Somaliland is experiencing severe droughts concerning sequential failure of rainfall in the past four years.
With livestock contributing to more than 60% of the country’s GPD, thousands of people loss their life-dependent livestock and consequently migrated to remote places to save their lives with whatever food and water available.
Social work students from Hargeisa School of Social work in the University of Hargeisa have been at fore front to combat serious social ills that destroy the social well-being of families and communities at large. More importantly, their actions to reduce the challenges resulted by recent droughts were utterly marvelous as they carried out their community interventions and worked with health, education and psychosocial service settings of twenty-five drought-affected villages in Somaliland. However, there are three primary roles which shaped the significance of their work.
- Community Mobilizers
As community mobilizers, social workers engaged in diverse communities with distinct cultural and ethnic background that are worsened by the droughts without exploiting community assets. They particularly sensitized community members and community-based organizations (CBOs) including women and children building bridges to access present resources and strengthen relationships with the service providers at village level to utilize health; shelter; food and other necessary basic needs. As a result, they drove village members to some of the humanitarian actors and Somaliland government in health, livelihoods, and protection aspects.
2. Crisis Counselors
Additionally, working as counselors made huge difference to individual psychosocial status because hundreds of people had been suffering hardly from diverse mental and social challenges after they loss 90% of their life-dependent livestock. They dealt with more than 122 cases (MoLSA, 2017) of women and men at the community support centers. People from these communities faced tremendous risks and stresses on ways to handle this humanitarian crisis.
- Interagency Facilitators
Social workers did not only manage caseloads, but they also used their facilitation roles to best serve both individual and familial clients. Without exceeding service providers’ policies and guidelines for their humanitarian response, social workers ensured whether delivery of drought response activities is ethical in terms of local values, justice and Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS). Whilst this had several major benefits for the host communities, internalizing the basic social work values was rather inconsistent due to the widespread effect of humanitarian crisis.
Mohamed Rashid Hussein
A leading Columnist, Humanitarian and Social Worker, Sustainable Development Practitioner
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