A round-up of activities of the UN system in Somalia in September 2021

30 Sep 2021

A round-up of activities of the UN system in Somalia in September 2021


Markets | UNIDO supports efforts to boost horticulture sector 

With support from UNIDO, four Somali companies from Mogadishu, Kismayo, Beletweyne and Baidoa, took part in MACFRUT 2021, the leading Italian fruit and vegetable sector exhibition.

The three-day exhibition included a Somali virtual booth containing a video message from Somali companies showcasing their fruits, vegetables and sesame business to visitors and organizers. 

The Somali booth was part of a project funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and implemented by UNIDO – known as ‘Agro-technology development for economic growth in South and Central Somalia’ – which intends to support Somali producers in their access to international markets. 

The project has led to Somali companies receiving requests for tropical fruits and vegetables from India and the United Arab Emirates. 



Police | UNODC strengthens criminal investigation capacity 

UNODC Criminal Investigation Programme (CIP) for Somalia is supporting the Somali Police Force’s Criminal Investigation Division and Criminal Investigation Units with the strengthening of their investigation capacity through the UNODC Criminal Investigation Program (CIP) for Somalia.

Recent programme activities include the graduation of 16 police officers – eight from Mogadishu and eight from South West State – from the Investigator Development Course 1.

The course is a 10-day training programme and part of the Investigator Development Pathway, which has been developed by UNODC for criminal investigators working in the country’s Federal Government and Federal Member State authorities, with the aim of reinforcing the concepts of effective criminal investigation.

The CIP is funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.



Literacy | UNESCO celebrates International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day 2021 was celebrated in Mogadishu on 8 September with a live and virtual event attended by Somalia’s education authorities and a range of guests, including UNESCO officials.

In his remarks at the event, the Minister of Education, Culture and Higher Education, Abdullahi Abukar Hajji, highlighted the importance of literacy and the efforts his government is taking to improve the literacy situation in the country. 

Addressing the gathering, UNESCO’s Regional Director and Representative to Somalia, Professor Hubert Gijzen, said, “Education is the backbone for any country’s development and literacy is the basis on which all the other levels of education are built.” 



Economy | UN-Habitat study helps Baidoa’s economic development

Policymakers, investors and partners in Baidoa, the interim capital of Somalia’s South West State, can now benefit from a UN-Habitat study that has identified the construction industry as the most suitable sector for value chain development that can lead to the region’s economic development.

The value chain analysis of the infrastructure sector in Baidoa, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), will better position the 320,000-strong city as an emerging urban centre that can attract more investment for critical infrastructure, construction and value chain projects.

Baidoa has a large population of internally displaced people and suffers from inflation, instability, a new system of government and lack of essential services. The UN-Habitat analysis will inform the skills development training manual meant to equip vulnerable beneficiaries with marketing skills to enable them to manage meaningful livelihoods.



Peace and Poetry | UNDP launches annual Somali Poetry Awards

Part of UNDP’s Home of Somali Poetry initiative, the Somali Poetry Awards, opened for entries in three categories: Poet of the Year, Woman Poet of the Year and Youth Poet of the Year.

Anyone writing in Somali can enter until 21 October through the Home of Somali Poetry website – https://www.hoygamaansada.com/ – and winners will be announced at a ceremony in November.



Humanitarian | OCHA supports access to hard-to-reach communities

OCHA coordinated missions to hard-to-reach areas around Somalia to assess their humanitarian needs, with use of the UN Humanitarian Air Service’s (UNHAS) ‘caravan’ aircraft to reinvigorate and support access to communities in need. 

Following advocacy by OCHA, the Humanitarian Country Team directed that the humanitarian community be given access to the caravan to conduct joint assessment and monitoring missions. 

Since 12 June, 16 missions have been conducted involving both humanitarian and development partners, international non-governmental organizations and government authorities.



Maritime | WFP helps complete new fishing jetty in Hobyo

Working closely with federal, state and local governments and with support from Italy, WFP has completed the construction of a new fishing jetty in Hobyo in the Federal Member State of Galmudug. 

The jetty, owned and operated by Galmudug under the auspices of the Federal Government, will boost the local fishing industry by providing easier access and docking points for fishing vessels. 

At the national level, it will also strengthen Somalia’s export market, expanding the opportunities for local producers, and provide an entry point for food imports to improve the availability of nutritious food in the country. 

These linkages between maritime infrastructure and food systems are a priority for WFP in its work with all levels of government in Somalia. 

The jetty is the latest in a series of substantial investments in renewing and rehabilitating port facilities all along the coastline of Somalia, made possible by the ongoing support of WFP donor partners.



Health | UNICEF joins Somalia’s call for mothers and newborns safety

On World Patient Safety Day, Somalia’s Federal Ministry of Health – in partnership with UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO – urged health facilities, healthcare workers and other stakeholders to redouble efforts to ensure Somali mothers and newborns remain safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With a rate of 692 maternal deaths per 100,000, the maternal mortality rate in Somalia is among the highest in the world. Limited access to quality, equitable healthcare and life-saving supplies contributes to the preventable or treatable maternal deaths as well as to the deaths of newborns across the country. 

The UN joined the call and emphasized the importance of having a well-trained doctor, nurse or midwife present during pregnancy, birth and beyond, to give every Somali child a chance to survive and thrive from the very beginning.



Livelihoods | IOM supports skills training for vulnerable youth

More than a hundred students residing in sites for internally displaced people (IDPs) and impoverished areas in the cities of Kismayo and Baidoa finalized a four-month education project that aimed to enhance their technical skills in fields related to access to water, sanitation and hygiene, including plumbing and solar electricity. 

Additionally, based on the youth’s needs and interests, they also attended tailored training on sewing and embroidery. 

IOM notes that the programme represented a life-changing opportunity for most of the students as they did not have prospects for a better future. Some of them have already engaged in gainful jobs where they are applying the new skills.



Fistula | UNFPA supports obstetric fistula camp

UNFPA is supporting an obstetric fistula camp at Borama Fistula Hospital in Somaliland in a bid to restore women's dignity. 

Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic childbirth injuries. In many countries, women with fistula are stigmatized. “It leaves women leaking urine, faeces or both, and often leads to chronic medical problems, depression, social isolation and deepening poverty,” says UNFPA Representative Anders Thomsen.

Some 35 women have so far registered for the month-long camp which was launched on 22 September.

UNFPA supports the Somali health sector, including public and private entities and non-governmental organizations, to run three main fistula centres in Somaliland, Mogadishu and Puntland, to end obstetric fistula in Somalia by 2030.



Resilience | FAO helps stabilize livestock production in Somaliland

With a focus on livestock, FAO is working to increase the resilience of livelihoods in Somaliland to threats and crises through a unique scheme – a first in eastern Africa – specifically designed to foster peace and food security at scale through a multi-year livelihood and resilience-based approach.

Much of Somaliland’s economic growth is attributable to livestock production and trade and export. Livestock continues to be the most important source of foreign income in Somaliland, with international exports to nearby countries. However, due to climate change, recurrent drought, poor natural resource management, a drop in exports as a result of COVID-19 and inadequate fodder production, livestock owners face increasing challenges to feed their animals.

“This project promotes sustainable management of the natural resource base and strengthens a person’s ability to meet their own food needs in the medium and long term,” said FAO Representative Etienne Peterschmitt. “Production of fodder is an integral part of improved land use management that can stabilize livestock production and reduce livestock loss to increase food security.” 

The scheme is the Food and Nutrition Security Resilience Programme Building (FNS-REPRO) food system resilience in protracted crises. It is funded by the Government of the Netherlands, and spans across Somaliland to Sudan and South Sudan over a period of two years.



Protection | UNHCR steps up campaign on dangers of ‘tahriib’

UNHCR stepped up its awareness raising campaign on the dangers of irregular movements, known in Somalia as ‘tahriib’ – the perilous sea crossings that young Somalis often take to pursue better lives.  

More than 5,500 people were reached in schools and community centres across Somalia. 

The campaign, dubbed “Telling the Real Story,” is part of UNHCR’s interactive community-based initiative that seeks to inform communities – mainly young people – about the dangers posed by the irregular movements. Thousands of people die every year while many more suffer violent human rights abuses while attempting irregular journeys to Europe.



Political | UN Deputy Secretary-General encourages women’s political participation
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed visited Somalia to express her solidarity with Somali women’s calls for full and equal participation in political life, and to express the support of the international community for timely, inclusive, peaceful and credible elections.

While in Mogadishu, she met with President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmaajo,’ Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and the National Consultative Council (NCC), whose membership includes the leaders of the country’s Federal Member States and which is charged with providing overall direction for the elections.

Ms. Mohammed also met with Somali elders, women leaders, electoral management bodies, goodwill ambassadors, champions and civil society leaders and expressed her solidarity with their efforts to bring about greater women’s involvement in the country’s political and economic spheres.

The UN and Somalia’s other international partners are heavily engaged in supporting national efforts to advance the country’s elections.