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

Solar Energy Improves Food Security of Pastoralists in Abudwak

Dalsan, a village roughly 20km from Abudwak town, hosts 400 households who rely on a diesel-powered generator. The high cost of running the generator and regularly breakdown forced the Dalsan community to turn to unsafe water sources such as water ponds.

“Getting water was our main challenge, and when the generator broke down, which was the norm, we would buy water from the town at exorbitant prices. Those who could not afford to buy water resorted to fetching water from the dirty ponds”, reports Abdi Hassan Ali, a father of 7 children and the community leader of Dalsan Village.

Solar panels installed to power water pumping at the Dalsan Borehole.

It’s under these conditions that Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) with funding from Somali Humanitarian Fund (SHF) intervened in Dalsan village with a project whose objective was improving food security by providing a hybrid solar water pumping system that would increase water for livestock use as well as diversification into vegetable production through kitchen gardening.

Now this solar has closed that gap and made access to water easier with fewer worries about fuel costs, and whether or not the generator will break down. The solar pumps the water, and we fill the elevated tank, and it’s sufficient”, Reports Abdi Hassan Ali.


The solar-powered water pumping system has increased the output of water from the borehole by 50%. With this increase, NAPAD conducted a 3-day training for 50 women-headed households on kitchen gardening. The project then provided farm inputs in the form of various vegetable seeds and farming equipment to support them start their Kitchen-gardens.

NAPAD agronomist monitor kitchen gardens

“We are grateful for the kitchen garden, with no shortage of water I can engage in other productive activities for the betterment of family and give time to my kitchen garden”, says Zainab, a resident of Dalsan Village and a mother of 5 where she now grows Kale, spinach, capsicum, hot pepper and watermelon, and she plans to expand the garden to cater for local market demand

KITCHEN GARDENS DIVERSIFY DIETS FOR PASTORALISTS IN ABUDWAK

Abudwak, Galmudug state being arid and water scarce, there is a common perception that it is not suitable for farming.  Farming is the least thing discussed in many households in this remote part of the country. That notion is slowly fading away for many households after NAPAD introduced kitchen garden farming for pastoralist communities in Abudwak.

It’s 6.00 am; mama Fatuma is watering her small kitchen garden in her plot, a routine she has religiously observed for the last three months since she was introduced to kitchen gardening by NAPAD. Mama Fatuma’s 10M by 5M kitchen garden looks promising. Within a month of planting her seeds and seedlings, the plants have begun to bear fruits, first Capsicum, Tomatoes, kales, and watermelon. The excited mother of 8 can’t believe her progress and can’t help but admire her work.  Her farm will produce enough vegetables for her family use and sell them in the local market.

Now Abudwak comes to us

MAMA FATUMA
Mama Fatuma in a discussion with NAPAD agronomist

“We no longer travel to Abudwak town to get vegetables. I have plenty in my compound. We get it anytime we want. Now Abudwak comes to us’’, Reports the new farmer.  In addition to growing food for her family, Fatuma can sell some of the vegetables she grows. For example, she sells each capsicum at 10 cents Dollar. “This morning I sold two Kgs of tomatoes and 1kg of capsicum to a grocery in Abduwak town’’ says delighted Fatuma.

NAPAD, in partnership with Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF), is implementing a project that promotes diversification into kitchen gardens by the pastoralist community for a sustainable supply of nutritious fresh vegetables and fruits. Water for this farming is supplied by the village boreholes in Dalsan and Hulkujur villages in Abudwak district.

NAPAD through SHF funding has solarized water pumping in these boreholes, increasing their water output, reducing the cost of pumping the water, and employing sustainable renewable energy to pump the water.  The increased water output ensures that the community has enough water for domestic use, livestock use, and now for their kitchen gardening. “Before the kitchen garden farming, we used to have this belief that farming does well only where rivers flow. We have realized you can farm anywhere when water is available” says Mama Fatuma

Mama Fatuma assesses her capsicums

NAPAD, with the support of the community elders, identified 100 women from Dalsan and Hulkujur villages in Abudwak who were trained in kitchen farming.  The women were provided with farm inputs which include vegetable seeds and farm tools. Fatuma is among 100 beneficiaries of this project.  The approach seeks to diversify sources and quality of food and nutrients for vulnerable persons such as women and children. This is the first time Mama Fatuma and the other women were introduced into farming as this pastoralist community relies more on livestock production for food.

Mama Fatuma’s spinach grown in a gunny sack

Now that these women farmers have registered success in kitchen garden farming, many other women are willing to learn, so that they too can venture and replicate the success story in kitchen garden farming.   Mama Fatuma dreams to have a big farm that will supply the whole of Abudwak town. She appreciates NAPAD and their staff for introducing them to vegetable farming. “We say thank you to NAPAD and the donors for giving us this knowledge we didn’t have. May Allah bless you”.  

GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY 2020: HAND HYGIENE FOR ALL

NAPAD commemorates #GlobalHandwashingday2020.

If there was ever a time when people accepted the importance of handwashing using soap, it has to be 2020. Most especially in Somalia, apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, the region has also grappled with flooding.  According to UNOCHA the floods forced at least 167,000 people into displacement camps with little to no clean water, increasing the risk of AWD/Cholera outbreaks. Since the beginning of this year, the cumulative total number of suspected cholera cases in Somalia has been 5925, including 31 associated deaths, according to the Ministry of Health Somalia. At the same time, COVID-19 infections have been 3,941, with 104 related deaths.

Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent these diseases. The world commemorated the Global Handwashing Day on 15 October 2020, with this year’s theme being Hand hygiene for all, calling for all of society to achieve universal hand hygiene and focusing on the importance of handwashing equity.

As part of the Global Hand Washing Day campaign, NAPAD, NORWEGIAN CHURCH AID, GERMAN FEDERAL FOREIGN OFFICE AND MEDICO INTERNATIONAL focused on increasing community awareness on the importance of handwashing with soap to improve hygiene practices, especially among young children. With support from these partners, NAPAD conducted two handwashing campaigns simultaneously in Abudwak and Dollow Somalia.

Residents of Dayah Village with local language pamphlets on proper hand hygiene
Residents of Dayah Village Dollow Somalia practicing #HforHandwashing commemorating #GlobalHandwashingDay .

In Dollow Somalia, our team conducted hygiene awareness campaigns in Dayah village. The activities facilitated by NAPAD and NORWEGIAN CHURCH AID saw 80 community elders, women groups, religious leaders, and students discuss the importance of hygiene, which all starts by cleaning one’s hands properly to stop the spread of germs and illness and particularly in this COVID-19 pandemic period. Activities included training through modules and demonstrations focused on washing hands, washing them effectively, and the prevention methods of COVID-19. All 80 participants pledged to maintain hygiene practices through handwashing with soap and water. Each participant received a t-shirt, pamphlets on proper hand hygiene, and soap bars, supporting their continued practices on effective handwashing.

Children in Ayatin Primary Abudwak Somalia practicing proper hand washing techniques.

In Abudwak, thanks to GERMAN FEDERAL FOREIGN OFFICE AND MEDICO INTERNATIONAL, the event held at Ayatin Primary attracted approximately 160 attendees—including students, parents, and teachers. The celebration emphasized the importance of handwashing to prevent diseases, the necessity of using soap instead of only water, how everyone’s health can benefit from washing their hands, and the critical times for hand washing, including before and after eating and after visiting the toilet. Additionally, handwashing soap and handwashing facilities were given to the school. The intention was to stretch past raising awareness and promote behavior change—making handwashing less of an unfamiliar, daunting task and more of an essential behavior at critical points of the day, particularly among children. They are the most significant change agents in society.

FEEDING THE HUNGER FOR EDUCATION IN GEDO REGION SOMALIA

Belet -Hawa located along the border in Gedo Region shares a long insecure border line with Kenya and Ethiopia. Cyclic drought, armed conflict, limited services and severe food insecurity are key recurrent problems experienced in the district. Children have been the ones to bear the brunt of food insecurity as they are prone to malnourishment. As the children struggle to concentrate in class, their schooling suffers, leading to high levels of truancy.

To improve the health and learning capacity of 7,177 children enrolled in 22 schools, Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) implemented a school feeding program supported by World Food Programme (WFP). The target schools are vulnerable community schools with no access to such crucially needed support. The children are provided with two nutritious hot meals daily.

Students of Baletamin Primary School queue for their hot lunch

A frenzy of excitement is heard in the dusty yard of Baletamin Primary school. Small eager hands stretch out in queues as they wait to be served. Not being sure of what they will have for dinner, lunchtime for these children means they get an opportunity to access food rich in nutrients which meets the dietary demands. The head teacher tells us that most children in the school are from vulnerable households and therefore heavily reliant on such programs that contribute significantly to their daily nutrients requirements.

A teacher serving a student a hot meal portion.

“The school feeding program has contributed significantly to pupils’ retention and enrolment compared to schools not supported by the program. The school has seen an increase in enrolment and improved individual academic performance, as the children now observe high levels of attentiveness and has reduced absenteeism due to illness associated with malnutrition. “says the school head teacher.

This daily meal provision at the school has provided parents with a strong incentive to send their children to attend classroom sessions and access quality education service. Food for their children is one less thing parents have to worry about.

Amina, a parent of four students at the school, says, “Looking for nutritious food for ten children is not easy, many times we survive on only one meal a day. My family and I have been relying on food aids, which sustains us for only a short period; however, the school feeding program introduced by NAPAD has motivated me to send and ensure that my children remain in school. After all, the future belongs to them. If I fail to prepare them, then the vicious cycle of poverty will never end. We are truly grateful to NAPAD for coming to our aid.”