West and Central Africa Region 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.
- The West and Central Africa region is facing concurrent public health emergencies, increasing violence and insecurity, and large-scale population displacement. Across the region,107 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 60 million children.
- The UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office will provide guidance and technical support to all countries in the region to prepare for and respond to emergencies, with support for programming in nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene; as well as for child protection, education and social protection, and cross-cutting areas such as community engagement, resilience and emergency preparedness. This will be done using a systematic gender lens in the analysis and programme design.
- In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF will support the 10 countries embedded in this appeal to prevent the spread of the virus; control and mitigate its impacts; and ensure continuity in delivery of essential social services for women and children.
- UNICEF is appealing for US$116.9 million to address humanitarian and COVID-19-specific needs in the region.
25.4 million people in need of nutrition assistance
30.9 million people lack access to safe water
18.3 million children in need of protection services
27.2 million children in need of education support
Funding requirements for 2022
Regional needs and strategy
Children continue to bear the brunt of the multidimensional crises affecting West and Central Africa, leaving a steadily increasing number in urgent need of humanitarian assistance – this year a total exceeding 60 million. The security context across the region continues to deteriorate, impacting civilians and humanitarian activities. In the Central Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger), Lake Chad Basin (Chad, Far North Cameroon, Niger and Northeast Nigeria), Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon, entire communities are caught in the middle of unrelenting conflict, triggering massive displacement both internally and across borders and increasing vulnerability to human rights violations and sexual and gender-based violence. Spillover of conflict in the Central Sahel to neighboring coastal countries is on the rise.
The region is highly vulnerable to public health emergencies. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, children, their families and their communities face recurrent outbreaks of cholera, measles and polio. Ebola outbreaks can reemerge years after initial infections, threatening affected areas. At the same time, access to essential health services remains limited. Even before the pandemic, an estimated one in three children born each year were deprived of vaccines, the lowest childhood vaccination coverage in the world.
The cumulative effects of climate change, violence and the COVID-19 pandemic have left more than 4.31 million children under 5 years of age at risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). While many schools have reopened following earlier shutdowns, education remains under threat across the region. In the Central Sahel, 13 million children are out of school and in Nigeria, mass abductions of students continue unabated. Environmental shocks compound these challenges. The countries of the region are particularly vulnerable, with 16 among the world's top 30 having the biggest climate change risks for children, threatening their health, education and protection.
The UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office humanitarian strategy is grounded in UNICEF's mandate to realize the rights of every child. Informed by the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action, the strategy supports the most vulnerable, including women, children and persons with disabilities, with humanitarian assistance through innovative multi-country partnerships with governments, United Nations agencies, and local, regional and international organizations. UNICEF will increase engagement in social protection, including humanitarian cash transfers; improve accountability to affected populations in line with Grand Bargain8 commitments; strengthen data and monitoring; and increase the use of new technologies. Results will be achieved through an integrated, multi-sector approach to build resilience, strengthen systems to prepare for and respond to crises, and link humanitarian action with development programmes.
UNICEF will provide technical support to all 24 country offices to develop risk-informed, conflict- and gender-sensitive programmes. Country offices will receive strategic guidance and support for programming in nutrition, health, WASH, child protection, education and integrating cross-cutting aspects such as community engagement, resilience, social protection, advocacy and preparedness, all using a systematic gender lens in analysis and programme design. UNICEF will support integrated approaches to preventing and treating acute malnutrition by offering a continuum of care with emphasis on prevention, early detection and treatment through health facilities and community-based platforms. WASH interventions will address waterborne diseases, contribute to preventing undernutrition, and provide basic services for people affected by emergencies. Children associated with armed groups, victims of sexual violence, children who are detained and children separated from their families will be prioritized. UNICEF will scale up alternative learning platforms to provide quality basic education for vulnerable children and adolescents. Overall, UNICEF will take a multi-country approach, looking beyond national borders to address interconnected humanitarian needs in the region.
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 West and Central Africa; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.