November 29 2022, Mogadishu – In response to the growing food insecurity the Government of Germany and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have together increased humanitarian assistance through cash transfers to mitigate the impact of drought on the food security and livelihoods of affected rural communities. In Somalia, hunger is increasing and intensifying. About 6.7 million people, including over 300,000 of those already facing famine conditions, are expected to be acutely food insecure until end of the year. Approximately half of those facing famine are in rural, hard-to-reach areas. The ability of the most vulnerable to endure drought has now been exhausted, and over one million people have left their homes in search of assistance.
“The current drought affecting the country is the worst we’ve seen in at least four decades, and parts of the country are on the brink of famine,” said FAO Representative in Somalia, Etienne Peterschmitt. “FAO’s Cash Transfer assistance to vulnerable rural communities addresses their immediate needs while helping to mitigate livelihood collapse. This keeps families together during crisis, reducing the risks associated with displacement, and paving the way for a faster, future recovery,” he said.
Famine prevention begins in rural areas
“It is crucial to leave no one behind. This is why Germany is working closely with its partners such as FAO and the Somali government to support people in all of Somalia. To save a family’s livelihood means the family can stay at their beloved home in difficult times. And the whole family will be able to get back onto their feet much quicker again when conditions normalise,” said Sebastian Groth, German Ambassador to Somalia. Germany is pursuing humanitarian assistance in a way that beneficiaries preserve their dignity and independence while ensuring sustainability with complementary stabilisation and development cooperation projects in the long run.
With continued support from Germany to FAO in Somalia, the “Livelihood response to mitigate impacts of drought on food security and livelihoods” project is providing three months of unconditional cash transfer assistance to 6,050 families in farming communities, due to the ongoing drought. To date, FAO has reached 5,519 families with three months of cash transfers amounting to USD 1,057,170.
Additionally, 4,800 families are receiving cash transfers while rehabilitating communal infrastructures critical to water management. Through collaboration with local government, a total of 62 infrastructures (34 water catchments, 4 contour bunds areas, 10 feeder roads and 2 Prosopis management sites) have been identified and rehabilitated. To date a total of 4,780 households have successfully received monthly cash transfers totalling USD 2,465,568.
FAO’s famine prevention scale up plan in Somalia saves lives and protects livelihoods. Famine prevention begins in rural areas, at the centre of the crisis where food producing communities are hardest hit by drought. The organization remains the agency with the furthest reach and systems in place to scale up lifesaving assistance in “hard-to-reach” rural areas at risk of famine thanks to its well-established network of local partners and implementation modalities.
With direct cash transfers to vulnerable rural families to enable them to meet their immediate needs, FAO’s Cash approach saves lives while protecting and preserving livelihoods and supporting local market systems. ‘With our cash transfers we can quickly reach vulnerable rural families and support them to endure crisis, but an urgent and greater scale up is needed if we want to prevent famine from occurring again in Somalia,” said Mr. Peterschmitt.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Somalia centers around improving food security and nutrition and protecting livelihoods in the face of shocks as well as promoting resilient agri-food value chains, integrated water and land management, climate smart agri-food systems and providing technical support and capacity development to the Government of Somalia at local, State and Federal levels across the areas within its mandate. FAO in Somalia works closely with government and communities to secure a better future for the people of Somalia. For more information about our work visit https://www.fao.org/somalia/en