Fighting Famine in Somalia

Somalia is currently facing a serious humanitarian crisis caused by drought and ongoing conflict. Majority of the population have lost their livelihoods and are in dire need of assistance. The security situation throughout Somalia is volatile with significant amount of fighting being reported in the capital, Mogadishu and along the Kenya Somalia border. There is shrinking humanitarian space and reduced access to basic services, such as health care and clean water. The United Nations declared on 20th July 2011 that famine exists in two regions of southern Somalia: southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle. Three new areas of southern Somalia, namely Balcad and Cadale in Middle Shabelle region, the Afgooye Corridor and parts of Mogadishu were declared as famine areas by FSNAU on 3rd August 2011.It estimated that half of the Somali population, 3.7 million people, are now in a state of severe crisis.

Medrar Foundation has engaged in several projects in Somalia, including activities that provided direct support to 16,000 individuals in water supply through water trucking and hygiene promotion.

1,081 households received food supply. (See the achievement table below.) Medrar along its local partners employed a participatory approach to beneficiaries’ selections during community meetings. The communities were guided on the beneficiary selection criteria with the most vulnerable in the community taking priority to qualify for support. The criteria for determining vulnerability were agreed in each community and included: women headed households, elderly people taking care of orphans, child headed household, widows, households headed by chronically sick persons, disabled persons and large families. The overall goal of Medrar emergency program in Somalia was to support the immediate needs of vulnerable groups by assisting them to obtain water and sanitation and food.

In two focus group discussions undertaken at the end of the project, 67% of the beneficiaries express satisfaction and ownership of targeted beneficiaries to meet their household’s needs in terms of WASH and food security during the implementation period of this project.


Security updates

The project area security situation was tense and unpredictable. There were sporadic clashes between the TFG forces and armed organized groups, which calls for extra vigilance to humanitarian actors on the ground. Nevertheless Medrar continued its operations without any disruption or interference.


Mainstreaming of gender is Medrar priority throughout programs. The nature of displacement within Somalia clearly identifies women as a specific ‘at risk’ group. Encampment has increased the burden of household responsibilities on women. The projects had a significant focus on women. On average, 50% of the targeted households were women headed. We also ensured that our staffs are aware of the importance of gender mainstreaming.

Challenges, Achievements, Constraints, Security incidents, Relations with Local authorities:

  • 1, 081HH were reached in food distribution due to the lack of beans in the local market.
  • Beans were not procured with the other food commodities due to non availability in the local markets of the targeted project areas.
  • Limited movement by program staff in the above areas that are under the control of Al-Shabab due to strict surveillance and security checks by the armed organized groups/militias controlling the project areas.
  • Dates were distributed with each food pack.
  • The number of beneficiaries was much larger as compared to the aid distributed which made it difficult to control the crowds in the areas targeted.
  • There have been displacement in all the intended targeted areas from famine affected regions and hence increasing the population of already IRS targeted IDP camps putting a strain on the resources provided e.g. water, sanitation facilities, food distribution, etc
  • There was limited women involvement in the project areas due to strict rules and regulations enforced by armed organized groups (AOG).
  • Conflict of interests and demands from local authorities especially the armed organized groups that usually are against the donor requirements that were initially agreed prior the commencement of the project.
  • Poor accessibility of the project areas especially in Baidoa and Lower Juba.

MEDRAR Builds 5 Water Boreholes in Somalia Among Other Activities:

Water is one of the key central roles in human societies and communities. Water is a key driver for sustainable growth and poverty alleviation as an input to almost all production, in agriculture, industry and other. Water is quite literally a source of life and prosperity and a cause of death and devastation. This destructive aspect of water, as a consequence of its extraordinary power and mobility is arguably unique. Thousands of people die monthly because of malnutrition due to inaccessible clean water supply.

Achieving basic water security, harnessing the productive potential of water and limiting its destructive impacts, has been a continuous struggle ever since the origins of human society. Throughout history, water has also been a source of dispute and even conflict between uses and between users at both local and larger scales. As water becomes ever more scarce relative to demand, there are emerging fears of trans-boundary waters becoming a source of conflict which eventually is constraining growth and development.

Today, water resources development and management remain at the heart of the struggle for growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction.

It remains the case in many developing countries today, where investments in water development and management remain an urgent priority. In some developing countries – often the poorest, such as Somalia – the challenge of managing their water legacy is almost without precedent .

The head of the U.N. refugee agency had constantly asked for international aid regarding Somalia’s drought, he argues that drought-ridden Somalia is the “worst humanitarian disaster” in the world.

The World Food Program estimates that over three quarters of Somlia’s Population (10,000,000) are in dire need for direct humanitarian aid. The U.N. Children’s Fund estimates that more than 2 million children are malnourished and in need of lifesaving action.

Medrar has engaged in food distribution in Somalia, providing a total of 950 households comprising of 7,600 people a one month food basket. Medrar Foundation reached a total of 1081 households that translates to a total of 8,648 people who received 25Kg of rice, 10 kg of wheat flour, 10 kg of sugar and 3 liters of cooking oil. We have reached more than the planned target number of households.

On another hand, a Lebanese Humanitarian Airplane, led by Medrar Foundation in coordination with the Lebanese Government, carried 33 tons of humanitarian aid of food and medicine left Beirut Airport to Moghadishu International Airport on the 26th of August 2011. The crew on board consisted of the MEDRAR team, a representative from Al Zakat Organization, a representative from the Lebanese Higher Commission Relief and two reporters. The MEDRAR team with its local partners helped distribute the aid to the most deprived people in Moghadishu.

: “Water for Growth and Development.” David Grey and Claudia W. Sadoff in Thematic
Documents of the IV World Water Forum. Comision Nacional del Agua: Mexico City. 2006.

Furthermore, on the 5th of February 2012, Medrar Foundation has engaged into a partnership with Zamzam Foundation in Somalia to build 5 water boreholes in five different populated villages.
The agreement has stated a timeframe of five months from signature (February 2012) to accomplish the construction of five water boreholes. Medrar Foundation is pleased to announce the completion of all five water boreholes in Somalia.
Choosing the site locations was not an easy step due to security measures and other reasons. Medrar and Zamzam chose the five villages for the construction of the boreholes according to the following criteria:

  1. The village must have the highest rate of benefiters from the water borehole in the region
  2. The area should be an area that has suffered drastically from the drought and is in need for water consumption (self-use, agriculture , cattle)
  3. The location should be safe and secure to assure the construction and functionality of the borehole

Accordingly, we have successfully accomplished the construction of the five water boreholes in the following villages within the Middle Juba Province:

  1. Feryali – Jilib
  2. Saccow
  3. Dujuma
  4. Bu’aale
  5. Cosdhil