Peaks and valleys amidst mountains of need

Published 20. Jan 2023
The 2022 drought in the Horn of Africa has caused devastating, irreversible damage to families and communities, as well as the urban centres and natural ecosystems that are meant to support them.

In the accessible areas of Somalia alone, over seven million people are affected, including more than one million displaced from their homes. In the many insecure, inaccessible areas, the situations are likely to be even worse, though concrete data from these areas is limited. With child malnutrition rates skyrocketing, the drought is costing lives every day.

This report uses case studies, evaluation data, and learning insights to share stories of how the drought impacted families—and how BRCiS responded to help meet their needs. It explores:

  • How innovation can be integrated into traditional humanitarian response activities to enable more rapid and accurate information on needs, deliver more effective support to communities, and facilitate longer-term resilience-building—even in an emergency context.
  • Lessons learned from using a joint funding arrangement, integrating and layering interventions in the same communities, and expanding response efforts into hard-to-reach areas.
  • Why investment in limiting displacement from rural origin sites—rather than focusing on meeting needs in overcrowded, urban destination sites—is critical both for the well-being of individuals and families but also to the future of Somalia and its peoples' way of life.
  • Evidence from impact data showing that while short-term, emergency funding can produce dramatic, immediate results, it is insufficient in providing the type of sustained support people need during large, longer-term crises, especially when delivered late. Rather, early warning data should be used to develop planning horizons and financing that not only matches but exceeds the crisis window, allocating time and resources for drought recovery and climate resilience.

Despite humanitarian efforts throughout 2022, the drought's damage was barely contained, and Somalia narrowly avoided an official famine declaration—twice. The situation remains grim, and there is a sense of disappointment that much of the continuing disaster could have been averted with sufficient financial follow-through to match the available early warning information.

Still, as part of its resilience-building mandate, BRCiS is working to maintain hope. The report concludes with three steps to help Somalia's stakeholders navigate a way through the rest of the crisis into a new future.

Read the report Peaks and valleys amidst mountains of need here.