Humanitarian Action for Children 2012


© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0828/Li

A baby is vaccinated against polio at a mobile outreach point in Masvingo District. The continuing political crisis has heightened threats to children from unsafe water, food insecurity, natural disasters, violence and HIV/AIDS.


September 2012 Update: UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children [PDF]

CAP Mid-Year Review, July 2012


Children and Women in Crisis

As Zimbabwe struggles to recover from a deep socio-economic crisis and collapse caused by massive hyperinflation, political instability and displacement, seasonal droughts, floods and recurring WASH-related disease outbreaks continue to reduce efforts towards progress. The impact of these events on a country with a deteriorated social sector leaves much of the population at risk and in need of humanitarian assistance.

Today, more than 4 million people reside in locations considered high risk for transmission of waterborne diseases due to unsafe water sources, poor sanitation and hygiene1 with nearly half the population in rural areas practicing open defecation.2 Chronic food insecurity remains an urgent issue for 3.5 million girls and boys living below the food poverty line,3 who are at risk of poor health and stunting due to greatly diminished access to all basic services and protections. The HIV and AIDS prevalence rate of 13.9 per cent remains one of the highest in the world.4 A set of complex factors is creating a rising population of ‘children on the move’, vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse.

Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012

As Zimbabwe transitions towards recovery, UNICEF will continue its work to mitigate and prevent crises emerging from an eroded social service sector. UNICEF will also build capacity to respond quickly to recurrent natural disasters that so often sweep away development gains, and will play a key role in coordinating and co-leading the nutrition, education and WASH clusters, together with government line ministries. This year, UNICEF will reach approximately 300,000 people with humanitarian interventions, including 156,000 women and children.

Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011

In 2011, UNICEF requested US$119,973,000 for its humanitarian work in Zimbabwe. As of end October 2011, US$15,393,309 had been received, or 13 per cent of the goal, with additional funding received for transition activities.  UNICEF provided 80 per cent of an agreed package of essential medicines to health facilities across the country. Basic obstetric care equipment was obtained for 700 health facilities, while 16 midwifery schools are now able to each train an additional 40 midwives per year.

In districts prone to cholera outbreaks, 60,000 families received life-saving hygiene items, such as soap and buckets, while 20,000 emergency-affected people received safe water, thus dramatically reducing cholera cases. 

UNICEF increased access to legal and support services for 25,000 young survivors of violence. Approximately 500 girls and boys on the move were protected through partnerships with government and international agencies.

UNICEF assisted in assessments of 2,500 schools, which found that one in three required urgent attention due to severe storm or flood damage.

UNICEF, with government agencies and international partners, bolstered emergency response and strengthened efforts in nutrition, WASH and education clusters, benefiting close to 2.9 million boys and 3 million girls nationally.

Funding Requirements for 2012

UNICEF is requesting US$24,600,000 in 2012 to continue its humanitarian work in Zimbabwe. Without sufficient funding, efforts to prevent emerging crises will be severely limited, ranging from the spread of cholera to the exploitation and abuse of at-risk adolescents and children.

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

1 UNICEF estimate based on UNICEF ‘Diarrhoea Prevention Campaign – Draft Concept Note’, 30 November 2011. 
2 United Nations Children’s Fund and Government of Zimbabwe, ‘A Situational Analysis on the Status of Women’s and Children’s Rights in Zimbabwe, 2005 – 2010: A call for reducing disparities and improving equity’, UNICEF, 18 March 2011, p. 73.
3 Ibid., p. 13.
4 Ibid., p. 35. 
5 Funding requirements for HIV and AIDs-related activities are streamlines into sectoral response.