Somalilandsun – The United Nations General Assembly meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has declared March 22nd as World Water Day (WWD). This important day was first proposed on Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Commemoration of this day has begun and gained popularity ever since. United Nations member states recognize WWD as a day of implementing UN recommendations and promoting other activities.
The Ministry of Water Resources in Somaliland celebrates and acknowledges each year World Water Day commemoration. MoWR organizes the day to bring public attention on water issues. Water is a scarce resource in Somaliland. The rainy seasons are Gu (April-June) and Deyr (September-October). Somaliland is a drought prone country. Currently, there is a severe drought plaguing the western regions of Somaliland.
MoWR roles and responsibilities have grown significantly. As a result, the President, Mr. Siilaanyo, acknowledged the need to have a dedicated ministry for water resources. Then in June 2013, MoWR was established & separated from the former Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water Resources. MoWR’s operating budget has increased substantially for the current fiscal year 2016.
Since its establishment, MoWR has attracted many donors including the Somaliland Development Fund (SDF), European Commission (EC), Al Khalifa Foundation of United Arab Emirates, German Development Bank (KFW), African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank just to name a few. In addition, the MoWR has increased its partners both locally and internationally. These partners include; UNICEF, which has the water sector lead in Somaliland as well as, CARE International, CARITAS Switzerland, Candle Light, Concern Worldwide, Fichtner Water & Transportation, Terre Solidali, Somaliland Red Crescent, Somaliland Beverage Industry (SBI) & Dahabshiil Group etc. The local partners are SPDO, HEAL, Caalami Contractor, Tasco & Tanadco Drilling. For the bottle water companies that have close relations with the MoWR are Durdur, Tayo & Maaxda. The table below will highlight some of the water investment since 2010 and the respective donors:
MoWR has increased the capacity of the water sector. It has a well- established structure and trained employees and has regional and district offices throughout the country. It has decentralized its activities and celebrates WWD event each year. MoWR participates in regional and international water summits. For example, it has benefited from the participation of the recently held 4th International Water Summit which took place in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Hopefully, MoWR will attend the upcoming WEDC conference to be held in Kumasi, Ghana.
This year’s theme is: “Water and Jobs”. In that case, we need to be aware of the relationship between the two. Estimates show nearly 1.5 billion employees work at water related jobs, which translates into half of the world’s workers. In fragile countries like Somaliland, the private sector is the lead in terms of job creation. The public sector is very weak in absorbing the young graduates. For example, Dahabshiil Group is at the forefront in recruiting and training fresh graduates from the local colleges and universities. The company has policy of taking interns and hiring them in the long term. For the private sector, this is the first time the largest employer in Somaliland – Dahabshiil Group, has participated in the WWD event. Dahabshiil Group was honored as the employer of choice in the country according to Hargeisa Chamber of Commerce. Likewise, SBI has close working relations with the MoWR and has been supporting MoWR in attracting international donors, such as Coca-Cola Company. Due to SBI’s lobby Burao was awarded more half million US dollars in investment in 2015 for water infrastructure extensions. SBI has greatly participated the Ayaha water extension in the outskirts of Hargeisa.
Also, we have to think about how to attract young graduates into the trades business. MoWR has a vocational training center in Hargeisa, the capital, and the aim is to produce professionals, such as technicians and plumbers who are in a position to carry out the day to day activities of the water points. In the near future, MoWR is planning to build another vocational training center in Burao for the eastern regions.
Under the leadership of Minister Baashe Ali Jama, MoWR is at the forefront of researching, fund raising, designing, monitoring and advocating for new water points, which in effect will create new jobs for generation x. Senior engineers and upper management staff are at all times looking for new ways to advance in getting clean water for Somalilanders. MoWR Data Center utilizes new technology where one can click and find out the status of any borehole remotely. These include the general condition, the water salinity, GPS location, beneficiaries both human and livestock and the legal status, i.e., public or private.
Finally, we hope that you have enjoyed celebrating with the Ministry of Water Resources and the Director General, Dr. A/risak Jama Nour is glad to welcome you on World Water Day 2016 at the MoWR compound.
Ministry of Water Resources