Warning of famine: we help Somali children
The project takes place in the central-southern part of Somalia, more precisely in the Bay and Gedo regions, in the illages of Baifoa, Dollow and Luuq.
Somalia is experiencing a major humanitarian crisis due to the acute drought caused by El Niño, the insurrection of Al’Shabaab and the general insecurity of the country. The combination of these factors has led to the displacement of more than 1 million people and has made the most basic necessities inaccessible for about 6 million Somalis. In March 2017, every day more than 3,000 people were forced to leave their homes.
Overall, an estimated 5 million people need some form humanitarian assistance, of which 1.1 million people are in serious food insecurity and struggling to meet their daily food requirements.
About 320.000 children under the age of five years are suffering from malnutrition, of whom 50.000 are severely malnourished.
The project aims to provide water and sterile conditions to reduce the spread of diseases. At the mean time, operations are planned to ensure the distribution of food to the most vulnerable families, thereby reducing the risk of malnutrition, especially for children under five, and to provide assistance and support of livestock, which represents the only source of income for these families.
Actions regarding water and hygiene interventions are implemented specifically for the distribution of vouchers to 1.500 families for accessing water (vouchers are distrubuted to the most disadvantaged families, and can be traded with locally-sourced, pre-selected vendors, in exchange with water and food). COOPI is also occupied with the distribution of water storage tanks, thereby avoiding the risk of contamination, and the distribution of tablets for the purification of water. Meanwhile, activities which raise awareness on hygienic practices are carried out, to prevent contaminated waterborne diseases, such as cholera, to spread.
Regarding malnutrition-related activities, COOPI intends to distribute vouchers to families for the purchase of what is called a MEB (Minimum Expenditure Basket), a basic basket that includes food and other basic products for the family: sorghum, vegetable oil, water sugar, kerosene, firewood and soap. In this case, there are also awareness-raising courses for mothers and young women on appropriate nutritional and hygienic practices to prevent childhood malnutrition and other illnesses. Some basic concepts that are taught in these courses regard the importance of breastfeeding, weaning and the diet of a breastfeeding mother.
Beneficiaries of the project
The project concerns 2.420 families and will enhance the living conditions of 14.520 people affected by the crisis. 8.000 of these are children, of which 5.000 are under the age of five years.
Families are selected with the help of village committees, composed of older men and women who know very well the needs of the inhabitants. This is particularly the case for families who have lost their livelihoods due to the drought or because they had to migrate. Families in which the head of the household is a woman, or families which are composed by disabled people, malnourished children or other vulnerable categories, are given priority.