NRC has been active in Somalia since 2004, providing protection and humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons.
Humanitarian and political context:
Updated March 2013
Humanitarian access continued to improve slowly in Somalia in the last months of 2012. However the security situation remains a key impediment to reaching people in need. According to statistics compiled by OCHA, the number of attacks on aid workers, involving physical attacks, threats or the theft of assets, reduced from 13 in October to four and five in November and December 2012 respectively. Withdrawal of Al Shabaab from key towns in South Somalia has permitted a gradual increase in the presence of aid agencies in a number of areas, enabling the distribution of relief supplies and monitoring of projects. Despite the concrete gains, the overall access for humanitarian actors remains extremely challenging. 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 displaced people in Somalia now stands at 1.1 million according to UNHCR. The majority of the affected population are in Southern Somalia, where insecurity posed major challenges for access. Both Somaliland and Puntland have been affected by the drought and significant rural to urban migration continues to take place.
Armed conflict in South Central Somalia still persists. The endorsement of a provisional constitution in August 2012 opened doors for vetting of members of parliament, election of parliament speaker, and election of a new President in September 2012, peacefully phasing out the transitional period. Support from the AMISOM forces (African Union troops) has significantly reduced the Al Shabaab threat in Mogadishu and surrounding regions. The new civilian Somali Government now controls most of Mogadishu though the security in the city remains unstable and humanitarian workers are still at risk. Despite the allied forces gains, a big challenge remains in filling the leadership vacuum left after the al-Shabaab displacement.
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. These needs include emergency food, water, shelter, livelihoods and education assistance.
In Puntland and Somaliland, where the security and political situation has been relatively stable, the search for more durable solutions will continue, in particular for those who have been displaced for many years.
NRC priorities for 2013 and beyond
NRC’s immediate priority is to respond in a timely fashion to the ongoing food security crisis in order to save lives inside Somalia. Additionally, 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 also continue to strengthen its emergency preparedness and response capacity, its monitoring and evaluation systems and continue to diversify its donor base. Where the situation allows, NRC will be involved in the voluntary return and re-settlement of IDP and refugees.
NRC core activities in Somalia
Food distribution: 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. NRC has provided support to cumulatively 73,769 households (442,617 persons) across South Central Somalia and Puntland. According to FSNAU analysis report, the food security and nutrition is expected to improve in early 2013 due to favourable October to December Deyr rains and continued humanitarian response. However, 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: NRC provides temporary, semi-permanent and permanent shelters to refugees and IDPs in Somalia. The shelter solutions proposed are generally dependent on the particular area and context: 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 five bore holes and constructing 1,000 latrines that benefited 22,227 IPDs. In 2013, NRC aims to continue providing vulnerable households with access to safe potable water, sanitation facilities and hygiene training in Somalia.
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.
Protection: Internally displaced people are very vulnerable to abuse and often see their rights denied. In Somalia, NRC works in partnership with UNHCR on the Protection Monitoring Network and Population Movement Tracking project. 52 local partners were engaged in 2012 to collect protection and displacement information for planning and advocacy purposes. NRC aims at 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 seeks to prevent abuse and protect IDPs and refugees’ rigths by mainstreaming protection concerns in its programming.