Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela 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.
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela snapshot
- Following eight consecutive years of economic contraction in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, despite some macroeconomic stabilization the overlapping impacts of chronic inflation, global instability, sociopolitical tensions and natural hazards aggravated by climate change all continue to disproportionally affect children.
- In 2023, UNICEF will adopt an intersectoral approach and the geographic convergence of its programmes in remote rural areas and highly vulnerable urban concentrations. UNICEF will promote integrated services for children and adolescents that focus on health, nutrition and safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). At the same time, UNICEF will facilitate child protection services, including gender-based violence prevention and response. Access to education and improved learning – prioritizing out-of-school children – will be supported, even as the organization supports schools as platforms for other services, including safe water and psychosocial support. UNICEF will also work to enhance national and local preparedness and emergency response capacities.
- UNICEF requires US$223.4 million to meet the needs of Venezuelan children. Without adequate support, these children will continue struggling to survive and thrive, unable to build a better future for themselves and their families.
Key planned results for 2023
650,000 children and women accessing primary health care
510,000 children screened for wasting
160,000 children/caregivers accessing community-based mental health and psychosocial support
2.3 million people accessing a sufficient quantity and quality of water
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
Following eight consecutive years of economic contraction in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, since 2021 there has been some macroeconomic stabilization, with moderate economic growth expected in 2022. Despite this positive economic outlook, the simultaneous impacts of chronic inflation, global economic instability, sociopolitical tensions and natural hazards aggravated by climate change continue to disproportionally affect children’s lives and their futures.
Household purchasing power continues to be affected by inflation. While the availability of goods has improved, access to quality and diversified diets is limited due to high food costs, especially for the most vulnerable people. Estimates suggest that 22.9 per cent of the population is undernourished, while 1.9 million women aged 15-19 years are affected by anaemia. Additionally, UNICEF data suggest that around 6.8 to 8 per cent of children under age 5 are wasted.
Deteriorated public infrastructure, constrained access to supplies and the loss of professionals (including health workers and teachers) who have left the country continue to stretch the capacity of the health system and jeopardize access to a quality education. Optimal nationwide immunization coverage has not been achieved, while early pregnancies, irregular antenatal consultations, infectious diseases and pregnancy or childbirth complications threaten the survival of newborns and mothers, particularly among indigenous groups. Additionally, since 2019 around 1.2 million children have dropped out of school, while 68 per cent of students lack foundational reading skills.
Poor water quality and quantity and intermittent access to safe water remain key concerns. Three quarters of households experience irregular water service provision, while 5.5 per cent do not have access at all. Disasters associated with natural hazards, including heavy rains and floods, threaten to further aggravate the situation.
After a period of slowdown related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) pandemic, internal and external population movements are increasing again. More than 7.1 million people have emigrated, representing a 16.5 per cent increase compared with 2021, while others are expected to return, using their own means or resorting to the government’s Return to the Homeland Plan. Simultaneously, people continue to move within the country to escape violence or for economic purposes. Children and adolescents on the move, especially girls and those children who are separated or unaccompanied, face mounting protection risks, including trafficking and sexual exploitation and abuse.
Exposed to increasing distress, children and adolescents’ mental health and psychosocial well-being is threatened. In the last three years, reported cases of sexual violence against children have tripled, while the risk of suicide among children and adolescents has increased.
Uniquely positioned to work across the humanitarian-development nexus and with extensive field presence through four field offices and eight antennas, 26 UNICEF will adopt an intersectoral approach and the geographic convergence of its programmes in remote rural areas and highly vulnerable urban concentrations to reach those most in need, including adolescents, unaccompanied or separated children, children with disabilities and indigenous communities. This will include providing integrated life-saving interventions; strengthening monitoring and information systems; delivering incentives to retain skills; enhancing accountability to affected populations and social and behavioural change; preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse; and reinforcing local capacities together with government authorities. UNICEF will continue to lead the Nutrition, WASH and Education Clusters and the Child Protection Area of Responsibility; the organization will also participate in the Health Cluster and Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility.
Health system strengthening and high-impact health and nutrition interventions will focus on improving access to antenatal, delivery and postnatal services, including nutrition counselling and prevention of mother-to-child transmission ofHIV/AIDS; essential newborn care; vaccination; and cold chain strengthening. UNICEF will train health-care professionals and community workers and provide breastfeeding and complementary feeding support to improve child survival; rehabilitate infrastructure and provide supplies to prevent and treat malnutrition and childhood diseases, including supporting paediatric HIV treatment; and ensure access to clean water and disinfecting products.
UNICEF will promote access to education, particularly for out-of-school children, and accelerate a recovery of learning outcomes, creating and adapting content to children's developmental and foundational needs and assisting on early childhood and adolescent education. Quality will be enhanced through the distribution of materials and teacher training, while strengthening the role of the school as a platform for other services, including psychosocial support. With the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, school feeding and WASH interventions will be supported to promote enrolment and retention.
UNICEF will enhance availability, access to and quality of child protection services, including case management, family tracing and reunification, alternative care, legal assistance, legal identity access (including birth registration) and mental health and psychosocial support. Violence, including gender-based violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation prevention and risk mitigation will also be promoted. An important aim is to build the resilience and capacity of communities, families, children and adolescents.
Sustainable water and sanitation services and systems will be strengthened, including urban and rural water networks, while empowering communities to adopt good hygiene and household water treatment and storage practices. UNICEF will also enhance national and local preparedness and emergency response capacities by increasing access to the knowledge, tools and supplies needed to cope with unexpected shocks.
Find out more about UNICEF's work
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 the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.