The 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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