Meeting Adolescent Girls at their point of Need Amid COVID19

The COVID 19 pandemic as with any crisis in a fragile state such as Somalia, has affected the availability of hygiene essentials of the often overlooked adolescent girls. Most of these girls live among the IDP community of Mogadishu and rely on free sanitary pads distributed at their schools or IDP camps by NGOs. However, limitations or reprioritization of donor funding means that the girls no longer have consistent access to these essential items.

“I used to get sanitary towels from my school in Kaxda. Now that supply is not available, I have to use pieces of cloth, which is very uncomfortable…I feel sad as I can’t do things normally, like household chores or sit down as I am afraid of soiling my clothes” reports 16-year-old Nuurto

Reusable sanitary pads distribution

NAPAD in partnership with DKH targeted 200 adolescent girls in Kaxda and Garasbaley camps, with a pack of reusable sanitary pads.

With an increased challenge of accessing food items in the market, or even get causal labour, my parents cannot afford stocking up on food as well as supplies like sanitary towels. The majority of families in my area will not consider sanitary towels as they are a luxury. That’s why we always depend on partners like NAPAD to supply to us such critically needed support,” Nuurto explains.

For Hawo 17, her concern is on adolescent girls who have irregular periods.

“…A number of us go through menstruation twice a month. Imagine how difficult the situation is for us. Before the intervention from NAPAD, I had no sanitary towels, it happens to all of us in the IDP camps. We have no choice but to use pieces of cloth… I was also surprised during the distribution that even mothers of the adolescent girls were desperate for them.”

Distribution centre

There is a need for more sanitary towels, not just in Garasbaley IDPs camp but in other IDP settlements and even in rural areas“. Yurub Abdi, NAPAD’s protection officer

COVID 19: Breaking Barriers to Behavior Change among IDPs

House to house hygeine promotion

Somalia is grappling with the implications of 2.6 million persons being internally displaced, and a huge percentage are located in Mogadishu and its environs. The outbreak of COVID-19 compounds the already fragile situation characterized by overpopulated IDP camps and little access to adequate water for good hygiene practices leaving the population highly vulnerable to disease outbreaks. Limited access to basic services such as water, sanitation, and health education challenges the adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures such as frequent handwashing.

NAPAD in partnership with Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe Somalia is supporting the internally displaced households within the IDP camps of Kaxda and Grasbaley IDPs in Mogadishu, who are at heightened risk of coronavirus transmission to improve their hygiene practices through improved access to water and aggressive hygiene promotion outreaches

NAPAD has installed handwashing stations in various health centers, such as the   Bulsha Bilan health center, in Kaxda IDP Camp, and at the Community Centre in Garasbaley IDPs center.  NAPAD has also ensured that there is regular water and soap supply at the handwashing stations.  

Handwashing facilities established at  Bulsha Bilan health center

This handwashing facility is extremely useful to us. Everyone coming into the health facility washes their hands using this machine with ease unlike before when we were using a 3-liter water container for handwashing…. this center receives more than 25 patients each day. The handwashing installation has helped raise hygiene standards in the health facility”.  Reports Hamdi Ali, a community health worker in charge of the Bulsha Bilan health center facility.

COVID 19 Hygiene promotion in a Health Center

Appropriate COVID 19 IPC and hygiene information promotion is another approach by NAPAD through intensified household and community risk communication and social mobilization activities in the camps. Ten hygiene educators drawn from Kaxda and Grasbaley were trained and facilitated by NAPAD to engage households on Covid-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in the local language. The team, equipped with local language Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials has reached 2032 households in 18 IDP cluster segments with appropriate Covid-19 IPC mitigation measures messages

Hygiene promotion in camps

The hygiene promoters also curbed local myths and misconceptions that promoted misinformation of the infectious COVID 19 among the camp populations by providing relevant information approved by WHO and Ministry of Health Covid-19 prevention guidelines.

Hygiene promoters during camp outreaches

Enabling Resilient Agro-pastoral Livelihoods

According to the Somalia Food Security Outlook, October 2020 to May 2021, acute food insecurity is expected to remain high in Somalia through May 2021. This situation is perpetuated by varying impacts of localized floods and below-average rainfall, a worsening desert locust infestation in central and parts of southern Somalia, and the economic contraction linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The population facing food consumption gaps is set to increase from 2.1 million as documented in late 2020 to 2.5 by mid-2021 according to the same report.  NAPAD addresses food insecurity through humanitarian aid and by establishing long-term agricultural interventions that protect livelihoods and secure the food security of affected communities.

Along the stretch of the Jubba river sits a 24-acre piece of lush land in Korey village. Amid the scorching sun, mothers are harvesting maize, beans, and fodder for their animals. The farm hosts 50 riverine farmers from Korey village, Dolow district.  Farming is persistently affected by erratic rainfall, Perennial River flooding, high-cost of pumping irrigation water using old diesel engines, poor farming skills, poor quality farm inputs and economic vulnerabilities. 

Ali in his maize field

Standing in the middle of his maize field is 36 years old Ali Mohamud, a father of six children.  It has been 5 months since Ali and the other 49 farmers started farming this piece of land and have been an exciting journey for them.

Early 2020, Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development in collaboration with Terre Des-Hommes (TdH) and  BMZ Germany implemented a building resilience project that aims to improve food security in vulnerable communities like in Korey Village of Dolow District, Somalia.

Korey Shallow Well

‘’ We were very excited when the NAPAD program team came to us with this project that would empower us to advance our farming. It was on condition that we show serious commitment to farming. Before only a small portion of this land was under irrigation. The land was barren and bushy. We cleared, ploughed…‘’ Recalls Ali.

Korey Water Tank

NAPAD partnered with community leaders and the administration to identify the 24 acres of land and the 50 farmers. The land is situated far away from the flooding areas.  The farmers also formed 5 farmers groups for better coordination and monitoring.

Maize farm

NAPAD dug a shallow well near the river and installed a solar-water-pumping system which now enables the farmers to pump water from the river throughout the year without fuel cost and minimal technical problems. The solar pumping system is operated by locals trained by NAPAD.

“Previously, the diesel-powered pump was very expensive to maintain but now, Alhamdulillah! We are very happy and delighted because we can farm at any time of the year and engine worries are not in our discussions.’ said the father of six.

Farmer feeding earthen canals with water

The farmers have integrated agro-forestry with trees being planted along the river basins and in the farms to help prevent soil erosion.  To increase crop production, NAPAD provided farm inputs such as crop seeds as well as training to enhance farmers’ knowledge of farming. 

Farmers receiving farm in puts

“We participated in farmer’s field days and agroforestry training organised by NAPAD. We gained knowledge we didn’t have. We were taught on advanced farming and how to increase farm production and here we are applying the knowledge,” said a proud Ali.

NAPAD agronomist conducting farmer field days

The farmers have turned the farms into flourishing paradise, growing different crop varieties such as onions, tomatoes, maize, cow peas, Sudan grass, and fruits

Onion Farms

 “We immensely thank NAPAD and the donors for their unwavering support. Without them, all this could have not been possible.’’  Ali.

Farmer also harvest fodder for their animals

Long-term Partner Medico International Visits NAPAD Project Sites

Long-term NAPAD partner Medico International (MI) made a week-long visit to projects implemented in Somalia’s Galgadud region. From October 9-13 2019, MI Project Coordinator Hendrik Slusarenka toured 13 project sites in where previous and current projects have been implemented by NAPAD.

Accompanied by NAPAD Executive Director, Dr. Abdullahi Hersi, NAPAD Director of programs, Francis Kage, Somalia projects Coordinator, Ahmed Warsame, and field staff, MI held stakeholder, community and needs analysis meetings, met with local administration and assessed impact of projects. MI also paid courtesy visits to NAPAD’s Mogadishu and Nairobi offices.

NAPAD and MI holds meeting with the Alla-Amin IDP Community

NAPAD through MI and German Federation Foreign Office (GFFO) has previously implemented disaster recovery, humanitarian and food aid programs. Currently, implementation of a Project in South Central Somalia and Mandera, Kenya targeting 7,970 vulnerable households of IDP and host communities by providing emergency relief through cash transfers, protection of livelihoods and WASH interventions is underway.

Emergency Relief and Protecting Livelihoods

Assessing the impact of the cash transfers, NAPAD and MI visited beneficiaries in Landheer and Ala-amin IDP Camps. The two IDP Camp hosts vulnerable people displaced in the aftermath of drought, conflict and flooding. Lack of access to basic needs in the area mean that most IDPs have no access to food, water, education and lead an impoverished life.

Through Medico, NAPAD is currently conducting a multi-purpose transfers targeting 2,500 vulnerable households in Banadir and Galgadud regions facing hunger. With the first round of $124 to each household having being disbursed, the amount will be disbursed two more times in the next two months to meet acute food needs and other urgent needs. NAPAD and MI met with the beneficiaries of the unconditional cash transfers who shared the impact that had received made in addressing their immediate needs of food, water and medicine.

One of the beneficiaries speaks to the team during the field visit. 2,500 households have received emergency cash transfers to enable them to meet their daily food and other basic needs

 “I am very thankful to NAPAD and its partners, and I prefer cash instead of food when it comes to emergency responses,” said Saynabo, one of the cash transfer beneficiaries from Landheer IDP Camp.

The visit also gave a chance for the team to assess needs in Schools whereby WASH facilities have been set up previously. They also visited Abudwaq Poultry Farm which is strategizing itself as an agricultural and livestock training hub.

A school in Landheer Village. NAPAD and MI assessed needs in schools

NAPAD and MI also visited water projects and WASH facilities in Herale, Labogale & Balihowd where boreholes, solar pumping systems, water points and kiosks have been established.

NAPAD Programs Coordinator (left) guides MI Program Coordinator (right) in a tour of one of the lander village farms which benefited as a result of a solar powered Borehole

The team also supervised the ongoing construction of an elevated water tank and a water kiosk in Inagabiley.  By easing access and improving water quality, the water facilities have transformed the lives of the community who no longer have to trek for hours in search of water. 

NAPAD Executive Director, Dr. Abdullahi Hersi and MI Program Coordinator, Hendrik Slusarenka inspect a Borehole Solar system in Landheer Village

They also met with communities who benefited from animals feeds distributed to 900 households in Galgadud earlier in the month. The distribution ensured that a total of 18,000 livestock are protected during the drought-stricken period. The team also visited some areas where livestock treatment of 35,200 animals is ongoing and visited animal watering troughs. targeted for rehabilitation.

Ongoing livestock treatment in Labogale area. Under the partnership, over 35,000 animals will be treated in Galgadud

It Doesn’t Stop There

Meetings with Abudwak local authorities, women groups, youth and community representatives laid bare the impact of the projects. They encouraged NAPAD and its partners to continue its humanitarian and development efforts in the region welcomed the project implementation and its positive impact.

NAPAD Executive Director (3rd left), Programs Director (left), Project Coordinator (third right) and MI Program Coordinator,(second left) meet with Abudwaq District Commissioner (centre) and local administration

NAPAD and Medico International have forged a long standing partnership since 2012 and have since implemented five projects in Gedo region, Somalia and Mandera, Kenya. Echoing the field visits, it was evident that NAPAD and MI have made real impact and will continue to partner in enhancing and empowering lives of people in Somalia and Kenya.

Cash for work

The Main elements of the actions of the project composed of rehabilitation works of water-catchments, farm canals and feeder roads by workers from poor drought affected agro-pastoral households in the districts of Garbahaarey/Buur Dhuubo, Belet Xaawo and Luuq, Gedo region Somalia and working on the basis of Cash for Work at the rate US$ 3 per person per day for 60 days plus 12 days of free cash payment at same rate.

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