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Swaziland map
UNICEF photo: a child stands in a field © UNICEF/Swaziland/2016/Bdladla A young boy standing in a corn field affected by drought in Shiseweni region, Swaziland.


In 2016, UNICEF and partners plan for:

women (of whom an estimated 8,750 are pregnant) and children provided with access to health clinics stocked with essential supplies and drugs to treat common childhood illnesses


children 6-59 months provided with Vitamin A supplementation


people benefiting from hygiene and sanitation promotion messages

2016 Requirements: US$2,980,800

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Total affected population: 320,000
Total affected children: 189,000

Total people to be reached in 2016: 320,000
Total children to be reached in 2016: 189,000

Swaziland is currently experiencing its worst drought in years, exacerbated by the El Niño phenomenon, which has led to widespread loss of crops and livestock. The hardest hit regions in the country are Lubombo and Shiselweni, where an estimated 320,000 people are affected – including 189,000 children. Water shortages and deteriorating sanitation have left children and women exposed to water-borne diseases, including diarrhoea, and has threatened children’s education as schools face critical water and sanitation shortages. Children are also at serious risk of malnutrition, with over 1,000 cases of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) already reported, as the drought has impacted families’ ability to access food (more than 200,000 people are food insecure, including over 90,400 children). The drought is further exacerbating levels of vulnerability among the population which are compounded by chronic food insecurity, high rates of HIV/AIDS (26 per cent prevalence rate) and protection concerns, including gender based violence (GBV).

Humanitarian strategy

2016 Programme Targets


  • 6,346 children 6-59 months affected by acute malnutrition (SAM 1,058 and MAM 5,288) receiving treatment
  • 108,765 children 6-59 months provided with Vitamin A supplementation


  • 35,000 children under 5 reached with measles and routine EPI immunization
  • 47,000 women (of whom an estimated 8,750 are pregnant) and children provided with access to health clinics stocked with essential supplies and drugs to treat common childhood illnesses


  • 64,000 people provided with access to safe water (7.5L to 15L per person per day)
  • 320,000 people benefiting from hygiene and sanitation promotion messages

Child protection

  • 2,400 children and women provided with protection services, including case management, psychosocial care and linkages to social protection support


  • 74,000 students and 2,000 teachers/ support staff reached by awareness campaigns on how to mitigate the effects of the drought


  • 13,700 people retained on HIV treatment & provided with HIV-related information and access to services

In 2016, UNICEF, in partnership with the Government of Swaziland and others, will focus on providing access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and nutrition services for women and children, as well as critical education and child protection support in the drought affected regions. Together, with the Government of Swaziland, UNICEF will continue to play a key role in emergency coordination as the sector co-lead agency for the WASH, nutrition, education and child protection clusters, while also playing a major role in the health cluster and the GBV area of responsibility. In the area of WASH, UNICEF will support the rehabilitation of non-functional rural water systems and will distribute household water treatment kits to restore safe water access where feasible. Malnutrition surveillance will be enhanced and therapeutic feeding products, including F100, F75 and Plumpy-nut, will be distributed to Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) sites for the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) and SAM cases. Technical assistance will also be provided in planning, training and implementation of the nutrition rapid SMART survey in regions affected by the drought. UNICEF will facilitate continued access to health care services through the distribution of essential drugs and supplies to health clinics across the affected regions, and will continue to work with the health sector to facilitate access by people previously on ART’s to continue to receive care and treatment throughout the emergency. To minimize the impact of the drought on schools and to facilitate continued learning, UNICEF will provide a safe water supply, alternative sanitary and hygiene facilities and will conduct awareness campaigns for students and teachers (including on behaviour change and water saving techniques). Community and social mobilization activities including meetings with Chiefs and religious leaders, discussions with community members and mass media and other outreach activities will be undertaken to address behaviours around proper water handling and treatment as well as sanitation and hygiene practices. Interactive platforms such the Swaziland U-Report and RapidPro will be used to enhance feedback and real time reporting between affected communities and UNICEF.

Results to date

In response to drought-affected communities in 2016, using reprogrammed funds, UNICEF supported a comprehensive assessment of water supply in 20 of the hardest hit constituencies in Lubombo and Shiselweni regions to inform a more appropriate response to the needs of the affected population. In addition, UNICEF, in collaboration with WHO, WFP and UNFPA supported the Ministry of Health, Swaziland’s National Nutrition Council and partners to train over 50 Health Care Workers in community level assessments (Rapid SMART surveys).

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$2,980,800 to meet the humanitarian needs of women and children in Swaziland in 2016. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response and meet the urgent needs of women and children in the critical sectors of WASH, Nutrition, Health, HIV/AIDS, Education and Child Protection.