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UNICEF welcomes USAID donation of US$3.9 million for the forgotten children of Somalia

NAIROBI, 3 September 2007 - In the midst of a deteriorating humanitarian situation for the children of Somalia, UNICEF received US$ 3.9 million from the United States Agency for International Development to ensure basic social service provision in Southern Somalia.

The funds, committed at a signing ceremony at the US Embassy in Nairobi on Friday 31 August, are part of an on-going package of US assistance to Somalia.

“With this donation,” said Siddharth Chatterjee, UNICEF Deputy Representative for Somalia, “we will be able to ensure that 20,000 children enroll and remain in school; that these schools have facilities to ensure clean water and adequate sanitation for their students and that the families that live in these areas will have access to quality maternal, newborn and child health care.”

Somalia’s humanitarian situation has been in a steady decline since the beginning of 2007. Most recent nutrition surveys in the Shabelle (southern region) of Somalia indicate that over 15 per cent of children under five suffer from global acute malnutrition – a figure that is above emergency threshold levels.

Nationally, 29 per cent of children attend primary school, with figures in the southern region much lower than national averages; for instance, in 2005-2006, of the 205,506 pupils enrolled in school in the south-central region, only 36 per cent were girls. In addition, 71 per cent of children do not use water from improved sources and just 19 per cent have been vaccinated against measles.

UNICEF is poised to scale up its efforts in the coming months to ensure an integrated package of key child survival interventions to children in Somalia.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Misbah Sheikh,OIC Communication,UNICEF Somalia Support Center: Tel +254 20 762-3958 and +254 736 397 771




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