Somaliland: Lives Brought Back from Brink


Report from Tearfund

Somalilandsun – Life in Somaliland is never easy or predictable as single mum Sahra Jama Duale can tell you.Two years ago, the drought that brought hunger to millions of people in East Africa killed all her livestock and removed her means of making a living to support her four children, aged between four and eight.

Her suffering escalated when her husband died and she was left to fend for her family alone.

As living conditions deteriorated, Sahra was forced to move to a community where there were many others who had been displaced by the drought.

Turning point

Facing destitution, it was here that Sahra came to the attention of Tearfund partner World Concern, which offered food and other help to people displaced by drought in Somaliland.

World Concern provided her with three months of emergency rations to stave off malnutrition – rice, flour, cooking oil and sugar. She also received plastic sheets, mosquito nets, cooking pots and jerry cans. This proved a turning point for Sahra.

With renewed energy and purpose, she was now able to take up a business opportunity in the community.

She started selling tea and is determined to make a success of the village venture: ‘I really want to struggle for my kids so they can have a good education to be able to take care of themselves and their families in the future,’ said Sahra, 45.

‘The weather here is becoming very unpredictable and depending on livestock is very challenging, unlike in the time of our great-grandparents.’

Seeds and tools

As well as food support for 600 families, World Concern is helping people adapt to the changing climate to make them more resilient to drought.

This can take the form of introducing farmers’ groups to vegetable gardening, including the supply of seeds, tools and water irrigation pumps.

Besides working in Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991, World Concern are operating in neighbouring eastern Kenya, improving the lives of ethnic Somalis.

Here about 15,000 people have received food distributions, new water storage facilities have been built benefiting 9,000 people and nearly 5,000 others have better water access thanks to new borehole water pumps and a generator.

Chris McDonald, Tearfund’s Country Representative for Somalia and Somaliland, said, ‘Our work is continuing to help people recover from the drought of 2011-12.

‘As well as water and livelihood issues, we’re also running projects to improve education and sanitation, benefiting thousands of people.’