Mauritania + 1 more

Humanitarian Action for Children 2020 - Mauritania

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Due to frequent climatic shocks and high levels of vulnerability, thousands of children in Mauritania suffer from malnutrition every year. Since 2017, irregular rainfall has negatively impacted crops and pastures, eroding household resilience and capacities to absorb shocks. Over 123,000 children, including nearly 27,000 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM), and some 31,000 pregnant and lactating women with acute malnutrition, will require care and treatment in 2020. Of Mauritania's 55 districts, 23 (42 per cent) are experiencing a nutrition emergency, with global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate above 15 per cent and/or the SAM rate above 2 per cent. These 23 districts account for three quarters of the country's total SAM caseload. Only 47 per cent of people living in these districts have access to drinking water, compared with the national average of 70 per cent. In addition, nearly 57,000 Malian refugees require access to basic services, including safe water, health care, education and protection. Out of the more than 28,000 school-aged refugee children (aged 3 to 18 years) in the M'Berra refugee camp, only 6,200 are accessing formal education, and 2,700 youth are accessing literacy courses. In host communities, more than 13,500 children are out of school.

Humanitarian strategy

As co-lead of the nutrition sector, UNICEF will continue to use a multi-sectoral strategy to scale up the integrated management of acute malnutrition and provide water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. This includes life-saving service delivery through health centres, as well as community-based approaches to prevention that incorporate communication for development, screening, infant and young child feeding (IYCF) counselling and early detection by mothers/caregivers at the country level. To ensure synergies between humanitarian action and development programming and build resilience, UNICEF will continue to work with other United Nations agencies and use a cross-sectoral approach that accelerates access to basic services, including for children with disabilities, while improving social cohesion in volatile contexts. This approach includes integrated interventions, monitoring, information management and coordination. Mobile, community-based service delivery will be employed to reach affected populations in hard-to-reach areas. Protection and education will remain central to UNICEF’s contribution to the Malian refugee response. Together with national and local authorities, these activities will involve both immediate service provision to meet the needs of refugees and host populations, as well as systems strengthening to improve resilience, including teacher training, risk-sensitive planning and integrated community-based child protection services and mechanisms.