The UK Government established the Building Resilience for Communities in Somalia (BRCiS) Consortium after Somalia’s 2011 drought in a spirit of “never again,” with the knowledge and experience that early action both prevents famine and saves lives. While the last 8 years have shown that the BRCiS approach works to mitigate the effects of moderate shocks and build resilience, BRCiS has never been up against a drought like the one Somalia is facing now, with the prospect of a fifth failed rainy season on the horizon, over a million people displaced, and an increasing number of drought-related deaths.
When the main BRCiS II project ended in March 2022, the UK Government’s Internal Response Fund (IRF) and Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) stepped in, providing GBP 5 million and USD 1.5 million, respectively, to meet emergency needs. This was later supplemented with a GBP 2 million IRF top-up, which included a pilot in hard-to-reach (H2R) areas. The IRF project was divided into two phases, the second of which targeted 27,000 families with MPCA, 84,000 families with water interventions, and 50,000 people with health and nutrition support through fixed and mobile clinics, awareness, and surveillance over the April to August period.
This report asks: In a drought that is bringing back images of the 1980s famine, is the IRF enabling BRCiS to live up to its original mandate? The results from three surveys with 4,001 of the initial Phase II households and two surveys with 1,897 top-up households confirm that while the drought has greatly affected IRF families, the interventions immediately and significantly improved the food security and water access of many of the most vulnerable households.