NRC has been active in Somalia since 2004, providing protection and humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons.
Humanitarian and political context:
Updated October 2013
The complex dynamics of conflict and clan related insecurity in Somalia continues to drive displacement, disrupt livelihoods and create emergency needs. Drought as a result of poor rains, has also contributed to the displacements. The estimated number of internally displaced people in Somalia now stands at 1.1 million according to UNHCR August Report. UNOCHA September report indicates that 870,000 people still are unable to meet their basic food needs without assistance. Internally displaced people are among the most vulnerable.
The security situation in Somalia in general remains volatile and unpredictable with sporadic incidences of military attacks and armed conflicts being reported in various regions. In Mogadishu and South Central Somalia Al Shabaab operations are reported to be on the increase lately with possible attacks against high value targets being reported. Somali security forces supported by AMISOM peacekeepers were deployed around main roads and streets in Mogadishu following an attack on the UN compound in June. In the same period, military confrontations flared up in Kismayo as a result of political and clan tensions that had been simmering following the contested election of the president of Jubaland State on 15 May. Concerns are growing over the safety of the humanitarian workers operating in Mogadishu and in southern Somalia in general. Instances of insecurity were also reported in Bari region of Puntland where majority of communities continued their resistance to the transition to a multiparty system of government. The security situation in Puntland has heightened after the Puntland Minister of Security announced that the Al-shabaab is also planning an attack In Somaliland the security situation is stable for most parts of the State. However, Al-shabaab is reported to be planning an attack on several humanitarian agencies working in Burao Somaliland.
Humanitarian access remains challenging and logistics have emerged as a major bottleneck to humanitarian assistance for displaced populations in Mogadishu and South Central Somalia. A number of INGO’s including NRC had to evacuate their international staff members from Mogadishu leaving only the national staff to continue with project implementation though at a slower pace. The reported incidences in Puntland and Somaliland did not affect the implementation of NRC’s projects in these regions.
NRC priorities for 2013 and beyond
NRC’s immediate priority in Somalia remains the timely response to the needs of communities affected by displacement, due to insecurity and other causes, in order to save lives of affected populations. Prioritized activities focus on shelter and infrastructure construction; water, hygiene and sanitation; emergency education including youth education; protection; food security and livelihoods. Programmes target both emergency responses to acute crises as well as the capacity to address recurring protection needs of refugee or IDP populations through durable solutions. NRC will continue to work on emergency solutions for people who have recently been displaced, as well as provide durable solutions to those who have been displaced for many years (in particular in the IDP settlements of Puntland and Somaliland). NRC will continue to strengthen its emergency preparedness and response capacity, its Monitoring and Evaluation systems and continue to diversify its coverage in the region and its donor base. In this connection NRC is now engaged in humanitarian assistance to refugees in Djibouti. Where the situation allows, NRC in collaration with other actors, will be involved in the voluntary return and re-settlement of IDP and refugees. NRC will, therefore, be repositioning itself and making appropriate preparations to address the new challenges in the return process.
NRC core activities in Somalia
Food distribution: Somalia is still recovering from the massive loss of agricultural and pastoralist livelihoods affected by the 2011 famine. The most affected areas were in South Central Somalia and Puntland. There are currently about 1.05 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, and 107,000 people (5% of the population) are classified as being in food security ‘crisis’ or ‘emergency’ phase. NRC’s main response to the famine and food insecurity has been the implementation of a large-scale voucher-based food distribution programme in Puntland and South Central Somalia. Selected beneficiaries are provided with coupons to be exchanged for a predetermined food basket distributed by local suppliers. Despite the efforts made, the food security situation has not improved much over time. WFP trend analysis shows that recurrent serious shocks occurred between 2007 and 2012 and there has been insufficient recovery time between shocks. Situational analysis shows that displaced people living in settlements will remain food insecure and continued humanitarian assistance is needed to meet the food and nutritional need of these and other vulnerable groups. NRC will continue supporting people who are in need of food support but will focus more on livelihood support and skills training in order to increase resilience of the displaced population and vulnerable host communities.
Shelter: Lack of appropriate shelter and necessary NFIs is a major concern for displaced populations living in IDP camps in Somalia. To address the critical need, NRC provides temporary, semi-permanent or permanent shelters depending on the particular area and context. Before the shelters are constructed, discussions are held with the communities, local leadership and other stakeholders to have a common understanding and agreement. NRC has experimented on a number of shelter models over the years in order to provide beneficiaries with the best solution to their particular protection concerns. Land ownership and tenure issues remain fundamental challenges to the construction of permanent shelters; NRC has been exploring and piloting a number of solutions to ensure durable solutions for IDPs. NRC also aims to contribute to the improvement of living conditions for displaced people through the distribution of NFI kits and shelter kits. These interventions help restore the dignity of IDPs and refugees, whilst increasing their physical protection and reducing the risk of abuse for women and children in particular.
Water and Sanitation: In addition to providing shelter to the displaced and vulnerable communities, NRC also provides household and community latrines, and undertakes sanitation and hygiene promotion activities within the settlements. In 2012, the South Central Somalia programme piloted water supply and sanitation activities rehabilitating 5 bore holes, constructing 1,000 latrines that benefited 22,227 IPDs. In the second half of 2013, 34,886 IDPs were assisted through the provision of safe potable water, sanitation facilities and hygiene training in South Central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland. NRC has successfully piloted Solar powered water supply system in South Central. The system has proved to be more reliable and cost effective in the long-term compared to the diesel powered borehole pumping system. This is part of environmental mainstreaming in humanitarian response.
Education: Through the Alternative Basic Education program (ABE), NRC provides out of school children with an accelerated curriculum aiming to reinsert pupils into the formal school system. For youth who are too old to reintegrate the formal school system, NRC implements the Youth Education Pack program (YEP) which provides learners with literacy, numeracy, life skills and basic vocational skills and support towards the setting up of own businesses and coperatives. NRC also trains teachers in and supports the learning by providing safe learning environments through the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms. In 2012, NRC supported 14,785 children to access quality alternative basic education and 480 young people in the YEP program. During the first half of 2013 a further 13,023 learners have been enrolled in ABE and 310 received support through the YEP program. Enrollment of the 2013 second cohort of ABE learners is ongoing.
Protection: Internally displaced people are very vulnerable to abuse and often see their rights denied. In Somalia, NRC has been working in partnership with UNHCR on the Protection Monitoring Network and Population Movement Tracking project to sensitize the IDPs, communities, authorities and other stakeholders on the rights of IDP. In this project NRC is working with selected local partners in the three regions to collect protection and displacement information for planning and advocacy purposes. NRC aims at further strengthening its capacity on legal assistance in the region to protect land tenure as well as increase its capacity to generate better information on protection needs of long term displaced persons. Additionally, NRC will seek to prevent abuse and protect IDPs and returnees’ rigths by mainstreaming protection concerns in its programming.