MOGADISHU — Somalis face death, displacement, and destruction of their homeland due to an ongoing civil war that’s occurred since the collapse of its central government in 1991. To combat the years of political and social turmoil, these five development projects in Somalia are stabilizing the country and bringing prosperity and security.
1. Food Security
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States leads the effort in defeating hunger by easing poverty and strengthening food security in Somalia. Currently, seven projects focus on the distribution of agricultural tools – seeds, farming equipment and fertilizers. Agriculture is a crucial economic source in Somalia, and in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, hunger, and malnutrition, food security is scarce and essential.
Somalia underwent a slow recovery from food insecurity and famine in 2011, but it is now under threat again due to climate change and lack of resources. The World Food Program (WFP) estimates that 3 million people do not meet their daily food requirement. WFP has worked with Somalis in understanding basic food needs via successful programs that include disaster planning and relief. WFP reached and assisted over 1.8 million people using cash-based transfers and food rations.
To further combat malnutrition and hunger, WFP distributes nutrient-rich food for children under three. Patients with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis receive monthly food baskets. Schools receive nutritious meals to appease hunger and encourage attendance. This is one of the crucial development projects in Somalia. With the success of the various methods and programs, Somalia slowly recovers from food insecurity.
With the rise of technology, Somalia hopes to catch up with the world as they face minimal internet access and instability. In an article by Africa News, a group of young men founded iRise Hub, a community-based tech hub. It’s the first of its kind, and this development project hopes to connect Somali entrepreneurs, innovators and developers together and show the world Somalia’s full potential as a tech region.
The vision is to encourage younger generations, the future leaders, to invest in their future. Tech culture is an essential platform for Somalia’s youth – younger generations using technology to their advantage opens the door to new economic prosperity and social development. Abdihakim Ainte, co-founder of iRise, states, “technology can bring a solution to the country’s multifaceted challenges.” The U.N. recognizes youth as a force in promoting development projects for the country and solving global problems.
Somali Youth Learners Initiative (SYLI) is a development project that aims to expand access to secondary education opportunities. With a partnership between the Federal Government of Somalia and Ministry of Education, SYLI supports teachers with training for a thriving classroom, and youth gains access to economic opportunities that teach them the importance of contributing to their communities.
According to the USAID, the youth make up the majority of the population, yet this group lacks basic education and employment opportunities. To combat the 42 percent of students in school, SYLI wants to meet the demand for education and provide a safe environment for children to learn. Some of the plans implemented for Somalia include the promotion of literacy, numeracy, entrepreneurship as a tool for economic prosperity, leadership and conflict resolution training.
Successes of SYLI have provided schools with 200,000 textbooks along with learning materials. Somalis have been successful in training to become qualified teachers. Around 41,000 youth have been trained in civic activities to promote and foster a culture of tolerance and community.
4. Human Rights — Women
Development projects in Somalia regarding human rights focuses on accountability from government and increasing citizen participation in political action. The Federal Government of Somalia is making progress in establishing and strengthening laws and institutions that help women, children and marginalized groups facing human rights violations. Critical progress includes reserving 30 percent of seats for women in politics and the creation of the Sexual Offences Bill.
The Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development (MWHRD) addresses the human rights challenges dealt by Ugandan women. MWHRD was established to address, establish and coordinate appropriate legislation and development programs aimed at women empowerment and general human rights protection. The establishment of the National Development occurred as a means to monitor human rights and effectively coordinate plans to protect groups from abuse. MWHRD works towards strengthening the role of women in leadership and political decision making, as having the government recognize women as a voice and advocate for human rights ensures no group is left out of critical legislation.
5. Disaster Readiness
Disaster readiness is one of the other crucial development projects in Somalia. The Federal Government of Somalia launched the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) that analyzes the impact of droughts in the country. This will then be followed up with the Recovery and Resilience Framework (REF) that provides a long-term investment plan to reduce the risk of disaster. Prolonged droughts in Somalia have displaced large amounts of people, and acts as one of the major obstacles preventing success for long-term development projects.
The PDNA and REF allow government and Somalis to identify causes of drought and create long-term plans to prevent further crises. Developing a plan that targets this problem and creates a solution will reduce displacement and death. The Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GDFRR) assists with disaster risk management by focusing on climate change and weather disasters. GDFRR, assisting Somalia since 2008, works to ensure disaster preparedness, adaption strategies and community resilience in case disaster of any kind happens without warning. With several organizations developing projects to protect Somalis, countless lives will be saved and the nation will be ready for action.
With proper planning for these development projects in Somalia, the country will hopefully progress out of poverty and prolonged crisis.
– Jennifer Serrato