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.
- In Zimbabwe, an estimated 7.9 million people, including 4.1 million children, will be in urgent need of life-saving health services and humanitarian assistance in 2021 due to multiple hazards, including the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the economic crisis. More than 38,000 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) need treatment; 2.7 million people require safe water and sanitation; 4.6 million children need formal and non-formal education; and 2.2 million people in urban areas require social protection.
- In 2021, UNICEF will scale up its support to government-led national and district coordination structures to enable the provision of multi-sectoral life-saving services and efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
- UNICEF requires US$74.7 million to meet humanitarian needs in Zimbabwe in 2021, including US$18.9 million for emergency social cash transfers and US$16 million for the health response.
Key planned results for 2021
36,500 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
4.2 million children and women accessing health care
866,919 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
409,716 children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
While Zimbabwe is expected to receive normal to above normal rainfall in the 2020–2021 rainfall season, with La Niña in the forecast, the country is at risk of flash flooding and outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases, including cholera. An estimated 7.9 million people, including 4.1 million children, will urgently require humanitarian assistance in 2021, due to food insecurity, health crises, the impacts of COVID-19 and economic deterioration. Nearly 5.5 million people in rural areas are food insecure, and acute malnutrition has increased from 3.6 per cent in 2019 to 4.5 per cent in 2020.
COVID-19 has reduced income opportunities and food sources for more than half of the population, and nearly one quarter of Zimbabweans are unable to access basic commodities. With hyperinflation at 874 per cent as of July 2020, food prices are soaring, the currency is weakened and the population's purchasing power has declined. Due to the deepening economic crisis, 2.2 million people in urban areas who were food insecure in 2020 will likely remain so in 2021.
As of 20 September 2020, Zimbabwe reported nearly 7,700 cases of COVID-19; over 200 deaths and over 5,900 recoveries. Some 7.9 million people will need life-saving health services, 38,000 children with SAM will need treatment, and 140,000 people will need HIV and AIDS services. The impact of COVID-19 and the economic crisis will further weaken the country’s public health system, risking widespread strikes by health care workers demanding improved working conditions. Some 2 million people will need safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene; as schools reopen, 4.6 million children will need emergency formal and non formal education; and 2.2 million people in urban areas will need social protection.
Gender-based violence and violence against children are also on the rise. Between April and August 2020, over 4,400 cases were reported, up 35 per cent for the same period last year. Overall, 2.2 million children will need child protection services, including psychosocial support and services addressing gender-based violence, violence against children and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse.
UNICEF and partners are working in collaboration with the Government to respond to the complex multi-hazard situation in Zimbabwe.
To address the increased risk of natural disasters and disease outbreaks and the deepening economic crisis, UNICEF is scaling up its support to government-led national and district coordination structures to provide multi-sectoral life-saving services to affected communities, including interventions to prevent cholera outbreaks and acute malnutrition and contain the COVID-19 outbreak. This will include expanding outreach for emergency multi-sectoral services, including essential and life-saving health care, nutrition and antiretroviral therapy, for crisis-affected children, adolescents and pregnant and lactating women, including those living with HIV.
In line with the Grand Bargain commitments, UNICEF’s social protection response will focus on expanding the existing Emergency Social Cash Transfer programme into new urban domains to address the increasing vulnerabilities in urban areas, where the reach of existing social protection programmes is very limited.
Child protection and gender-based violence risk mitigation, prevention and response services will be scaled up for children experiencing violence, abuse and exploitation, including children who are victims/survivors of gender-based violence, as well as separated and unaccompanied children. Gender-based violence risk mitigation will be mainstreamed across the response. UNICEF will also mainstream the inclusion of persons with disabilities across all sectors by ensuring that the needs of people with disabilities are taken into account during the planning and implementation of interventions.
Across the country, UNICEF will provide distance/home-based learning to respond to school closures, including lessons provided via radio and television, across the country. UNICEF will also expand its support for formal and non-formal education to compensate for learning losses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
All programmes have a communication for development component to support awareness-raising efforts and accountability to affected populations. Working with partners, UNICEF is also strengthening coordination structures for the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse to ensure that crisis-affected populations have access to appropriate prevention and response interventions. To strengthen the linkages between humanitarian action and development programming, UNICEF humanitarian interventions will be aligned with and designed to strengthen national service provision systems across the health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, child protection and social protection sectors.
UNICEF leads the WASH, nutrition, education and child protection sectors. UNICEF is also actively engaged in six of the eight response pillars of the COVID-19 response.
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 Zimbabwe; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.