Charities in SomaliaThe Somali state officially collapsed in 1991, and the country has been prone to violence and conflict ever since. In 2021 alone, political tensions prevented essential human rights reforms while conflict-related abuses, insecurity and humanitarian and health crises greatly affected civilians. Journalists faced extreme prosecution by federal and regional authorities. Additionally, there was no system in place to ensure the protection of human rights. An armed group, Al-Shabab, was responsible for hundreds of civilian attacks and deaths. The violence, according to the United Nations, has displaced between 60,000 and 100,000 Somali people.

Impacts of the Conflict

The conflict has also caused an increase in sexual and gender-based violence, especially towards women, which often results in death. The U.N. reported that the government interfered in investigating sexual violence incidents. Children are also facing great abuses; the conflict is so dire that children are becoming injured, experiencing recruitment as child soldiers or even dying.

According to the U.N., more than 2.6 million Somalis are internally displaced, mainly due to the conflict. Persistent drought, flooding, locust swarms and the COVID-19 pandemic have all contributed to the exacerbation of this crisis. Humanitarian agencies are facing serious challenges in accessing the people due to violence, deliberate attacks on aid workers and physical restrictions due to extreme weather.

However, there are several organizations in Somalia that are working, despite these violent conditions, to provide relief and aid to the Somali people. Here are five charities in Somalia.

5 Charities in Somalia

  1. OXFAM International: OXFAM has been in Somalia for more than 40 years. It works with local communities and authorities, as well as civil society, to provide humanitarian assistance and implement long-term development initiatives. OXFAM specifically focuses on providing water, sanitation access, hygiene supplies and ensuring food access. The organization’s goal is to meet immediate needs, while also setting the foundation for long-term recovery and resilience efforts. By constructing water sources and water trucking to remote communities, OXFAM hopes to improve water access. Additionally, the organization is constructing latrines and funding cash grants for the communities to use. Finally, OXFAM advocates for Somali debt cancellation, as well as more inclusive gender and youth-related policies.
  2. ActionAid International Somaliland: Another one of the many organizations in Somalia is Actionaid International Somaliland — a global justice federation that works to promote social justice, gender equality and the eradication of poverty in Somaliland, a northern and independent region of Somalia. Somalia’s independence has never received formal recognition, meaning it is prone to conflict. In this area, Actionaid International fights for basic rights to food, land, education and life security. For several years, the organization has worked to promote increased food security. Its main objective is to “contribute to the improvement of living conditions of [the] most poor and marginalized communities in Somaliland” and “to improve food security and promote endogenous development in 21 villages, through the improvement of agricultural production, the development of new commercialization channels and the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship.” The organization hopes to increase agricultural and food production, improve the capacities and marketing skills of farmers for agricultural and nonagricultural products, improve the living standards of women and sustainably manage the use of natural resources.
  3. Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Somalia: ADRA is an organization in Somalia that works to promote well-being in four specific areas: WASH, Education, Livelihoods and Emergency. In the WASH area, ADRA improves access to safe, potable water for vulnerable communities. In the “Education” section, ADRA works to increase access to education for students of all levels. This also entails strengthening educational structures and resources for the efficient delivery of educational services. The “Livelihoods” section involves building community assets and establishing safety nets so that civilians can better withstand recurring disasters. Finally, the “Emergency” section entails providing immediate, multi-sectoral assistance to people experiencing crisis and humanitarian emergencies.
  4. MercyCorps Somalia: MercyCorps Somalia, another one of the key organizations in Somalia, has been providing relief in Somalia since 2005 but especially increased efforts given the recent COVID-19 pandemic and increasing violence in the country. The organization focuses on five main areas: humanitarian response and resilience, quality basic services, inclusive economic growth, youth civic and economic engagement and participation/trust/accountability. In the humanitarian area, MercyCorps helps Somalia prepare for and respond to crises by addressing needs like food, sanitation, water access and shelter. In the “quality basic services” area, the organization improves well functioning and other water facilities. To promote economic growth, MercyCorps develops and manages savings groups for displaced youth and women. The organization promotes youth civic and economic engagement by providing vocational training and supporting small businesses. This helps mitigate issues of poverty and unemployment. Finally, MercyCorps strives to improve communication between communities and the government.
  5. Somali Youth for Peace and Development (SYPD): Somali Youth for Peace and Development (SYPD) is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization based in Somalia. It works to promote sustainable development and peaceful co-existence. It works with three core objectives: peace-building, development and humanitarian action. SYPD resolves injustice with nonviolence, establishes projects to promote sustainable development, and provides emergency humanitarian relief. Its initiatives have occurred in 71 Somali districts, and it has successfully organized and implemented more than 100 projects. Additionally, SYPD has reached more than 1 million Somali people.

Despite the challenges that Somalia has been facing, these five organizations have had a significant impact. Through their work to aid Somalia, life has improved for many Somali people.

– Shiloh Harrill
Photo: Flickr

impact-of-covid-19-on-poverty-in-samoaThe impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Samoa is evident in several ways — from increased homelessness to insufficient medical supplies to lack of clean water access. However, thanks to government aid and international assistance, the most vulnerable groups are being supported.

ADRA Samoa Gives Shelter

As it relates to addressing homelessness, the Samoan Government and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) partnered to provide accommodation for families who lost their homes during the pandemic.

As of August 4, 2022, the Samoan Government distributed about 1 million Samoan tala ($369,659) in relief aid while 120 families were given brand new homes by ADRA. The Shelter and Hygiene Program provided ADRA with a grant of 2 million tala ($739,318) and an additional 1.5 million tala ($554,488) to construct specially-adapted homes for 88 households where a family member has a disability. All of the support the government and ADRA provide helps improve the lives of vulnerable families and inspires others.

“It has been a very exciting period for ADRA in Samoa, especially when we have been able, through the shelter interventions, to make a significant difference to people’s lives, and to help them strengthen their resilience to pandemics and natural disasters,” Su’a Julia Wallwork, director of the ADRA told Adventist Records in a statement. In collaboration with New Zealand Habitat for Humanity, ADRA will resume its work on a project called Maluapapa Safe Haven Project.

Samoa Receives Lifesaving COVID-19 Supplies

The impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Samoa has also been far-reaching in terms of the country’s health care systems. To ensure that all residents have access to necessary resources, the World Health Organization (WHO), carried out by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and in partnership with the European Union (EU) shipped medical supplies to Samoa in May 2022.

The Minister of Health commented on the assistance the WHO, WFP and the EU provided stating “This equipment and medical supplies will be used by Samoan health workers around the country as they continue to test and treat patients and to remain safe themselves as they save lives.”

The supplies included 280,000 face masks, 248,300 hand gloves, 72,000 hospital garments, 30,000 N95 masks, 10,300 face covering, 6,000 COVID-19 testing kits, 3,000 pulse measuring devices and 50 oxygen gas generators which is a sufficient amount for the hospitals that may not have enough resources, the WFP reports.

Dr. Kim Eva Dickson, a WHO Representative to Samoa is grateful for the assistance from the EU due to the barriers they face during the pandemic, stating “We knew we needed to get this equipment and supplies into health workers’ hands here in Samoa, but getting it here was going to be a challenge, due to limited flights and inflated shipping costs. Thankfully, we spoke with our colleagues at WFP and, with support from the EU, they made this flight possible. ”

ARROWS Supplies Clean Water

The impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Samoa can also be seen in terms of water scarcity. Caritas Australia and Caritas Samoa started the Advancing Resilience through Resources for Outreach and Water Security (ARROWS) program to provide service to families living in residential homes or villages who have no access to clean water.

The program built a water system for 32 families in the mainland of Upolu and Savai’i. Tului is from a family of 13 who had to live with polluted water for 10 years. Since the ARROWS program began, Tului and her family now have access to water, measured in a 3,000L tank to bathe, wash dishes and consume water safely without falling ill.

Many families experience hardships like lack of water, medical supplies, or losing their homes due to the pandemic. However, organizations like the ADRA and ARROWS made it possible for families not to endure the hard struggles but to strive for a future full of possibilities for their community.

Jacara Watkins
Photo: Wikimedia Commons