Humanitarian Action for Children 2012


© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1111/Holt

Children and women attend a nutrition session at a health centre in the drought-affected pastoralist Turkana District. UNICEF aims to reach 1.4 million Kenyan children with humanitarian assistance in 2012.

Mid-Year Review of the 2012+ Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan, July 2012


Children and Women in Crisis

Successive seasons of poor rainfall and rising food and fuel prices have left about 3.75 million people in Kenya in need of food and assistance.1 More than 385,000 children under 5 suffer from undernutrition,2 making them more susceptible to communicable disease. Nearly 2 million people in the 29 districts worst affected by drought do not have access to safe water.3 The movement of populations in search of pasture has affected the education of 508,000 primary schoolchildren4 and resulted in the separation of children from their families. In 2011, more than 150,000 refugees fled Somalia, seeking protection and assistance in camps already operating beyond capacity. The most recent Somali influx has brought the refugee population to more than 460,000.5 Undernutrition rates in the refugee camps are alarmingly high, with 23,200 children moderately or severely malnourished,6 while threats to the protection, education and health of women and children abound. Forecasts indicate a likelihood of poor rainfall in early 2012 that could further constrain recovery efforts. No significant return of Somali refugees is anticipated in the near term.  

Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012

UNICEF will continue to work with the Government of Kenya, other UN agencies and NGOs to improve and sustain humanitarian programmes reaching the most vulnerable populations affected by the drought and refugee crises while using disaster risk reduction strategies to build resilience against future shocks.  UNICEF will continue to support government-led coordination, by co-chairing sector working groups7 in nutrition, education, WASH and child protection. UNICEF aims to reach an estimated 1.4 million children (720,000 boys and 728,000 girls) as well as 750,000 women with humanitarian programmes in 2012.

Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011

According to the mid-2011 revised request, US$47,791,121 was needed during the past year to meet urgent humanitarian needs. As of end October 2011, US$41,565,305 – or 87 per cent – had been received. This amount allowed UNICEF to achieve many humanitarian objectives to help women and children, including treatment for severe acute malnutrition that benefited more than 45,000 children, representing 80 per cent of the expected caseload.  Access to safe water was provided for 1.25 million people, reaching 78 per cent of the programme objective, and hygiene education and water treatment supplies were provided for 1.2 million people. An improved school environment for 120,000 children was supported through supplies and WASH facilities. The measles vaccine was given to more than 1 million children (70 per cent coverage) in drought-affected areas and an additional 250,000 children from refugee and host communities for a coverage rate of more than 85 per cent. Integrated protective services through child-friendly spaces in Dadaab refugee camps were afforded to more than 62,000 children.

Funding Requirements for 2012

UNICEF is requesting US$47,126,000 for its humanitarian programmes in 2012. UNICEF has aligned its request with the 2012 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) requirements. Without sufficient funding, the high levels of programme coverage attained in 2011 may not be maintained and will result in increased morbidity and mortality for women and children.

More information on humanitarian action planned for 2012 can be found at and the country office website at

1 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Kenya Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan 2012’, forthcoming. OCHA, New York and Geneva, p. 1.
2 Ibid. 
3 WESCOORD, ‘Kenya: Drought affected populations – 7 October 2011’, available at
4 United Nations Children’s Fund, Situation Report UNICEF Kenya #6,  17 – 23 August 2011, UNICEF, Kenya, 28 August 2011.
5 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘Weekly New Registration Population Composition: 17/10/11 – 23/10/11’, UNHCR, Dadaab, Kenya, 2011.
6 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘UNHCR Nutrition Surveys, Daaab, August-September 2011. GAM rates range between 17.2 per cent and 23.2 per cent.
7 Sector working groups lead by the Government of Kenya and co-chaired by UNICEF perform ‘cluster functions.’