The Government of Japan is providing generous funding to UNICEF to support children with proper sanitation facilities in schools, keep them in education and provide abused women and children with support services, UNICEF said today. The US$3 million grant will, over the course of the next year, help some of the communities worst affected by the prolonged drought in central and southern regions of Somalia.
Somalia is still facing an ongoing malnutrition and displacement crisis, with 2.8 million children in urgent need of humanitarian assistance due to failure of successive rainy seasons. The coping mechanisms of the population have been weakened and the threat of famine could rapidly reappear without continued support from key donors such as Japan.
The drought has meant widespread use of contaminated water, which in turn has led to disease outbreaks including Acute Watery Diarrhoea/cholera that affected tens of thousands in 2017 and is on the rise again this year.
Part of the Japanese funding will provide 10,000 children in 50 schools with a package of services. The school latrines will be rehabilitated or constructed, safe drinking water provided and hygiene education undertaken. Japan's funding will be also used to establish temporary spaces or rehabilitate classrooms in the 50 schools, targeting areas with high IDP influx. Emergency cash grants will fund lunches and snacks at the schools, so that families have an incentive to keep children in school, while children who are out of school will be encouraged to join.
Japan is also the largest donor to UNICEF's gender-based violence programme in Somalia. The new funding will be used to monitor grave child rights violations, as well as provide support to 1,250 survivors of abuse, and to children who were previously involved with armed groups.
"This emergency education package, generously funded by Japan, promotes schools as places for the most vulnerable children to receive life-saving and life-sustaining services," said UNICEF Somalia Representative Steven Lauwerier. "We also need to keep providing child protection services to the most marginalized children. UNICEF is the largest provider of emergency child protection and Gender Based Violence services in Somalia. It is thanks to donors such as Japan we can continue and scale up this crucial work."