Somalia: Promoting access to safe drinking water in Kismayo

Somalia is one of the most climate-affected countries in the Horn of Africa. Somalia is the most drought-affected country in the Horn of Africa. The situation is alarming. Isolated areas of Somalia, especially villages and settlements in central and southern regions are the most affected. In a hope that the situation is better in bigger centers and towns, populations, including elderly, women and children, take on the long and excruciating journey there to search for any help.

3.5 million people are in acute need of water assistance across the country, including 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Kismayo is one of the most severely affected city by the ongoing drought, which deprives the communities of the access to water needed for drinking, sanitation and hygiene. After years of humanitarian assistance, the lack of sustainable initiatives prevents Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) gains to constantly remain tangible in the long run.

The construction of a shallow well in Bulogudud, Somalia

Supported by USAID, ACTED worked with its local partner SADO to provide access to safe, sufficient and accessible water in Kismayo. In Bulogudud, a village of 7,000 inhabitants in the outskirts of Kismayo, ACTED built a solar-powered shallow well to ensure safe access to drinkable water to the most vulnerable communities. There, Mohamed and four other members of the village leadership have been trained by ACTED and SADO to form a Water Management Committee, responsible for the day-to-day management and the maintenance of the well.

“The shallow well is very important to our lives. It provides water for both the community and our livestock, and we have easy access to water now. We used to send our children to the river to draw water which is very risky but now we have enough water. Water is very essential in our lives and it improved the hygiene of our village, so we really appreciate the work undertaken,” explained Mohamed.

The well is now managed by this committee, notably composed of a chairperson, a treasurer and a secretary. It is kept by three guards to ensure safety of the service users. Apart from the well, ACTED also built two water kiosks, an elevated water tank and pipeline extension.

Amina a 50-year-old mother of five: “I lost my son while he was fetching water to the river. It was a very traumatic experience for me but we still went to the same river because there was no other option. I feel very grateful that ACTED built a well for us that we can use on the daily basis. The water is accessible every time and we do not need to travel a long time to get water. People who live here used to get diseases caused by the water in the river but now we are enjoying clean water.”

ACTED’s work in Kismayo

Following four failed rainy seasons, more than a million people have been displaced by drought in Somalia since the start of last year, including 700,000 in the first half of 2022, the latest figures from the Drought Displacement Monitoring show.

In Kismayo, ACTED rehabilitated four shallow wells in an IDP camp and concluded the works at the beginning of 2022. Altogether, the wells provide access to water to a total of 4,100 individuals.

Somalia ACTED
ACTED staff measuring the water level of shallow well in Bulogudud

In parallel, ACTED also conducted hygiene promotion activities, including the distribution of hygiene kits to 2,100 households and the training of 30 community hygiene promoters, and completed the construction of 316 communal latrines. These activities aim at strengthening the resilience of communities against water-borne and other communicable disease outbreaks.

Thanks to the continuous support provided by USAID, ACTED intends on continuing to provide precious support to ensure water supply to vulnerable communities in southcentral Somalia. This coming year, ACTED intends on rehabilitating or constructing twelve shallow wells and four boreholes across Jubaland and South West State, thus providing water supply assistance to more than 23,000 households. In doing so, ACTED will continue relying on local ownership to ensure sustainability of assets, either through private sector engagement or community-led management, as is the case in Bulogudud.


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