Violence and conflict-related displacement have increased dramatically in Nigeria over the past decade. In the three most directly affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, 7.7 million people require humanitarian assistance, including 4.3 million children and 1.6 million internally displaced persons, more than half of whom are children.1 Ninety-two per cent of the internally displaced are located in the three north-eastern states.2 An estimated 400,000 children in 14 local government areas in Borno State will be severely malnourished in 2018, and five local government areas in Yobe State are experiencing global acute malnutrition rates of 10-20 per cent.3 An estimated 1.5 million people lack access to safe water (940,000 in Borno, 480,000 in Adamawa and 80,000 in Yobe).4 As a result, vulnerable children are becoming acutely malnourished after repeated bouts of diarrheal disease. Only half of the 755 health facilities in Borno State remain functional5 and nearly 1,400 schools have been damaged or destroyed.6 Many of these schools are unable to reopen for safety reasons. More than 1 million children in Nigeria are currently out of school.7 The protracted crisis has also compromised the physical safety and psychosocial well-being of 2.5 million children in north-east Nigeria, who require immediate assistance.8
In close collaboration with the Government, UNICEF co-leads the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition and education sectors, and the child protection sub-sector. In 2018, UNICEF will continue to deliver an integrated intervention package to affected populations, in coordination with the Government, United Nations agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). To effectively scale up interventions, UNICEF has diversified and strengthened these partnerships with the aim of employing additional local partners in the response. In 2017, 19 out of 39 NGO programme agreements were with national NGOs. To improve the quality of its response, UNICEF is increasingly taking an integrated approach, especially among the health, nutrition and WASH sectors. UNICEF will work with community-based WASH committees to increase community mobilization for hygiene promotion, including regular cleaning of latrines and maintenance of water points, as well as the dissemination of hygiene messages. A key aspect of this approach will be the integration of WASH facilities into schools, child-friendly spaces and health/nutrition centres, as well as teacher training on the provision of psychosocial support in classrooms. The Rapid Response Mechanism will be strengthened to deliver immediate life-saving assistance to highly vulnerable families, followed by a sectoral response.
Results from 2017
As of 31 October 2017, UNICEF had US$98.4 million available against the US$146.9 million appeal (67 per cent funded).9 With nutrition activities funded at 97 per cent as of the end of October 2017, UNICEF was able to reach 161,317 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) with treatment (73 per cent of the target), and expects to reach another 220,000 children by the end of the year. More than 500,000 people gained access to safe water with UNICEF support over the course of the year. This result was lower than planned because UNICEF focused on ensuring the sustainability of the WASH services provided, including by providing safe water and sanitation services in institutions and water facility maintenance in host communities. Although health activities were only 37 per cent funded, more than 3.6 million people accessed emergency primary health care services (93 per cent of the target) and 4.1 million children received measles immunization. In addition, UNICEF supported 49 health centres with medicine and WASH supplies. Although final data is still being compiled, at least 600,000 children have accessed UNICEF-supported school facilities. Some 140,000 children benefitted from psychosocial services, and more than 4,200 unaccompanied and separated children received UNICEF support.
In line with the country’s inter-agency 2018 Strategic Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$149,000,000 to meet the humanitarian needs of children in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states in northeastern Nigeria. Without adequate and timely funding, UNICEF will be unable to continue its support to critical WASH services for internally displaced persons vulnerable to cholera outbreaks, as well as health services, particularly for malaria prevention. Lack of funding will also undermine the provision of critical child protection services and basic supplies for primary education, which are urgently needed to protect children’s right to education.