In 2016, UNICEF, through its implementing partners, treated nearly 100,000 Somali children suffering from malnutrition, and provided their mother with critical nutrition and hygiene education. The life-saving work was made possible thanks to the generous contributions from donors, including US$2 million from ECHO – the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department.
The ECHO funding, covering six months from July to December, was also used for water, sanitation and hygiene projects and child protection for children and families especially those affected by emergencies such as drought and conflict. Some 552,000 people benefited from the ECHO grant.
The grant enabled UNICEF to procure ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), a high-energy, lipid-based paste for children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, train health workers at nutrition service delivery points and provide nutrition and hygiene education to mothers such as exclusive breastfeeding and handwashing washing with soap.
UNICEF partners were able to rehabilitate water facilities in communities affected by emergencies, including schools, health clinics and camps for the internally displaced and assisted families with hygiene kits and other WASH supplies. They also desludged 300 overflowing pit latrines across the IDP camps in Mogadishu.
In the area of child protection, UNICEF was able to reach 900 young men and young women formerly associated with armed groups with reintegration services, including psychosocial counselling and vocational training.
“We are deeply grateful to ECHO and the people of the European Union for their unwavering support for UNICEF’s work,” said Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF Somalia Representative. “The latest funds from ECHO not only saved lives but also built the resilience of Somali families. Because of this, more Somali mothers are getting to know how to protect their children from malnutrition and disease; families are having a better chance at surviving when emergencies strike; and more former child soldiers are on their way to become productive members of their communities.”
The current situation for Somali children remains precarious. After several poor rainy seasons, the country is again gripped by drought. Some 323,000 children under-five are malnourished, 50,000 of them are severely malnourished and need urgent treatment. In the areas worst hit by drought, 830,000 people are facing water shortages. UNICEF is working to respond to the most pressing needs of the affected population.
Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).