The Sustainable Development Goals in Somalia
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Somalia:
21 February 2021
Upholding the dignity of vulnerable women and girls during humanitarian crises
At a very tender age of four, Fardowsa Ahmed from Galkacyo was infected by polio, a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. She was never taken to the hospital for treatment as her mother did not realize the seriousness of the problem. Fardowsa lost the use of both her hands and legs. "I was being discriminated against even by fellow children. They did not want to include me in any activities," said Fardowsa. Due to the discrimination, her mother did not send her to school. She also had problems moving around. "My family is very poor, and my mother only managed to get me a wheelchair at the age of 13," Fardowsa said. Fardowsa's mother, Kalsoon, is a single parent with two children; the youngest is only four years old. Kalsoon depended on agricultural activities to earn a living. The family was affected by drought, and they couldn't cope with the scarcity of water, depletion of pasture and livestock. Kalsoon ended up moving her family into a settlement for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The current humanitarian situation has not helped matters; Somalia continues to face complex and protracted humanitarian crises due to the coronavirus pandemic, climate-related shocks namely floods, drought, cyclone, desert locusts, conflict and the protracted situation affecting internally displaced persons (IDPs). Now at the age of 14, Fardowsa's personal needs have increased. She's reached puberty and requires menstrual hygiene products. Loss of livelihoods and food insecurity, especially among female-headed households and other vulnerable women and adolescent girls, have worsened food aid dependency and humanitarian assistance. UNFPA Somalia continues to provide access to life-saving integrated Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH), and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) services, including the provision of COVID-19 adapted dignity kits. As part of the response to women and girls' specific needs, UNFPA Somalia and its partner Somali Birth Attendants Cooperative Organisation (SBACO) has distributed 300 dignity kits to marginalized women and girls in the surrounding areas of Galkacyo. Fardowsa and Kalsoon have benefited from the intervention. "Beneficiary checklists were cross-checked to avoid the same person, or same household receiving multiple kits in line with a strict information sharing protocols for the protection of sensitive data," said SBACO Program coordinator Hinda Abdi Muse. Kalsoon is thankful to SBACO and UNFPA Somalia. "All the dignity kits that UNFPA distributed through SBACO suit our needs. We received sanitary pads, soap for washing, underwear, antibacterial surface cleaning solution for hands and hand sanitiser," said Kalsoon, adding: "I used to spend $3 just to soap. We used to collect dirty and unwanted clothes from the neighbours to use as sanitary pads." Women and girls with disabilities face significantly more difficulties and double discrimination, which places them at higher risk of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation. Emergencies disrupt daily life and often cause the displacement of populations, with the loss of many of their possessions. During these emergencies, women and girls face several needs, threats and situations which must be considered in any response. "COVID-19 in Somalia has really exposed the protection needs of vulnerable women and girls. Those in the camps for internally displaced persons and hard to reach areas are most affected. UNFPA Somalia and its partners prioritize to address the needs of vulnerable women and girls, including persons with disabilities, displaced people and GBV survivors. Services provided include psycho-social support, case management, clinical management of rape, dignity kits and referrals," said Ridwan Abdi, UNFPA Humanitarian Specialist. He said preserving dignity is essential to maintaining self-esteem and confidence, critical to coping in stressful and potentially overwhelming humanitarian situations. Women and girls need essential items to interact comfortably and safely in public. "They also need access to personal hygiene, particularly menstrual hygiene. Without access to culturally appropriate clothing and hygiene items, the mobility of women and girls is restricted. Their health and safety can also be compromised. As a result, they might be unable to seek basic services, including humanitarian aid," said Abdi. Link to the original story.
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01 February 2021
On visit to Baidoa, Humanitarian Coordinator highlights needs for ‘Long-term Durable Solutions’ for Internally Displaced Persons
Baidoa – With her ten children, Fatuma Isaq Mohamed’s life is a daily struggle. “This is not our land and we don’t know how long we will be here,” she says, while sitting outside a makeshift house of orange plastic and sticks, flanked by some of her children, at the Haatafo camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Baidoa, the interim capital of Somalia’s South West State. “Our problems and needs in this camp are many,” the 45-year-old adds. “We desperately need food and water. To survive, I occasionally do manual jobs around the camp to give me an income. However, it is irregular and not sufficient for our upkeep.” Like many others in the Haatafo camp, Fatuma fled from fighting and violence in Diinsoor, her hometown, located in South West State’s Bay region some four years ago. Since then, she and her children have lived a life of uncertainty, without basic protections. Conflict and violence have prompted many to flee to camps like Haatafo. But such camps are also the residence of thousands of other people who have been displaced by drought and floods which have deprived them of both their home and their livelihoods. Since 2000, Somalia has had 19 severe floods and 17 bouts of drought – three times more the number of climate-related hazards experienced between 1970 and 1990. In 2017, a severe drought left Somalia on the verge of famine. In 2019, a delayed and erratic Gu’ rainy season resulted in the poorest harvest since the 2011 famine and flooding. These factors have meant that Somalia has one of the highest numbers of IDPs in the world. In 2019, the country had 2.6 million, with most of them requiring humanitarian assistance. In South West State alone, there are some 350 camps for the internally displaced, making it one of the worst-affected of the country’s Federal Member States when it comes to displacement. Finding solutions The UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, was recently in Haatafo camp to meet with some of its residents and hear directly from them about their situation. The challenges he heard about were wide-ranging – poor housing, lack of food and water, shortage of medicines, limited education and job opportunities and, for many families, instability. In his interactions, Mr. Abdelmoula, who also serves as the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, assured the IDPs of the UN’s commitment to help improve their lives. The United Nations family is teaming up with the Federal Government of Somalia to implement a new three-year project which exclusively targets IDPs. Titled Saameynta, or ‘impact,’ the joint project seeks to scale up durable solutions to displaced persons in Baidoa, as well as Bosasso in Puntland and Belet Weyne in Hirshabelle. “The idea is that this project will target 100,000 internally displaced people to be settled properly and provided with social services and job opportunities,” Mr. Abdelmoula told a group of IDP community leaders during his visit. In their exchange with the UN official, the community leaders echoed the concerns of the residents the UN official had met with – the lack of health facilities, insufficient food and limited education options – as the main challenges for IDPs in Baidoa. Women community leaders also identified the absence of obstetric services and insecurity within the camps as their biggest issues. Humanitarian situation Mr. Abdelmoula and his delegation later met with the South West State’s Speaker of Parliament, Ali Said Fiqi, and some government cabinet members, and discussed the overall humanitarian situation, as well as security and development issues. “We discussed IDPs living in Baidoa and how their lives could be improved. We had a very fruitful meeting in which we agreed on how best to address the humanitarian situation in the South West State of Somalia,” Mr. Fiqi, who was also acting President of South West State at the time, said at a press conference after the meeting. At the press conference, the UN deputy envoy said it was important to see and hear first-hand from South West State’s IDPs and the local authorities leading efforts to help them in order to discuss the rollout of Saameynta. “This was a unique privilege to visit Baidoa and to also visit the internally displaced communities around the city and to have an exchange with the Speaker about how we could work together to find durable solutions to some of the chronic humanitarian challenges that the South West State is facing,” Mr. Abdelmoula said. In addition to hailing the efforts of the South West State authorities to address the perennial challenges facing displaced people, he emphasized the importance of breaking away from a dependency on temporary fixes and looking to the entire humanitarian-development-peace nexus to find longer-term solutions. The nexus refers to the approach that humanitarian relief, development programmes and peacebuilding are not serial processes – rather, that they are all needed at the same time when aid is planned and financed. In their discussions, Mr. Fiqi and Mr. Abdelmoula also covered the humanitarian situation in Hudur, a town north of Baidoa, which is facing an acute shortage of food, humanitarian supplies and commercial goods as a result of an economic blockade imposed by Al-Shabaab. The terrorist group has cut off the main supply route to the town and is denying passage of any goods. The UN deputy envoy said the international humanitarian community would do whatever was possible to assist with humanitarian aid to Hudur, as well as consider longer-term options. The Saameynta project is expected to be launched in early 2021.
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