Kits for new-born babies
In Niger, The European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)has helped UNICEF and partners distribute life-saving supplies to families displaced by conflict and natural hazards.
More than 29 million babies were born worldwide into conflict-affected areas in 2018, UNICEF said this week. More than 1 in 5 babies globally spent their earliest moments in communities affected by the chaos of conflict, often in deeply unsafe, and highly stressful environments.
“Every parent should be able to cherish their baby’s first moments, but for the millions of families living through conflict, the reality is far bleaker,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. "In countries around the world, violent conflict has severely limited access to essential services for parents and their babies. Millions of families lack access to nutritious food, safe water, sanitation, or a secure and healthy environment to grow and bond. Along with the immediate, obvious dangers, the long-term impacts of such a start in life are potentially catastrophic.”
In Niger, providing safe spaces for families and young children living through conflict is a critical part of UNICEF’s work. The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) is funding UNICEF and partner organizations to jointly implement a Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) and distribute life-saving supplies to families displaced by conflict or natural hazards.
For the first time, UNICEF has assembled a kit specifically adapted to the needs of newborn babies in Niger. “For newborns, the first 42 days of life – the neonatal period – are critical for a child’s survival,” stated Nicoletta Confalone, Emergency Specialist at UNICEF Niger. “Through the ECHO-funded Rapid Response Mechanism, UNICEF is lending a hand with nappies, clothing and other essentials for displaced babies, and giving mothers the safe spaces they need to care for their newborns.”
The RRM is designed to provide rapid humanitarian assistance following conflict-related shocks and natural disasters, as well as in response to population movements and epidemics. The RRM intervenes in coordination with the humanitarian community and provides humanitarian protection, shelter, essential household items and water, sanitation and hygiene assistance prioritizing vulnerable populations in remote and hard-to-reach areas.
UNICEF has been supporting the Rapid Response Mechanism in Niger since 2016. The RRM carries out rapid multisectoral assessments and quickly delivers humanitarian assistance and protection for acutely vulnerable families affected by crises. The mechanism has been formalized through a joint framework, which includes the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Relief, OCHA, UNICEF, WFP, and the Non-Governmental Organizations ACF, ACTED, DRC and IRC.