Improving food security, livelihoods, WASH and Information Management in conflict-prone South Central Somalia
For the last 25 years, Somalia has been in a state of complex humanitarian crises characterized by food insecurity, displacement and conflict. In 2015, ACTED has responded to the increase of refugee returnees and internal displacements in South Central Somalia, reaching the most vulnerable populations, in urban and rural areas, targeting districts with the greatest humanitarian gaps, while improving information management especially during emergencies. Despite the highly volatile security situation, ACTED worked with local communities, local authorities, clusters, agencies and donors to ensure effective and efficient delivery of projects. Water, sanitation and hygiene, and livelihood projects were implemented to improve the living standards of host and displaced populations, while information management was reinforced through coordinated needs assessments, and support to clusters and humanitarian actors, which informed effective and efficient response activities.
Working in remote areas to improve water and sanitation facilities, and needs assessments
ACTED aimed at improving the living standards of displaced and host communities. With the rehabilitation of 59 water and sanitation assets, water and sanitation conditions have generally improved in South Central Somalia. Cash for Work programmes were tailored to include trainings not only on asset management, but also on nutrition, encouraging beneficiaries to spend the cash earned responsibly and in observance of proper diet. REACH has played a critical role in collecting data from remote, difficult to access areas, informing relevant clusters of the gaps that exist in response. REACH also conducted trainings to the clusters and various agencies staff on well-informed needs analysis.
Livelihood assets rehabilitation in the face of climate change
Somalia has been adversely affected by effects of climate change, such as drought, and consequently famine. These effects have led to the deterioration of livelihood assets, rendering communities vulnerable. Consequently, there has been rampant migration in search of pastures and other forms of livelihoods. Given that most of the rural populations are pastoralists and agro-pastoralists, the need for livelihood asset rehabilitation remained high. ACTED, in collaboration with the community, rehabilitated main assets such as water pans, which are crucial for both people and their livestock. Restoration of 49 water sources was commended by the community and the local authorities as well. The cash for work activities also put into consideration the working hours of beneficiaries with a degree of flexibility to allow them to engage in other livelihood activities.
ACTED’s value-addition in South Central Somalia
ACTED works in the most difficult to access areas of Somalia, where the needs are the greatest and humanitarian actors are very few. To effectively deliver programmes in such a complex environment while managing security risks, ACTED engages the services of local organisations – empowering these to grow as well, and works closely with local communities and authorities. As a result, ACTED has gained crucial official and community support and stands out as an organisation with strict focus on alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable. In response to the repatriation of refugees from Yemen, forced evictions within the country and sporadic rainfall experienced, ACTED has met the basic needs of over 53,000 individuals in 2015.
A move from short-term to long-term programming
After several years of short-term programming, ACTED is now looking into initiating long-term resilience programmes in Somalia. The security challenges still exist, coupled with repatriation of refugees from Yemen and Kenya. These factors have made it necessary to introduce more innovative projects to address the dire needs that exist. Having assessed the needs in areas of intervention and having identified reliable alliances, ACTED is confident that a move to resilience-based programming will not only provide a ripe environment for refugees to stay, but also provide a favourable economic environment from which the whole population will benefit.
Water, sanitation and food security programmes complemented by a contingency fund
With a focus on water, sanitation and food security, ACTED has successfully reached 53,460 people in both rural areas and urban centres. Following the nutrition and livelihood-oriented sensitization sessions, a direct correlation was established between the amount of cash distributed for cash for work activities and a significant increase on food expenditures. Food security was therefore boosted in the most remote areas, with endline reports recording a reduction in severe coping strategies by 21%. ACTED projects have influenced the choices made by beneficiaries especially on food expenditure. Some projects have recorded an increase of up to 231% of amount spent on food by households. Rehabilitation of core water and sanitation assets has been crucial in protecting people’s dignity.
Enhancing resilience in Somalia
ACTED’s programming in 2015 aimed to provide sustainable interventions, with a focus on resilience building alongside the provision of emergency support. Through conditional cash transfers ACTED facilitated livelihood opportunities for vulnerable populations, whilst simultaneously improving community infrastructure. Furthermore, ACTED employed predictable unconditional cash transfers to beneficiaries as a part of a comprehensive Safety Net Programme, in order to improve community level resilience. ACTED also continued to partner with REACH to offer information management and humanitarian coordination support to relevant actors, as well as building the capacity of the clusters.
Partners in 2015
European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)