In 2018, Cameroon continued to experience serious crises, including a cholera outbreak, insecurity in the Far North, the continuous arrival of refugees from the Central African Republic and Nigeria and ongoing conflict in the Northwest and Southwest. Massive upheaval in the Northwest and Southwest resulted in the displacement of over 437,500 people, including to neighbouring regions and Nigeria.1 Many of those displaced are isolated in hard-to-reach areas and in need of water, sanitation, shelter, health care, education and child protection services. In the Far North, security incidents diminished and humanitarian access increased over the course of the year, enabling more than 92,200 people to return home. Still, more than 328,000 Cameroonians and Nigerians remain displaced in the Far North. Increased accessibility in the Far North led to the reopening of 24 schools out of the 92 closed; however, malnutrition rates in the region remained constant at 9.7 per cent global acute malnutrition and 1.4 per cent severe acute malnutrition (SAM). In late 2018, a cholera epidemic emerged in the North region that also affected the Far North, Central and Littoral regions, resulting in 645 cases and 43 deaths as of October 2018.
UNICEF’s humanitarian strategy is organized around four pillars designed to strengthen the linkages between humanitarian action and development programming: 1) building a protective environment and supporting community peacebuilding; 2) preventing and responding to violence against and exploitation of children; 3) increasing access to basic services; and 4) strengthening emergency preparedness and response systems. The strategy will be implemented using three operational modalities. First, UNICEF will strengthen government systems in communes and build community capacities. The goal will be to establish linkages between community-based mechanisms and government structures to reinforce local resilience. Second, where community structures are unable to absorb shocks, UNICEF will support communitybased associations and sub-regional governments to deliver services and establish coordination mechanisms.
This will strengthen social cohesion by ensuring that both affected populations and host communities can access services. Third, UNICEF and partners will provide an integrated, rights-based assistance package to the most conflictaffected populations. In all aspects of its humanitarian response, UNICEF will strengthen accountability to affected populations, including by meeting with communities directly, where possible, and working through third-party monitors to ensure effective programme delivery.
UNICEF will also serve as a leader in the effort to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse and protect affected populations.
Results from 2018
As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$6.5 million available against the US$25.5 million appeal (26 per cent funded).7 In both child protection and nutrition, despite significant funding gaps, UNICEF was able to meet its targets.8 In 2018, UNICEF reached more than 119,000 children with psychosocial support and nearly 56,800 children with treatment for SAM. In addition, at least 21,000 school-aged children received education in safe and protective learning environments, 2,200 children were immunized against measles and 43,000 people received water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) kits.
UNICEF is implementing an emergency response in the severely underfunded East and Adamawa regions. In the Northwest and Southwest regions, as of October 2018, UNICEF had initiated programmes in health, WASH, child protection and communication for development to provide assistance, primarily to internally displaced persons. The lack of humanitarian funding profoundly impacted the response, however. Faced with limited resources, humanitarian actors prioritized reaching newly displaced people and newly accessible areas. To maximize the limited funding available and strengthen programme quality, UNICEF initiated joint programming to build a protective environment and prevent the exploitation of children, incorporating child protection, education and communication for development activities.