A displaced mother from Diinsor district constructs a temporary house. Photo: Abdulkadir Mohamed/NRC

NRC in Somalia

Somalia is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. As a result of severe drought and food shortages, millions of people are affected by displacement.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2023.


Humanitarian overview

Nearly three decades of conflict, insecurity, political fragility, recurrent climatic shocks and increasing economic pressure have had devastating impacts on millions of people in Somalia. Somalis are facing compounding crises, with the number of people in need progressively increasing over the past years. Some 8.25 million people in Somalia half of the population – require lifesaving assistance; 60 per cent of them are children. More than 3.8 million Somalis are displaced (internally or across borders), with 1.4 million displaced in the past year alone. A fifth of the population, 3.7 million people, are facing high levels of acute food insecurity. 1.5 million children are acutely or severely malnourished.

Although the latest wet season in spring 2023 brought rain and the projected famine was averted, the impact of the extended drought persists. Climate shocks like droughts and floods are likely to occur more frequently, making Somalia highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Funding levels for humanitarian response in Somalia remain low. Consequently, the basic needs of communities remain unmet, as underfunding causes gaps in critical lifesaving assistance.

  • 22,431
    people benefited from our education programme in 2023
  • 189,713
    people benefited from our food security programme
  • 150,978
    people benefited from our shelter programme
  • 55,067
    people benefited from our protection programme
  • 309,831
    people benefited from our ICLA programme
  • 273,611
    people benefited from our WASH programme
  • 835,983
    people benefited from other NRC activities


NRC's operation

We operate through four area offices across the country with our teams on the ground responding to the ever-increasing needs. We target those who have been forced to flee with our activities, which range from building shelters to tackling agricultural challenges, and from acquiring new skills to strengthening people’s resilience to future shocks. Our programmes and activities are rooted in community-based approaches and we are committed specifically to reaching hard-to-reach areas and advancing localisation efforts in Somalia.

Protection from violence

We work to protect those most at risk in Somalia and support communities' right to freedom from violence, coercion and deliberate deprivation. Our teams:

  • capture new internal displacement and return of populations across Somalia to inform humanitarian response and advocacy
  • issue flash alerts for massive displacement and hotspot areas affected by conflicts, droughts and floods
  • collect protection data to strengthen the response to protection violations
  • enhance access to emergency protection assistance for populations at risk
  • refer protection cases to specialised services
  • provide individual protection assistance through cash transfers


NRC EducationEducation

We want all displaced Somali children and youth, as well as those in the communities that host them, to go to school. Our education teams:

  • provide formal and accelerated classes for children who have missed out on education to catch up with their peers, to ensure their transition into the formal school system
  • engage with young people through our youth education programme, which helps young adults find opportunities to create their own businesses and cooperatives
  • train teachers in teaching approaches in crisis contexts, child protection and psychosocial support
  • construct and rehabilitate temporary learning spaces and permanent classrooms, in coordination with our shelter teams
  • provide teaching and learning materials

NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

Many displaced people in Somalia are denied basic rights like land tenure. Our teams:

  • help Somali refugees to return safely
  • raise awareness about the rights of displaced people among local authorities and communities
  • provide information and legal counselling on housing, land and property rights to displaced Somalis and Somali refugees who have returned to the country
  • run an emergency hotline and call centre to provide immediate legal advice
  • assist displaced Somalis to secure land tenure
  • monitor evictions and provide tailored assistance to people affected by evictions

NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

Protracted conflict and political instability over decades have led to the displacement of people, the destruction of infrastructure, and the disruption of livelihoods and agricultural activities, resulting in increased food insecurity in Somalia. Our teams:

  • make lifesaving cash transfers (conditional and unconditional) to families so they can purchase food and household goods
  • establish and strengthen social protection programmes to provide a safety net to vulnerable populations
  • support communities’ environmental conservation activities, like providing solar energy for irrigation
  • support communities in prioritisation of key needs and invest in critical infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads, soil protection, water harvesting structures and solarised irrigation channels
  • provide smallholder farmers with access to improved seeds, fertilisers and irrigation systems to increase yields
  • provide livelihood training to empower farmers and other community members with new skills (for instance, farmers are trained to tackle diseases that can damage their crops)
  • promote vocational training and business development programmes to equip the population with the skills needed for employment

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

We provide shelter and access to essential infrastructure and non-food items to internally displaced people, refugees and vulnerable host communities in Somalia. Our teams:

  • construct and rehabilitate temporary/emergency, transitional and permanent shelters through cash and in-kind modalities and adopting owner-driven approaches whenever feasible
  • distribute non-food items (NFIs) through cash and in-kind approaches
  • prepare site/settlement plans and conduct training on site/settlement planning
  • construct and rehabilitate essential infrastructure, for instance roads, community centres, markets, schools etc.
  • co-chair the national shelter cluster at country level and regional cluster coordination groups

NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH)

Lack of access to safe water and sanitation is a major driver of humanitarian needs in Somalia. Our teams:

  • construct household and community latrines including school sanitation facilities
  • construct and rehabilitate water systems for drinking water
  • promote sanitation and hygiene awareness
  • train communities in how to use and maintain hygiene facilities and waste management systems

BRCiS Consortium

brcis consortiumBRCiS is a humanitarian Consortium that takes a holistic approach to supporting Somali communities in developing their capacity to resist and absorb minor shocks without undermining their ability to move out of poverty. Read more at www.nrc.no/brcis.

Danwadaag Consortium

NRC is also part of the Danwadaag Consortium that aims at enhancing progress towards durable solutions for displacement affected communities in the urban areas of Banadir Regional Administration, Jubaland State and South West State of Somalia. It focuses on long-term solutions to displacement and connects them to urban development processes. For more information, visit the Danwadaag website.

About NRC in Somalia

International staff
Areas of operation
Mogadishu (Country Office), Kismayu, Dollow, Baidoa, Hargeisa, Jowhar, Bossaso, Galkayo, Garowe, Mogadishu and Dhusamareb
National staff


Country Director

Mohamed Abdi