United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, created by the General Assembly in 1946 has been mandated to protect and promote children everywhere, with special emphasis on developing countries and actions primarily geared to upholding the Rights of Children. UNICEF started its activities in Lebanon in 1948.
One of the key challenges facing the children of Lebanon is that even after reconstruction from conflict progresses; they are living in the shadow of internal political instability. UNICEF is committed to ensuring that all its activities address the impact of this situation on children.
Strengthening existing local services
The emergency response is an opportunity to strengthen government social services at local level for the most marginalized children. UNICEF has prioritized partnerships with line ministries as well as with UNHCR and UNRWA to respond to the needs of the growing Syrian and displaced Palestinian refugee populations. UNICEF is also supporting national and international partners in the scaling up of their emergency response and has greatly expanded the number of international and local partners.
A priority is to get the most vulnerable children back to school in a safe, protective environment through their enrollment and retention in formal and informal learning settings (Back to Learning program). UNICEF is currently noting high drop-out rates and a reluctance to enroll due to safety concerns and the high cost of transportation to and from school.
Remedial classes are essential to help Syrian children integrate the Lebanese curriculum which is partially taught in English and French. Many Syrian children have been out of school for up to 2 years and need support to catch up.
Through UNICEF support, nearly 29, 324 children have been assisted in more than 150 public schools through enrollment support and basic education materials in affected areas
- Teachers, principals and parents were trained in Active Learning, Inclusive Education and Positive Discipline
- 266 schools with the highest concentration of Syrian students were identified for minor rehabilitation (Work underway in 146 schools)
- A total of 35,522 students have benefited from fuel for classroom heating during the harsh 2012/2013 winter
- 28, 066 children have benefited from psycho-social support and remedial classes
- 9, 386 children have benefited from non-formal education support
Today, over 100,000 children are in need of family and community based psycho-social support. By the end of 2013 this number will reach 350,000.
One of the main challenge for UNICEF and its partners is to identify and reach the most vulnerable children when the target population is dispersed across the country and in movement. Increasing domestic violence is an invisible, often taboo issue which makes it difficult to identify. Furthermore, the lack of access to basic services is increasing the vulnerability and susceptibility to exploitation of children, women and girls.
- Over 25,000 children are provided with psycho-social support
- UNICEF and partners have established 37 Child Friendly Spaces
- 9 mobile teams are currently reaching the most vulnerable communities
- Nearly 2,000 women and girl at risk or survivors of gender-based violence (when you click here, it brings you to a page for Gender-Based violence. But here with the word document, you have to go at the end of the test to see) have benefited from emotional support and awareness raising sessions as well as life skills and vocational training.
- UNICEF is working with and supporting he Government to increase capacity of 27 Social Development Centers
- During winter, UNICEF also provided 33,000 children with winter kits as well as blankets and plastic sheeting.
Palestinian refugees from Syria
UNICEF is providing assistance to the Palestine refugees who have fled across the border into Lebanon. As with other populations groups, the number of Palestinian refugees from Syria requiring assistance in Lebanon is growing, with the current caseload at over 60,000. UNICEF supports these children in the following areas:
In Education, UNICEF supports remedial classes for Palestinian children from Syria at UNRWA schools, including teacher training and development of the instructional materials. UNICEF also distributes stationary, uniforms, bags, school-in-a-box kits and recreational kits to affected children. Cash assistance to children at UNRWA schools for clothing was also provided by UNICEF. IN addition, UNICEF supports the Accelerated Learning Program, psycho-social support, and recreational activities for out of school children at UNICEF-supported partners.
UNICEF provides essential drugs, vaccines and medical supplies to UNRWA clinics to respond to the needs of Palestinian refugee from Syria.
In supplies, UNICEF provides Palestinian refugees from Syria with baby and hygiene kits.
In child protection, UNICEF provides Palestinian refugees from Syria with psycho-social and recreational activities.
On the advocacy front, UNICEF Lebanese Country Office developed human interest stories, videos and photographic materials with the aim of sensitizing the public opinion at large to the Palestinian refugees coming from Syria. The materials have been posted on UNICEF global website and widely distributed. UNICEF also supported the "Witness" association to conduct an assessment of the needs of the Palestinian refugees from Syria and determine the areas of interventions. The results of the assessment were made available to UN agencies, donors, local and international NGO's and the media in order to mobilize human and financial resources (September 2012).
Health and Nutrition
In the current emergency context, cramped accommodation and poor hygiene are responsible for worsening health issues, including skin conditions like scabies as well as diarrheal disease and acute respiratory infections.
UNICEF’s health response has focused on preventing the spread of contagious diseases that are especially difficult to contain in crowded conditions with inadequate sanitation facilities. The widely dispersed population makes it difficult to contain and treat outbreaks, and increases the vulnerability of host communities also being affected
UNICEF has been supporting the primary health care system through a nation-wide immunization services, vaccination campaigns, life-saving medical supplies and essential drugs. In addition to carrying out two nation-wide immunization campaigns for measles and polio in Lebanon in 2013, in coordination with the MOPH, UNICEF has established vaccination sites in the UNHCR Registration Centres in Beirut, Tripoli, Zahle and Tyr.
Scabies and lice response:
UNICEF’s WASH and Health sections responded to the scabies and lice in informal tented settlements in Lebanon. Treatment for 100,000 cases of scabies and 200,000 cases of lice was purchased and is being distributed in tented settlements. UNICEF also developed leaflets and communication materials in Arabic on the detection, prevention and treatment of lice and scabies
Mobile solutions for access to health care:
Since May 2013, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the NGO Beyond, UNICEF has been supporting mobile medical clinics to reach all tented settlements and vulnerable communities in the country and deliver free, primary health care and life-saving treatments..
The team includes a doctor, two nurses, a midwife and vaccinator.
UNICEF is also supporting mobile protection teams to accompany the medical teams and assist in mapping all the tented settlements, disseminating information about birth registration, UNHCR registration centres, existing services, and key messaging around child care and rapid protection assessment and referral for children at risk
In addition, UNICEF is working to strengthen the prevention of malnutrition and response systems to cases of malnutrition
- UNICEF conducted a successful immunization campaign in ten provinces. A second campaign, reaching the rest of the country, was completed in April
- Overall, a total of 700,000 Syrian and Lebanese children have been vaccinated against measles
- 249,206 boys and girls received Vitamin A supplements; and 61,094 boys and girls up to 5 years have been vaccinated against polio
- Vaccinations of newly arriving Syrian refugees will continue, through UNICEF support at UNHCR registration centers. To date, more than 3,000 newly arrived refugee children have been vaccinated at such centers.
- In just the first week, two mobile health teams treated over 1,500 patients in 9 tented settlements with a total population of 7,500 people.
Protecting children from the cold - Winterization
During the winter, refugees sought shelter in the coldest regions of Lebanon - the Bekaa Valley and the North- where temperatures often dip below 0 during winter, UNICEF and partners provided clothing kits and vouchers for 33,981 children.
For more information about UNICEF programme:
Clemenceau, Gefinor Centre, Block E, 6th Floor