UNICEF in West and Central Africa: UNICEF programming reaches vulnerable children and families in Benin, Cabo Verde, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe and Senegal.
West and Central Africa is home to just 11 percent of the world’s children — yet it accounts for over one-third of global deaths of children under 5, nearly one-third of all children who go unvaccinated and one-third of children who are out of school.
Conflict, COVID-19 and climate change are three major contributing factors. Ongoing violence and armed conflicts in countries in the Central Sahel have displaced millions of children and families, both internally and across borders. Some 6 million children have been uprooted in recent years.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s direct and indirect impacts have hit the region especially hard, pressuring already overburdened social and health systems and threatening to undo decades of progress on many fronts. And many countries in the region face regular risks of natural hazards, such as flooding and landslides, which are exacerbated by climate change and deforestation.
The cumulative effects of all this have left millions of children at risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Outbreaks of Ebola, measles and cholera are a recurring problem, and tens of millions of people in the region need safe water, sanitation and hygiene support.
strengthening prevention and response to disease outbreaks
reaching more kids with lifesaving immunizations
enhancing prevention, early detecting and treatment of acute malnutrition at the facility and community level
prioritizing children associated with armed groups, victims of sexual violence, children who are detained and children who are separated from their families for protection and psychosocial support
distributing learning materials, scaling up alternative learning options (digital, radio and TV channels) for out-of-school children and supporting teachers and classrooms for reopenings post-COVID
improving the quality and coverage of all humanitarian services through innovative partnerships, better data and new technologies
helping countries strengthen systems and build capacities so they are better prepared and more resilient against future challenges
Learn more about UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children in West and Central Africa, including program targets for 2021.
Top photo: Girls attend school in Dori, Burkina Faso. ©UNICEF/UNI394548/Dejongh