The children

The situation of Women and Children in Somalia

UNICEF in action

Basic Indicators


UNICEF in action

UNICEF Somalia/2015/Rich
© UNICEF Somalia/2015/Rich


UNICEF aims to ensure equitable and efficient health and HIV/AIDS services are available to women and children especially the poor and marginalised. This is being done through strengthening child health and safe motherhood services as well as immunisation systems particularly polio, supporting communities to manage childhood illnesses, providing malaria nets, scaling up testing for HIV and providing treatment.

The UNICEF-supported Essential Package of Health Services is the flagship health programme covering a potential 5.5 million people. UNICEF, with partners is working to strengthen the capacity of Somali health authorities to respond to the health needs of the population. More than 2 million children were vaccinated since the polio outbreak began in May 2013, and it was officially declared over in October 2015. Approximately 2.5 million people are covered by UNICEF supported humanitarian interventions. In newly accessible areas in the South and Central areas, it provided life-saving humanitarian assistance to people in need benefitting over 201,000 at risk people. UNICEF supports almost 70% of primary health care services. UNICEF has been Principal Recipient (PR) for the Global Fund HIV & Malaria Grants for Somalia since 2002 distributing over 3.6 million long-lasting insecticide treated nets have been distributed to prevent Malaria. Testing for HIV among pregnant women and TB patients has been scaled up and over 2000 people are on now Antiretroviral Therapy.


UNICEF’s Nutrition programme in Somalia focus on a holistic and life-cycle approach to provision of nutrition specific interventions particularly targeted at the critical 1,000 day window of opportunity (the period between pregnancy to a child’s second birthday) to improve nutrition, ensuring the inclusion of treatment, promotion and prevention interventions in its programming, summarized in the Basic Nutrition Services Package (BNSP) . The package is being provided in an integrated manner at the facility and community level to ensure that the most disadvantaged children and women are reached with the nutrition services.

The essential elements of the package include the management of acute malnutrition, micronutrient support, infant and young child feeding, maternal nutrition, deworming, promotion of appropriate food fortification, monitoring and surveillance, and the prevention and management of common childhood illnesses, as well as immunization.

Integration of nutrition services into the health system continued to be supported especially in districts rolling out the Essential Package of Health Services programme under Joint Health and Nutrition Package (JHNP). The UNICEF supported nutrition programme has been expanding its efforts to provide integrated community based nutrition, health and WASH services as well as helping communities to improve infant and young child feeding to prevent malnutrition.

Somalia has joined the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, a renewed effort to eliminate all forms of malnutrition based on the principle that everyone has a right to food and good nutrition and which brings different groups of people together – governments, civil society, the United Nations, donors, businesses and scientists – in a collective action to improve nutrition. SUN Secretariat is hosted in the office of Prime Minister Somalia and the first inter-ministerial meeting was hold in December 2015 aiming to bring Nutrition sensitive programming across multiple sectors such as education, agriculture and food security, water, sanitation, and hygiene under one umbrella.


Water supply, environmental sanitation and hygiene activities are the main components of UNICEF’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene Programme in Somalia. This is being done through improving WASH services and facilities for vulnerable communities, schools and health centres; accelerating access to sanitary latrines; promoting hygienic behaviour practices, such as helping communities become Open Defecation Free (ODF); and strengthening data so we know where services and facilities are available and where more work is needed.

UNICEF leads the advocacy on eliminating Open Defecation and facilitates government and other actors to work towards targets using Community Led Total Sanitation approaches. When the school toilet situation is identified as a major culprit in low attendance and high dropouts among girls, the community, government and UNICEF and partners join forces to build facilities and a support system that reverse the trend. UNICEF is the largest supporter of new and rehabilitated rural water supplies in Somalia and there is a need to continue to focus on underserved areas to reduce the inequities particularly reducing distance to water for nomadic pastoralists and reducing reliance on surface water.


UNICEF Somalia works across 5 thematic areas as part of a broad system of support to strengthen education systems and provide quality education educational services for even the most hard to reach and/or marginalised children. These include: Formal Basic Education, Alternative Basic Education, Youth Education and Skill Development, Institutional Strengthening, and Education in Emergencies. With UNICEF’s support, in 2015 an additional 84,789 children including 37,990 girls were enrolled in formal primary schools across Somalia. Over 200 Community Education Committees (CEC) were supported and 142 Child to Child Clubs were empowered to advocate for education and enrolment campaigns. More than 10,000 over aged out-of-school children and children from pastoralist communities benefit from education opportunities in Alternative Basic Education Centres.

Increasing the numbers of qualified/ certified teachers (particularly female teachers) is extremely important to strengthen the education system and the level of learning for students. Therefore 1,378 teachers (392 of whom are women) were trained on learner-centered pedagogy and 3,355 teachers and head teachers (16 per cent women) received incentives to continue their work. UNICEF also supported the establishment of Education Management Information System (EMIS) Units in all three Ministries of Education (MOE), resulted in the third government-led School Census in Somaliland and Puntland in 2014. The first government-led school census at a Federal level is ongoing.

Child Protection

UNICEF is working to rebuild the protective environment for Somalia’s most vulnerable children and women by helping to improve national capacity and legal protection, and by providing safe havens for those most at risk of abuse and exploitation. This includes by developing policies and legislative frameworks in line with the recently ratified CRC; supporting birth registration; promoting a child-sensitive justice system reintegrating children associated with armed forces and groups; and providing psychosocial services to women and children affected by Gender Based Violence
UNICEF supports a network of 15 organizations with over 70 trained monitors has been established across Somalia to collect data on grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict: killing or maiming, recruitment into armed groups, attacks on schools and hospitals, rape or sexual violence, abduction, and denial of humanitarian access for children. Survivors of gender-based violence are provided with psychosocial support, post-rape treatment kits and relocated if needed. Children who were associated with armed forces/groups enter into a UNICEF-supported reintegration programme. Advocacy and policy dialogue efforts on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) which resulted in draft legislation continues.





Annual Report 2018


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