About the Situation
By the Numbers
More than 10.4 million people live in Somalia
82% of the population lives in poverty
63% of the population is illiterate
(Sources: United Nations, the World Bank, and World Food Program)
Living in a state of ongoing civil unrest, communities in Somalia have had little chance to build institutions and improve living conditions. Human development indicators are low: Life expectancy is 55 years, one-third of children are underweight, and 42% are stunted. One in seven children will die before age 5.
With living conditions already poor and fragile, residents are especially vulnerable to crises such as the severe drought and famine of 2011. Four million people experienced extreme food insecurity during that crisis. Subsequent years have seen steady improvement, due in part to adequate rainfall, lower food costs and humanitarian aid. Still, however, many Somalis continue to live in an emergency situation, and 2 million people struggle to meet their minimum daily needs—and further stress could easily push them back into a food insecurity crisis.
How Islamic Relief is Helping
Islamic Relief has carried out seasonal food distribution campaigns since 1996. Islamic Relief Somalia opened in 2006 to implement and oversee programs that would alleviate suffering due to continued violence, and that would help internally displaced populations.
Here’s a breakdown of some programs Islamic Relief has supported in Somalia. IRUSA also focuses on projects that help Somali refugees in neighboring countries:
ORPHAN SUPPORT & SPONSORSHIP
More than 78,000 pastoralists and agro-pastoralists affected by recurrent drought through livelihood and water development interventions, including the construction of boreholes, shallow wells, and latrines. Thousands of households will also receive livestock healthcare and seeds for better crop production.
RAMADAN FOOD DISTRIBUTION
This project enhanced the quality of and access to education for some 1,000 children living in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. The camp is home to more than 450,000 people, mostly from Somalia and mostly children. By supporting the construction of 5 informal school facilities, which include latrines, hand-washing facilities and water tanks, the program created a safe, child-friendly environment conducive to learning. The schools also accommodated the needs of disabled children, and worked to raise awareness and advocate for the integration of all children into formal education.
Islamic Relief helped provide vital aid to survivors of the 2011 drought—considered the worst drought to hit the region in 60 years—on the ground in Somalia (as well as in Kenya and Ethiopia). More than 100,000 people in Somalia received emergency aid through efforts including food distributions; the establishment of boreholes; the construction and rehabilitation of water birkads; the construction of household latrines; access to hygiene and sanitation services, including hygiene education; the distribution of dignity kits for women; garbage collection services to keep the environment clean; the training of teachers to help them continue lessons for children; and health services for livestock.