with disabilities in need of assistance in 2023.
- UNICEF's strategy is to work through implementing partners to ensure field presence, strengthen community engagement, localization, feedback, and accountability mechanisms, and the protection of children and women 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 2023 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 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
In 2023, the humanitarian needs in South Sudan continue to deteriorate, leaving 9.4 million people, including 5 million children in need of humanitarian assistance. Fifteen per cent of people in need are estimated to have a disability. An estimated 5.8 million who are not displaced will continue to require immediate humanitarian assistance. Almost 95 per cent of the population depends on climate-sensitive resources for their livelihoods.
Since independence, many South Sudanese fled the country seeking refuge in neighboring 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 early 2024. The slow implementation of the agreement remains a trigger for violence across many parts of the country. There are 1.9 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 directly affect peace and security.
Humanitarian operations and service delivery to children and women are challenged by access to affected populations, constrained by violence, bureaucratic impediments, threats against humanitarian personnel and assets, as well as 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 options to reach many remote areas, which have a 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 girls) out of school due to socio-cultural norms. 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 healthcare services, especially child and adolescent health services, remains inequitable. Access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is a challenge, with only 40 per cent of the population having 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. UNICEF will continue to promote community engagement and localization that prioritizes children and women and strengthens feedback and accountability mechanisms; foster social and behavioral change; and 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. The humanitarian response is informed by contextual analysis that promotes a conflict-sensitive approach, with 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 multi-sectoral and systems-based approach will be taken to address nutritional needs. This includes alignment with food security, health, WASH, and social and behavior 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, and sanitation, including menstrual hygiene, and key behavior 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 pursue social and behavioral research and 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 will support the localization strategy and enable close monitoring of the quality of interventions. This field presence will also enable 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-lead 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.