Somalia: Investing in the future

30 years of political instability, non-functional institutions, deficient infrastructure, natural disasters and climate change typify today's Somalia. Together they mean that the majority of the inhabitants of the autonomous region of Puntland live in a state of permanent poverty. The German Red Cross is therefore supporting six particularly vulnerable communities in protecting themselves against the forces of nature and to be more resilient towards external influences.

According to UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), 82 % of the Somalian population lives in poverty Political instability, a lack of infrastructure and more frequent droughts, floods and storms have exacerbated the population's difficult situation in the last three decades. Amongst other things, access to clean drinking water is very limited across the country.

Water is a basic requirement of life, in the form of drinking or utility water, in farming and for livestock. In response the GRC is building and renovating large drinking water reservoirs (berkads) and wells in the communities. The already existing water committees ensure that they are maintained over the long term.

Vegetation in the communities is also poorly maintained even though it can reduce the extent of flooding, preventing damage and helping minimise erosion. In order to improve the vegetation, the German Red Cross is creating tree nurseries in the communities to help with reforestation and encourage tree planting at schools. Some of the seedlings are sold creating new sources of income for the communities. In this fashion, the German Red Cross is not only contributing to reforestation but is also helping improve the food situation in the communities.

Supporting employment

The subsistence for many people in Somalia depends upon one single source of income. This represents a high risk, since this source may not provide ample yield or fail completely. This is the reason why the GRC is supporting 80 young men and women in their vocational training to create new sources of income. They are being trained for example in the joinery, electrical installation, bricklaying and dressmaking trades. When they start their own businesses they are also given the necessary equipment.

In addition, 100 households are receiving financial support in order to start their own small businesses.200 farmers are being supported by the promotion of new farming techniques and cultivation methods. The German Red Cross also for example equips the farms with irrigation systems and provides them with training to produce their own seeds.

Support for volunteers and communities

A well organised national Red Cross/Red Crescent organisation can play a major role in ensuring that communities are better protected against natural disasters. The German Red Cross therefore promotes the local structures of the Somalian Red Crescent Society (SRCS) in order to play a major role in project implementation. Using these structures the community and district levels of disaster management are to be improved in order to ensure speedy and appropriate relief in the case of an emergency. In order to ensure that all processes function in an actual disaster, simulation exercises are organised in the communities, during which communication structures and responsibilities are practised.

The project

Region: Six communities in the districts of Bari and Nugaal in Puntland, Somalia
Duration: November 2014 -December 2016
Project volume: 600 000 Euro
Finance: Donations and British Red Cross
Partners: SomalianRed Crescent Society (SRCS) Conserving natural resources

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