MOGADISHU, 31 March 2019 – A generous contribution from the Government of Japan will once again help UNICEF provide much needed education and protection assistance to Somali children affected by drought, floods and other emergencies.
Some 8,500 school-aged children, more than 40 per cent of them girls, will have a chance to study in a safe learning environment with access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. The focus will be in areas particularly hit hard by the 2017 severe drought and 2018 floods in the central and southern regions of Somalia.
Working with a network of local partners, UNICEF will also use the funds to reach more than 2,000 vulnerable people affected by violence and abuse, including children and women, with a comprehensive package of prevention and response services.
“We are pleased to see that our contribution in 2018 for emergency education and child protection has made a positive impact on the lives of 19,935 of Somali children and their families, however, the needs still remain immense,” said Mr. Yoshihiro Katayama, chargé d’ affaires of the Embassy of Japan in the Federal Republic of Somalia. “Japan has therefore decided to continue to support education and protection which are the fundamental rights of children through this year’s fund. We are confident that the Japanese fund will help in providing Somali children with a quality education and critical protection services which is the primary investment in contributing towards building a peaceful and prosperous nation.”
With strong donor support and a timely humanitarian response, famine was averted following the 2017 drought. In 2018, funding from donors, including $US3 million from Japan, helped UNICEF provide lifesaving interventions to Somali children and families. Some 200,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition received treatment, almost all of whom recovered; 630,000 children received emergency health services; and 1 million people had access to safe drinking water.
Furthermore, 99,000 children were reached with education opportunities, and 50,000 children affected by violence and conflict were provided with medical, psychosocial, family reunification and vocational training services.
“Education is a critical component of the humanitarian-development continuum. Investing in education means investing in the long-term development of Somalia,” said UNICEF Somalia Representative a.i. Jesper Moller. “UNICEF is extremely grateful to the Government of Japan and the Japanese people. More Somali children will have a chance at a brighter future thanks to Japan’s generosity and unwavering support.”
Despite improved food security, the humanitarian situation in Somalia remains fragile. Currently, an estimated 4.2 million people, approximately one third of the total population, including 2.5 million children, still require humanitarian assistance and protection. About 3 million children, out of 4.9 million, are out of school. The weak protective environment means many boys and girls are vulnerable to violent assaults, abuse and forced recruitment.