In addition to its major drought response projects already underway in Kenya and Ethiopia, CRWRC has received approval from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank for a new project in Somalia which will provide urgently needed assistance to 10,800 drought-affected people for an initial two and a half months. This project will be carried out in partnership with World Concern, and will expand CRWRC’s reach to include a total of nearly 20,000 drought-affected families – or 145,000 people – in the East Africa region.
The drought in Somalia, and famine conditions in certain areas of the country, has caused the migration of millions of people. One quarter of Somalia’s 7.5 million people are displaced. Over 3.7 million Somalis are in need of humanitarian assistance. Hundreds of thousands have fled to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia in a desperate search for food, water and security.
The Somalia project will be implemented by World Concern, a partner of CRWRC in the Global Relief Alliance. Through World Concern, CRWRC will be able to alleviate hunger and malnutrition for 10,800 drought-affected people. Food will be made available to the beneficiaries through a food voucher system that will utilise supplies available from selected local merchants. Using food vouchers in the local market helps to build the local economy, and is much safer than distributing actual food commodities in such insecure areas.
The beneficiaries of this project will be drought-affected pastoralist households who are malnourished, and will include internally displaced people and their host families. Priority will be given to the highly vulnerable, such as people living with HIV/AIDS, female -headed households, child-headed households, orphans, the elderly, chronically ill and the disabled.
The location of the project is along the main transit corridor to Dadaab, the primary point of entry for Somali refugees fleeing to Kenya. Many of the displaced people have walked for more than a week, and are completely exhausted and in serious physical condition. Many of them prefer not to leave Somalia, but most relief agencies wait until they cross into Kenya before they offer support – forcing them to leave their country and essentially lose their rights as citizens.
Once they cross into Kenya and enter refugee camps their movements and activities are strictly controlled. This eliminates opportunities for them to restart their livelihood activities when the situation improves. By reaching the internally displaced people within Somalia and providing them with the support they need to survive there, the people retain their freedom of movement and will be much better able to start working to support themselves. These families are also more likely to return home when the rains start again. However, many of the families are being hosted by relatives, which puts a significant strain on their resources.
World Concern, the lead agency for this project, has been working in Somalia for almost 30 years. This project is part of a larger program being implemented by World Concern and other partners that is endeavouring to address wider needs such as water and sanitation, non-food items, and medical support. CRWRC has previously partnered with World Concern in several other challenging countries, amely Chad, Myanmar and Darfur, Sudan.
As with CRWRC’s other drought response programs in Kenya and Ethiopia, this Somalia program has been made possible through CRWRC’s membership in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. CRWRC is using some of its equity in CFGB, and has also received pledges of support from other CFGB members towards its response in Somalia. These funds are being matched 4:1 by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Individuals and churches in North America have been giving generously.
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