Our Perspectives

We can save lives and restore dignity in Somalia


In Somalia, the ground is parched. Riverbeds are dry. There’s no vegetation left, livestock are dead, and countless livelihoods lost. Photo: UNDP in Somalia

I was just in Somalia, one of four conflict-ridden countries in Africa and the Middle East facing drought, a crisis that places 20 million people on the brink of famine. The situation is dire. But with your generous support, we can avert catastrophe. We can save lives and we can restore dignity.
The looming famine has rendered large swaths of land uninhabitable. In Somalia, the ground is parched. Riverbeds are dry. There’s no vegetation left, livestock are dead, and countless livelihoods lost.
Without adequate rainfall, many Somalis’ sources of income – farming and raising livestock – have evaporated. Hundreds of thousands sold what little they had and walked for days to reach displaced person camps where they can drink clean water and get rations from time to time. Inside the camp, people sit in makeshift tents, waiting for the rain.

Somalia is especially vulnerable because of a years-long conflict that has contributed to the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation.
But we can save lives if we act now.
Our most urgent push at UNDP is to prevent the crisis from flaring into famine. Early recovery programs, like our cash-for-work initiatives, are making direct, immediate impacts.  We’re employing Somalis to perform critical work in their own communities like digging water collection reservoirs.  These projects benefit all by providing freshwater, while at the same time empowering Somalis to purchase food for their families, regain dignity, and kickstart the economy.
Not only can we save lives, we can make them stronger in the future.
How can you help?

Donate today. A little goes a long way.

  • $30 can provide one week’s wages for an unskilled worker via our cash-for-work program
  • $120 can create 10-cubic meters of water storage
  • $1,450 can help rehabilitate one community reservoir in seven days, creating employment for five workers

We’re working with Somalis to make their villages more resilient to future climate fluctuations. From building dams to training farmers and more, we’re helping them create stronger livelihoods for tomorrow.
That may not sound as obvious as other types of aid — such as sending food or medical supplies. But building resilience to shocks is the most effective way of helping people: every dollar spent on disaster preparedness is repaid in future savings in relief and recovery costs.
It’s an important way to jumpstart recovery. And it’s critical that the process is undertaken by Somalis, who don’t want handouts. They don’t want to rely on humanitarian aid. They’re setting up their own structures for the future so that once this crisis has passed, Somalis can help themselves.
That’s why our job today is not to just avert the imminent famine, but to keep hope alive. The Somalis I spoke with are convinced that there’s going to be a better tomorrow.
Please donate now and help us in this critically important effort. It’s a smart investment that will save lives and make them stronger in the future.

Mourad Wahba Blog post Resilient recovery Somalia Arab states Crisis response Food security Climate change and disaster risk reduction

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