The Horn of Africa region is facing one of its worst droughts in almost a half century with crops failing, livestock dying and children being treated for malnutrition.
Worst affected are in the Somali regions and Ethiopia where families, especially women and children have to walk long distances in search of food, water and medical help.
While much of the focus is on aid provided by foreign donors, the local community and the diaspora is engaged in huge efforts to help those in need. The business community is no exception.
A leading corporate in the region Dahabshiil Group has donated millions towards the drought effort and via remittances and other money transfer services has enabled the diaspora and those with resources at home to send life-saving assistance to those in need.
Over the weekend, Dahabshiil held a sporting event to support and help raise awareness about those affected in the Somali regions.
Through a football tournament in Hargeisa, Dahabshiil, Africa’s leading remittance company held an inter departmental tournament that it hopes will spur both local and diaspora communities to come together to help those worse affected.
Twelve teams participated in the knock-out inter-departmental tournament. Among the departments were Dahabshiil Service, Dahabshiil Bank, Somtel, eDahab, Dahabshiil Money Transfer, Dahabshiil Motors, Microdahb among others.
Dahabshiil Group Chief Executive Officer Abdirashid Duale said the aim of the tournament was about more than sports.
“We realise that sport brings people together and through this tournament we aim to draw support to raise funds for those who are suffering,” stated Duale.
“We are proud of our colleagues who took their time to play in the tournament to support those suffering and enduring the ravaging drought, climate change and displacement. It is not about winning or losing, it’s the spirit to help the suffering in the society that matters,” said Duale.
“We cannot sit back and watch as people especially women and children die or suffer because of the current drought situation, we must join hands and help. We must be united,” Duale added.
The drought in the Horn of Africa has been emotionally and financially draining but Duale said he admired the fighting spirit.
“The Somali people and those in the region are very strong people, very resilient.”
That said, displacement continues to climb as millions across the region struggle to survive amid scarce water sources, hunger, insecurity, climate change and conflict.
With no immediate end in sight to one of the longest and most severe droughts on record, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is appealing for US$ 137 million to provide life-saving aid to 3.3 million refugees and internally displaced people who have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety and assistance, as well as affected local host communities.
Duale said the football tournament Dahabshiil Group is holding is just one of the many ideas that can be used to raise awareness to help those affected.
Caption: Part of the action during the Dahabshiil inter departmental football tournament that was used to help raise funds for victims of drought