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
- Children and adolescents in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are affected by a triple burden: the protracted socio-economic and political situation; the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic; and mixed migration flows across international borders.
- In 2021, UNICEF will implement an integrated, multi-sectoral response through its expanded field presence, focusing on providing life-saving interventions; strengthening monitoring systems; delivering incentives to retain professionals, including health workers and teachers; enhancing mechanisms for accountability to affected populations; mainstreaming gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse; and building local capacities.
- UNICEF requires US$201.8 million to meet the humanitarian needs of Venezuelan children through life-saving support for water, education and health in an increasingly challenging operational environment.
Key planned results for 2021
155,500 primary caregivers receiving infant and young child feeding counselling
3 million people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
150,250 children/caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support
1.2 million children receiving individual learning materials
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
After six consecutive years of economic contraction, the humanitarian situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela continues to intensify, with growing hyperinflation, increased political, social and institutional tensions, weakening public services and mixed migration flows. The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated these challenges. Children are disproportionately affected by limited access to essential goods and services such as food, immunization, medicine, medical treatment, education, water and protection.
With decreasing oil production and employment opportunities, the country has registered declines in household income, savings and consumption. Salaries are unable to keep pace with hyperinflation. Venezuelans would require 144 times the minimum wage of US$1.2 per month to access a basic needs basket of vital commodities. Over 5.1 million people have migrated, resulting in a staggering loss of professionals, including health workers and teachers. At the same time, over 120,000 migrants have returned since mid-March due to lost income abroad, increasing humanitarian needs and protection risks, including family separation and sexual exploitation and abuse.
Before the pandemic, infrastructure and services, including water, electricity and transportation, were barely functioning and fuel shortages were frequent. COVID-19 restrictions and increased difficulty accessing fuel have further disrupted supply chains and service provision.
Vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles and diphtheria, have re-emerged; cases of tuberculosis and malaria are rising; and low immunization coverage and disruptions to health and nutrition services due to the pandemic are threatening the survival and development of children. Three quarters of households experience recurrent interruptions to their water services, and one quarter lack sustainable access to potable water, making COVID-19 prevention even more challenging.
Approximately 2.3 million people are severely food insecure across the country. Children and pregnant and lactating women, particularly those from indigenous and adolescent groups, are disproportionately affected by food insecurity. Out of nearly 89,000 children screened in 23 states between January and August 2020, more than 4,000 were found to be acutely malnourished.
Nearly 6.9 million pre-primary through secondary level students (3.4 million girls) have been affected by COVID-19-related school closures, aggravating the situation of 856,000 children who were already out of school before the outbreak. School closures have deprived children of life-saving interventions, such as school feeding, and increased safety threats, particularly for women and girls, including mistreatment, violence, exclusion and separation from caregivers, in an already weak protective environment.
UNICEF will work prevent the further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and create the conditions needed for recovery. To respond to COVID-19, UNICEF will strengthen the health system by scaling up priority health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and communication for development actions to reduce the spread of the disease and adapting critical interventions to ensure uninterrupted access to essential services.
Building on lessons learned, UNICEF will implement an integrated, multi-sectoral response and expand its field presence to reach those most in need, including adolescent girls, children with disabilities, people in remote areas and indigenous and Afro-descendent communities. This will include providing life-saving interventions; strengthening monitoring systems; delivering incentives to retain skills; enhancing accountability to affected populations; mainstreaming gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse interventions; and building local capacities in partnership with government authorities and others. UNICEF will lead the nutrition, WASH and education clusters and the child protection area of responsibility and actively participate in the health cluster and gender-based violence area of responsibility.
Health system strengthening will focus on ensuring access to antenatal, delivery and postnatal services, essential newborn care, vaccination and medical treatment, including paediatric HIV treatment. UNICEF will also enhance infection prevention and control and treatment for COVID-19, including oxygen therapy, and equip UNICEF staff, implementing partners and front-line workers with personal protective equipment.
The nutrition response will prioritize prevention, including micronutrient supplementation; management and treatment of acute malnutrition, anaemia and low weight among children under 5 years and pregnant and lactating women; and the promotion of breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding practices to improve child survival, growth and development.
UNICEF will support the restoration and maintenance of WASH services in communities and institutions, including health care facilities, schools, protection centres and shelters. This will include supporting infection prevention and control; rehabilitating water supply infrastructure; delivering life-saving interventions; promoting hygiene practices; and supporting menstrual hygiene management.
School enrolment and regular attendance will be promoted through the delivery of education materials and school feeding. UNICEF will enable and accelerate meaningful face-to-face and distance learning, creating and adapting content to children's developmental and foundational needs, and providing technical assistance on early childhood and adolescent education.
UNICEF will also strengthen child protection services, including psychosocial support and case management, as well as specialized services for survivors of violence, exploitation and abuse and gender-based violence risk mitigation.
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.