European Union provides EUR 2 million (ZMW 42.1 million) to UNICEF to support the COVID-19 response and help drought-affected children in Zambia

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LUSAKA, Zambia, 18 August 2020 – The European Union has allocated EUR 2 million (ZMW 42.1 million) to UNICEF to help address the effects of the recent drought on children and to support humanitarian work on the COVID-19 response in the Southern and Western provinces of Zambia.

Through this funding, UNICEF is providing support to offer comprehensive nutrition services to treat children who are acutely malnourished in 21 districts. The funds are also used to help monitor children in the districts worst hit by recent droughts. For those identified as severely malnourished, the programme supports the provision of Ready-to-use-Therapeutic Foods at in-patient and out-patient therapeutic care centres and also improve the quality of care services. UNICEF also supports the training of nearly 4,200 community volunteers in infant and young child feeding counselling in emergencies. This know-how will stay in the community beyond the end date of the programme.

The partnership also focuses on improving the water supply services at 25 health facilities, ensuring a safe water supply in 81 communities, and providing infection prevention and control supplies to 100 in-patient and outpatient facilities including chlorine, soap, hand sanitizer, handwashing stations and solid waste bins, in line with the Zambia WASH Sector Response Plan for COVID-19.

The project is for a period of 15 months and is estimated to benefit more than 160,000 people, of which 11,887 are acutely malnourished children age 6-59 months in 21 key districts that have been among the most affected by the recent drought in Zambia.

“Our support to this project will help in the treatment of thousands of children facing acute malnutrition, as their families are grappling with acute food shortages. Health workers at health facilities and community workers will also be trained in early detection and treatment of malnourishment in young children – timely diagnosis and action is crucial to save children’s lives,” said Pascal Mounier, Head of the EU’s Humanitarian Aid Office in the region.

“Thanks to the generous humanitarian funding from the European Union, front-line practitioners will be able to safely and quickly identify children in need of support now and in the years to come,” said Ms Noala Skinner, UNICEF Representative in Zambia.

Jacek Jankowski, Ambassador of the European Union to Zambia added: "The European Union has a long history in improving the nutrition situation in the country, following an integrated approach. Apart from European Union's emergency allocation of €2 million in direct response to the drought, we will soon sign with UNICEF the €10 million co-financing of the multi-donor funded Scaling Up Nutrition Phase II (SUN II) programme. The objective is to support the implementation of Zambia's 1,000 Most Critical Days Programme (MCDP) in a coordinated, integrated and effective manner, under the guidance of the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC)”.

According to the Government of Zambia’s In-Depth and Vulnerability Needs Assessment, issued in July 2019, the 2018-2019 drought has left 2.3 million people in severe food insecurity across 58 districts, predominantly in Southern, Eastern and Western Provinces.

The European Union-funded project will build on other on-going support that UNICEF projects are giving to the Government’s drought response in nutrition, water and sanitation, education and social protection, with assistance from other international donors and organisations.

Statement issued by UNICEF Zambia in conjunction with the European Union in Zambia.

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