Where We Work

Introduction to Somalia

Somalia is located in the Horn of Africa, known for its geographic extremities including plateaus, plains, highlands, and the longest coastline in the continent. Africa’s easternmost country is home to 15 million people, of which 99% are Muslims. Rich oral traditions, indigenous beliefs, folk dancing and social customs create a varied and vibrant cultural life. 

Somalia’s geography and social customs serve as the backdrop for decades of clan-based civil war. The consequences of conflict have resulted in great instability, displacement and widespread poverty with a staggering 50% of the population requiring food assistance.

More than two decades of armed conflict and the effects of consecutive climate events further exacerbate displacement, food insecurity, and disease outbreak. The presence of rain and flash floods increases cases of diarrhea, malaria, and cholera due to poor sanitation and lack of health services. 

The 2020 locust outbreak in Somalia was declared a state of emergency by the Ministry of Agriculture. The locusts damaged 100,000 hectares of cropland, threatening the agricultural landscape and the already fragile food insecurity situation in the country.

Why do the people of Somalia need your support?

For people across Somalia, life is incredibly challenging:

  • 2.9 million people have been displaced due to conflict, insecurity, droughts, and floods (UNHCR, 2021)

  • 5.9 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance (OCHA, 2021) 

  • 963,000 children younger than five years of age experience acute malnutrition (FEWS NET, 2021)

  • Somalia has one of the world’s lowest enrollment rates for primary school-aged children at only 30% (DevelopmentAid, 2020)

Islamic Relief in Somalia

Islamic Relief first started its work in Somalia to provide emergency aid in 2006, before opening a main office in Mogadishu and operating in Puntland, Somaliland and the South-Central regions.

To date, Islamic Relief Canada has helped close to 1 million individuals in Somalia, primarily supporting orphans and widows. In addition, Islamic Relief seeks to promote food security, livelihood rehabilitation, social development, and increase access to safe water and medical assistance. 

To address a number of cross-cutting issues, we are distributing cash transfers to drought-affected communities in Togdheer, food packs to internally displaced families in Baidoa and Baardheere, and supporting health facilities and schools in Balaad, Beledweyne and Banadir. 

Our Emergency Lifesaving Assistance for Communities in Sanag (ELAC) and Barrage Rehabilitation in Sabun Village (BARIS) are two other development projects currently underway. ELAC will install water supply systems and berkads and distribute hygiene kits while BARIS aims to rehabilitate the barrage that supports the irrigation of water from Shabelle River. 

In response to the Hargeisa market fire in Somaliland, our team is supporting vulnerable orphan families whose livelihoods were devastated by the fire. Efforts to increase their income and resilience include the distribution of cash grants to re-establish their businesses, business management and health education training, psychosocial support, as well as the formation of village saving and loan association groups.

Your donations in action

In the drought-stricken areas of Somaliland, lack of water leads to low income generation as families cannot water their gardens, feed their livestock, or run their businesses optimally. Mother to 12 children, Anisa, states that her family are pastoralists and heavily depend on livestock to sustain their livelihood. 

For families like Anisa’s who are struggling to provide the basic necessities to their children, Islamic Relief established the Emergency Lifesaving Assistance for Communities in Sanag project. The primary goal of this project was to improve the availability of clean and safe water to communities living in four villages across the Sanag region in northeastern Somaliland. 

This was achieved through the installation of water supply systems in 2 villages and 2 berkads in the remaining villages, as well as the distribution of hygiene kits containing jerry cans, soap, laundry detergent, and chlorine tablets. 

Anisa and her family received these hygiene kits and now have access to water through the installation of water pipes in their village. She expressed her gratitude for the now easily accessible clean water supply, 

“This assistance from Islamic Relief has been very crucial and has benefitted many people in our community. I know many families were struggling to access clean water and now we have hope to overcome these challenges.”

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