© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-1488/Nesbitt

A woman and girl wait to be treated for cholera at a village clinic in Mashonaland West Province. Children and women remain under threat from political and economic crises, widespread poverty, a low level of social services, HIV and food insecurity.

Children and women in crisis

The children and women of Zimbabwe are under threat. The crises affecting them are multiple and complex: political and economic instability, abject poverty, the deterioration of the social service sector, an HIV epidemic that has raged across the country, erratic rains, and food insecurity. Only 10 per cent of children in the country eat a nutritious diet, exclusive breastfeeding is only 6 per cent, and as a result, undernutrition affects 34 per cent of children 6–59 months old.1 Diminished water and sanitation access, particularly in rural areas, means that 33 per cent of all Zimbabweans must practise open defecation.2 Social and education limitations perpetuate violence, exploitation and the trafficking of children. Assistance is hampered by systemic vulnerability, the country’s reduced resources and its lack of child protection mechanisms.

Meeting urgent needs and building resilience in 2011

UNICEF, working with the Government of Zimbabwe, UN agencies and civil society partners will continue to meet the needs of children and women in 2011 through humanitarian relief, recovery programming and transitional activities designed to strengthen essential social services. UNICEF, as the co-lead of the nutrition cluster with the Government, co-lead of the WASH cluster with OXFAM, and co-lead with education cluster with Save the Children and the Government, expects to reach around 6,612,000 people, particularly mothers and newborns, orphans and other vulnerable children, child migrants, and those affected by HIV and AIDS.

Humanitarian funding at work: Highlights from 2010

UNICEF estimated that US$108,700,000 was needed to fund its humanitarian work in Zimbabwe, according to the mid-2010 revised request. As of October 2010, a total of US$19,819,156 had been received, or 18 per cent of the 2010 request. This funding enabled UNICEF to achieve key results for women and children, among them: 375,000 mothers and newborns benefited from essential supplies for emergency obstetric care and rapid HIV testing; 13,200 children with severe acute malnutrition were treated, partly in 229 new treatment sites; the scourge of cholera was put at bay when 211,000 people in areas at high risk for cholera gained access to safe water; 2.8 million primary school children saw the quality of their education improve because of better teaching and learning materials.

Funding requirements for 2011

UNICEF is requesting US$119,973,000 for its 2011 humanitarian work in Zimbabwe. UNICEF has aligned its request with the 2011 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) requirements. Any delay in funding puts the well-being of vulnerable women and children at risk during a crucial time in Zimbabwe’s transition out of complex crisis into political and economic recovery.

More information on 2010 results and humanitarian action planned in 2011 can be found at www.unicef.org/hac2011 or the country office website at www.unicef.org/zimbabwe.

1 Food and Nutrition Council, ‘Zimbabwe National Nutrition Survey – 2010: Preliminary findings’, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Harare, 2010, pp. 31, 47, 18.
2 Central Statistical Office, Zimbabwe, and United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘Multiple Indicator Monitoring Survey (MIMS) 2009: Preliminary report’, CSO and UNICEF, Harare, November 2009, p. 19.

UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2011 (in US dollars) Total $119,973,000