Horn of Africa Acted

Improving living conditions in camps for displaced families in Somaliland

In Somaliland, recurrent droughts have forced pastoralist communities to leave their land and move to congested internally displaced persons (IDP) sites, which are often overcrowded and poorly maintained.

ACTED conducted site maintenance and improvement works, and established camp governance structures in all the targeted sites. This project was carried out in partnership with Somali Humanitarian Fund. ACTED provided support to 31 IDP sites in Togdheer Region in Somaliland for period of one year April 2020 and April 2021.

Drought, conflict, and floods

In recent years, many parts of Somaliland have experienced a “perfect storm,” whereby the combined effects of drought, clan conflict, and locust infestation have forced countless families to leave their homes in search of relief from unbearable conditions. ACTED became aware of the substandard nature of both shelter and sanitation situations in IDP camps as well as a lack of a defined place to hold meetings to better organize camp management.

Improving camp management with community meeting centers

After consulting with local community leaders to discuss their needs, ACTED constructed and furnished two community centers. This has provided both communities with a private space to hold community meetings, as well as to engage with humanitarian actors regarding ongoing activities. The community centers also provide a location for the communities to host visitors, such as local officials, and to discuss plans for further improving living conditions in the community.

Farah Abdi is a 35-year-old father of seven, who lives in Adan Saleban IDP site in Togdheer Region of Somaliland. Farah fled from the rural areas in Togdheer region due to the 2016 and 2017 drought that killed his livestock. He now serves as the chairman of his IDP site’s Camp Management Committee. The site hosts more than 400 households yet had no place for the community to meet.

Farah talked about the change it brought to the community. “The entire time we have lived in this IDP camp, we have not had a community center.  We tried to contribute money to construct shaded place so it can be our meeting hall but we were unable to do so due to lack of funds. We now have a community center where we can hold important meetings and receive guests and other humanitarian actors. I believe this center will greatly help the sharing of information within the community.”

ACTED established Site Maintenance Committees composed of community members who had received training to identify risks in the camp.  Site Maintenance Committees conducted site maintenance activities with tool kits provided by ACTED and were paid through cash-for-work activities. Participants rehabilitated shelters for the most vulnerable households, and constructed latrines to improve sanitation in IDP sites. This temporary employment through improved the situation in the sites and enabled participants to purchase essential basic supplies.

ACTED improved living conditions of displaced persons, 92,128 people in total.