The humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso intensified in 2018 due to persistent conflict in the North, East and Sahel regions, and continuing food insecurity. Approximately 1.5 million people are affected by conflict, including nearly 1.1 million children. Of those affected, over 141,000 will require immediate, life-saving assistance, including food assistance, nutritional support and sanitation services. The number of security incidents linked to violent extremist groups has almost doubled, increasing from 65 incidents in 2017 to 124 in 2018, including 107 deaths. Almost 60 per cent of incidents have occurred in the Sahel region. Threats by violent extremist groups have led to 440 school closures since the beginning of the 2018/19 school year, depriving over 66,000 children (over 32,000 girls) of education.
Persistent insecurity has also displaced nearly 41,000 people, 56 per cent of whom are children, and is affecting access to health services, with 10 health centres closed in the Sahel region in 2018 and more at risk of closure in 2019. Burkina Faso is also hosting nearly 24,000 Malian refugees, predominantly in the Sahel region. In 2019, food insecurity will affect an estimated 676,000 people, and some 133,066 children under 5 years will suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
The UNICEF Burkina Faso strategy combines emergency response with community-based resilience-building interventions. As lead of the emergency nutrition, education and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) groups, UNICEF facilitates sector coordination and national capacity development. The expansion of the Safe School Strategy to the North and East regions will facilitate the integration of disaster risk reduction, risk mitigation and psychosocial support into child-friendly school programmes.
Radio-based education will be rolled out to support children affected by school closures, and EduTrack will be used as an early warning system in schools.
UNICEF will expand multi-sectoral, community-based protection services for vulnerable children, focusing on psychosocial support and case management for unaccompanied and separated children and children affected by violence. The WASH response will support health, nutrition and education services by increasing access to potable water, community-led total sanitation and hygiene promotion, including menstrual hygiene management in schools. UNICEF will facilitate SAM treatment and prevention for children under 5 years and infant and young child feeding (IYCF) counselling for pregnant and lactating women by supporting the national ready-to-use therapeutic food procurement system and partner coordination. The health response will include vaccination, especially against measles, to prevent disease outbreaks in emergency-affected communities.
Results from 2018
As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$11.8 million available against the US$36.1 million appeal (33 per cent funded). UNICEF and partners reached 329,000 people, including 98,000 children, with humanitarian assistance. The low SAM achievement is linked to incomplete reporting, weak referral systems and insecurity, which reduced access to health services. IYCF counselling is being expanded and is expected to reach more women by the end of 2018. In response to the measles outbreak, the UNICEF-supported immunization campaign reached 95 per cent of children aged 6 to 59 months. In the Sahel and North regions, over 4,700 children (nearly 2,600 girls) affected by school closures attended study camps organized by the Government with UNICEF support. The primary-level participant success rate was 65.6 per cent, slightly exceeding the national rate. The Safe School Strategy reached 134,000 children (49 per cent girls) and is expected to reach more children by the end of 2018. UNICEF supported the Government to operationalize 13 decentralized child protection networks that reached nearly 7,100 refugee children (over 3,200 girls) and 65 unaccompanied and separated children (17 girls) with psychosocial support and alternative care. Due to funding shortfalls, the WASH priority shifted to strengthening coordination and partner capacities.