A round-up of activities of the UN system in Somalia in April 2022
Humanitarian | OCHA calls for more funds to help meet humanitarian needs
Along with FAO, UNICEF and WFP, OCHA issued a joint statement calling for an immediate injection of funds to enable a scale up of life-saving assistance in Somalia.
The call followed the release of a new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification and Risk Analyses report which found that six million Somalis – almost 40 per cent of the population – are now facing extreme levels of food insecurity, with pockets of famine conditions likely found in six areas of the country. This is nearly a two-fold increase in the number of people facing extreme levels of acute food insecurity due to the drought and related shocks since the beginning of the year.
The 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan that seeks $1.5 billion for the country’s needs remains underfunded, with Somalia competing with other global emergencies for funding.
Agriculture | FAO helps farmers increase productivity
FAO supported local communities in the Marka district of the Lower Shabelle region to increase the productivity of their fields and boost economic activity.
The district is one of the many areas in Somalia with the potential to be a prosperous and peaceful food basket, particularly as the country faces an uncertain future in the face of climate change. Yet challenges such as poor water infrastructure, governance and insecurity have held the area back from its full potential.
The support came through the Pro-resilience Action (ProAct) project, which is funded by the European Union; and, delivered through local partners, the support came in the form of irrigation services, good agricultural practices training, and better access to markets by rehabilitating bridges across the many waterways in the region.
According to FAO, with these services, local farmers can now enjoy better yields, helping build a peaceful and resilient future.
Journalism | UNDP supports launch of Somalia's first all-women media outlet
UNDP supported the launch of operations for Somalia's first all-women news media outlet.
Called Bilan, which means “bright and clear” in Somali, the unit is funded by UNDP and hosted inside the Dalsan Media Group’s offices in Mogadishu, with content distributed through Dalsan’s TV, radio and web platforms.
Bilan also produces content for the Guardian, El País and other international outlets to showcase Somali women’s journalism and present a different side of Somalia to the world.
The unit is staffed by six women journalists running a fully independent team covering stories they want to see told in the way they want to tell them. Prior to the launch, the team completed two weeks of intensive UNDP-supported training on mobile journalism, safety and ethics from some of the best professionals in Somalia.
Youth | UNFPA supports youth centre in Hargeisa
More than 400 young people graduated from the UNFPA-funded Hiraal Youth Centre in Hargeisa, Somaliland, after completing various skills-development programmes. UNFPA attended the ceremony at the centre, which was also refurbished with its support.
For global development to be sustainable, it is essential that young people are supported and encouraged as active agents and drivers of change. UNFPA works to strengthen the ability of Somali youth to successfully engage in employment and economic growth opportunities.
Business | UNIDO facilitates Somali business delegation in Italy
UNIDO supported a group of Somali business representatives on a business trip to Italy to meet with several Italian companies in the agrotechnology and irrigation sectors.
The Somali representatives were from agrotechnology company, Jubba Agro; Premier Bank; and SOMinvest, with the director of the latter playing an instrumental role by providing an institutional framework for the partnerships forged.
The delegation met with Nardi Group, Case New Holland-CNH, and Giunti – leading Italian companies in manufacturing implements and irrigation products – and announced that Premier Bank will work with Italian banks as a financing partner. The delegation also visited two plants to learn more about production phases.
The UNIDO Investment Technology Promotion Office in Rome also supported the visit, which helped foster an exchange of knowledge and best practices, and nurtured the long-standing collaboration between Somalia and Italy in agricultural trade and development.
Livelihoods | IOM supports scholarships for women in Hargeisa
IOM partnered with Muna Jama, a popular Somali make-up artist and businesswoman, to provide education scholarships for women returnees and vulnerable women residing in Hargeisa, Somaliland.
As a result, a total of 30 women participated in a six-week beauty course in which they learned make-up techniques and business skills that will allow them to open their own salons in the future. The knowledge they gained will also help them to be self-sufficient and prevent forced migration.
According to IOM, the project increased the confidence and skills of the women and fostered the reintegration of women returnees in their communities.
Drought response | UNHCR provides non-food relief to drought-affected families
UNHCR worked closely with humanitarian partners to address the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable groups facing severe drought conditions in Dhobley, in southern Somalia.
In coordination with local authorities, UNHCR targeted the most vulnerable drought-displaced households. This support included distributing non-food items kits consisting of water jerrycans, blankets, solar lamps, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets and solar lights.
In April, approximately 95,000 IDPs and host communities benefited from core relief items comprised of household items, either in cash or in kind, and UNHCR remains committed to continuing with assistance to IDPs, refugees and returnees impacted by the drought and persistent climatic changes.
Vaccination | UNICEF supports measles vaccination campaign
UNICEF is supporting immunization activities in districts across Somalia which have been experiencing outbreaks of measles.
Due to inaccessibility in some areas, insecurity, and inequitable provision of health services, especially to rural and nomadic populations, Somalia relies on such supplementary vaccination campaigns that target measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases like polio and tetanus.
The efforts come in the wake of the 2019 Somalia Demographic and Health Survey which found that only 22.7 per cent of children aged 12-23 months have been vaccinated against measles. So far, 503,700 children aged six to 59 months have been vaccinated, and plans are underway to vaccinate another 242,973 children in six districts, as well as conduct a nationwide campaign before the end of the year.
During the ongoing drought, 4,790 suspected measles cases have been reported, with 845 of those among children under five.
Development | UN-Habitat constructs sidewalks to beach in Berbera
UN-Habitat has constructed six kilometres of raised sidewalks on the beach road that connects Batalaale beach with the city centre of Berbera, the capital of the Sahil region of Somaliland.
Built with concrete blocks and spanning 1.2 metres on each side of the three-kilometre stretch of road, the sidewalks will allow for equal accessibility and social inclusion, including the use of wheelchairs and strollers to the beach.
The construction is not limited to sidewalks. Other spaces will also be built: one bus stop, five shading structures, three safeguard towers, 41 benches, vegetation and community urban agriculture pots, small recreational structures and a market area for street vendors. The path will also be equipped with solar panel street lighting and recycling waste bins.
The European Union-funded project is being implemented together with the Berbera Municipality to support the development of the beachfront with a particular focus on inclusion and livelihood creation.
Mine awareness | UNMAS marks International Day for Mine Awareness
UNMAS commemorated the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, observed on 4 April, with a series of activities in Mogadishu.
The activities included an event with the Somali Explosive Management Authority, two sports tournaments, and the diffusion of locally-produced radio broadcasts on the commitment of national actors who join forces to make Somalia safer.
Under the theme ‘Safe Ground, Safe Steps, Safe Home,’ the Day was an occasion to highlight the impact that the scourge of mines has on Somalis, reaffirm support for freeing Somalia from explosive hazards, and also acknowledge the remarkable achievements of the mine action community.
Drought response | WFP directs food and nutrition aid to drought-affected families
WFP launched a plan to ensure that the most vulnerable people in Somalia, and those hardest hit by the worsening drought, are prioritized for vital food and nutrition assistance – even as the gap between escalating hunger and diminishing resources continues to widen.
With six million people in Somalia now facing critical food insecurity as the risk of famine looms large, WFP is scaling up to reach three million with lifesaving food and nutrition support by June 2022. This response prioritizes the people most at risk, including many of the 500,000 driven from their homes by the drought since January, and those living in areas of the country hardest hit by the historic drought.
However, with a funding gap for its crisis response work, WFP is advocating urgently for more support to avert the risk of famine.
Elections | UN welcomes election of Somalia’s parliamentary leadership
Somalia’s international partners, including the United Nations, welcomed the successful completion of the elections for leadership positions in the country’s Upper House and the House of the People.
In a joint statement, the partners commended the newly-elected Speakers and Deputy Speakers as they assumed responsibilities in this critical moment for Somalia.
“After the protracted delays and obstacles in choosing the members of parliament, the election of the parliamentary leadership is a major achievement. We appreciate the efforts of all Somalis who contributed to completion of these parliamentary votes,” the partners added.
They also urged that the election of the President now be completed promptly, peacefully, and credibly, so that Somalia’s elected leaders can address national priorities.