Somalia

For a Future without Hunger

After the famine of 2011, Somalia is once again threatened by catastrophe. Nearly three million people are suffering from hunger. Malnutrition is rising, especially with children. An estimated 363,000 children below five years of age are severely malnourished; 71,000 of them so severely that they are in danger of falling ill or dying. Najla was abandoned on the roadside by her biological mother when she was three days old. She was rescued by a well-wisher who took her in and gave her a home for four months. The family was struggling to take care of Najla as they didn’t have any stable source of income. That is when she was identified by SOS Children’s Village Mogadishu as a child in need. “Baby Najla was very small when she came in. I remember how I quickly had to learn to handle my new small baby,” says Najla’s SOS mother Hajiyo.

 

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How SOS Children’s Villages is Helping the Forgotten People in Somalia

SOS Children’s Villages has been working in Somalia since 1985. It was one of the few organizations not to leave the country during the many years of civil war, but instead stood by the people even under the most difficult of circumstances. SOS Somalia is currently on site in Mogadishu and Baidoa. SOS Children’s Villages is also active in the autonomous and much more stable region of Somaliland, which lies to the northwest of the country and declared its independence in 1991. Today, Somalia has one SOS Children’s Village, a youth program, a kindergarten, a primary and secondary school, a nursing college, a medical center, a clinic and a community-based family support program. The SOS Children’s Village in Mogadishu was the central hub for SOS emergency relief during the famines in 1991 and 2011. The new SOS program to strengthen families in Baidoa supports 200 families and 150 youth in establishing self-help structures.

How the UN World Food Programme is Helping the Forgotten People in Somalia

When the UN World Food Programme (WFP) first took up work in Somalia in 1967, it offered school lunch programs and fostered sustainable agriculture. In the past years, Somalia has been the setting of persistent violence, political instability and economic and climatic shocks. Far too often, the consequences have been hunger and malnutrition. In 2011, the country last managed to recover from a famine that had claimed over 250,000 lives. But the situation is currently escalating again: Due to the drought at the Horn of Africa, nearly 3 million Somalis are currently suffering severe hunger and urgently require humanitarian aid. Another 3.3 million people require assistance to prevent the famine from spreading to them as well.

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  • Najla from Somalia was abandoned on the roadside by her biological mother when she was three days old.

    Photo: On Screen Productions / Kevin Ouma

  • People’s lives here are marked by a lack of food, drinkable water, and medical care.

    Photo: SOS/Katharina Ebel

  • Dire poverty marks the everyday lives of many families and their children.

    PHoto: SOS/Katharina Ebel

  • Microcredits offered by the SOS Family Strengthening Program enable poor families to set up tiny businesses.

    Photo: Katharina Ebel

  • Standing in line to see the doctor: Women and their babies are waiting for medical treatment in front of the gates of the SOS Mother and Child Clinic in Mogadishu.

    Photo: On Screen Productions / Kevin Ouma

  • In an incubator at the SOS Mother and Child Clinic, premature babies can gather their strength.

    Photo: On Screen Productions / Kevin Ouma

  • Women in Somalia are in urgent need of medical care for themselves and their babies. They are provided this at the SOS clinic in Mogadishu.

    Photo: On Screen Productions / Kevin Ouma

  • A woman has arrived at the SOS Mother and Child Clinic in Mogadishu with great concern for her son.

    Photo: On Screen Productions/Kevin Ouma

  • Does this baby weigh enough or does it need more nutrition? One of the SOS employees at the Mother and Child Clinic in Mogadishu is examining just that.

    Photo: On Screen Productions/Kevin Ouma

  • In the SOS Mother and Child Clinic in Mogadishu, mothers and their babies receive care before and after birth.

    Photo: On Screen Productions/Kevin Ouma

  • Newborns receive care at the SOS Mother and Child Clinic in Mogadishu. Just after coming into the world in Somalia, newborn babies such as this one receive their very first check-up in the medical center of SOS Children’s Villages in Mogadishu.

    Photo: On Screen Productions / Kevin Ouma

  • Photo: On Screen Productions / Kevin Ouma

  • A mother and her child visiting a nursing station of SOS Children’s Villages in Somalia.

    Photo: On Screen Productions / Kevin Ouma

  • Reconstruction in Baidoa: Families can create livelihoods for themselves with small businesses.

    Photo: Katharina Ebel

  • In Baidoa, 150 SOS youth are receiving vocational training in order to independently secure their future.

    Photo: Athman Wangara

  • Each year, 80 nurses and midwives are trained according to national standards at the SOS Mother and Child Clinic.

    Photo: On Screen Productions/Kevin Ouma

Background of the Forgotten Humanitarian Crisis in Somalia

The humanitarian crisis in Somalia cannot be traced back to just one root cause. Since the dictator Siad Barre was toppled in 1991, the country at the Horn of Africa has become the site of the longest lasting civil war in the world and the embodiment of a “failed state”. For years, none of the armed parties could gain the upper hand while nearly all state structures, especially in the health and education sector, were destroyed. In the meantime, an internationally recognized government has been put into place, but the consequences of the war and continuous terrorism by the Islamic Al-Shabaab militia (millions of refugees, poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, and high child mortality rates) have been contributing to the lasting instability in the country.

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