The United Nations Children’s Fund is appealing for $2,8 billion to reach to an estimated 43 million children in humanitarian emergencies worldwide with $12 million earmarked for Zimbabwe.
The money is expected to assist children in drought-affected areas with health and nutrition, water and sanitation, child protection and education programmes. A total of 20 400 children aged between six to 59 months affected by malnutrition in Zimbabwe are expected to benefit from nutrition programmes, while 105 000 others under five years will receive micro-nutrient supplements.
UNICEF will also provide over 130 000 people in Zimbabwe affected by emergencies with access to safe water and a further 161 000 affected by drought with critical information to prevent child illnesses, especially diarrhoea.
On child protection, the humanitarian agency is working on social cash transfers to 73 000 vulnerable families from selected districts.
It will also strengthen its assistance towards provision of quality education for children and adolescents.
In a statement released last Friday, director for emergency programmes with UNICEF headquarters Dr Afshan Khan said for the first time, the largest portion of the appeal, thus 25 percent will go towards educating children in emergencies, including Zimbabwe.
She said this year UNICEF plans to dramatically increase the number of children in crises who are given access to education from 4,9 million to 8,2 million.
“Education is a life-saving measure for children, providing them with the opportunity to learn and play,” said Dr Khan.
“This year, a quarter of our appeal is devoted to education. By educating the minds of children and young people we are building hope so that they can envisage a better future for themselves, their families and their societies and help break the cycle of chronic crisis.”
Dr Khan said the twin drivers of conflict and extreme weather were forcing growing numbers of children worldwide out of their homes and at risk of hunger,exposing millions to severe food shortages, violence, disease, abuse, as well as threats to their education.
Funds raised by UNICEF for Zimbabwe will also continue to support Government-led coordination structures at national and sub-national level in preparedness for and response to drought.
In 2015, UNICEF’s humanitarian response delivered critical life-saving support to millions of children in Zimbabwe including providing them with access to safe water, vaccinations, treating children for the most serious forms of malnutrition, offering children vital psychological support and giving them access to basic education.
UNICEF estimates that one in nine of the world’s children lives in conflict zones.
In 2015, children living in countries and areas affected by conflict were twice as likely to die of mostly preventable causes before they reached the age of five, than those in other countries.
Furthermore, over half a billion children are living in extremely high flood occurrence zones and nearly 160 million living in high or extremely high drought severity zones.