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

Water is now Accessible in Dayax


Solar panel installed to pump water from the shallow well to the water kiosk

Dayax Village is a village located 12 km from Dollow and 2.5 km to the river Dawa. For the Dayax village residents, accessing clean and affordable water has been a problem for generations.  Women and children have had a hard time traveling many kilometers a day in search of water. The only water source a shallow well was in a dilapidated state due to damages by floods. The residents struggled to access water due to lack of any other water sources for domestic use and their livestock. The community was left in limbo years ago after the main diesel engine used to pump water developed a technical problem and was not repaired due to financial problems.


Nima Muhamud collecting water from the water kiosk

Nima Mohamud, mother of two recalls how the water situation was dire before NAPAD’s intervention. Nima and her fellow women experienced many challenges to quench their families’ thirst daily. In groups, women used to trek roughly 5 kilometers to and from river Dawa, twice a day as a daily routine to fetch water for their families.

Early in the morning I will go to the river in the company of other women equipped with my Jerri cans, fetch water for my family. We traveled for one hour to and from the river”. Nima narrates.

The tiresome journey of fetching water was worsened by insecurity especially for the young girls as it was not safe to go collect water on their own. Wild animals such as crocodiles also posed a threat for those fetching water in the river. 


Young girls from Dayax Village comfortably collecting water from the new water kiosk

To help resolve these problems, NAPAD with funding from Norwegian Church Aid- through the ‘Drought Resilience Program’, implemented a WASH project that has now enabled residents of this village to access clean, safe, and affordable water within at least 500m from their homesteads. 

The newly constructed water kiosk

The intervention comprised of the rehabilitation of Dayax shallow well near the river Dawa which was achieved through Cash for Work, the establishment of a hybrid solar water pumping system, rehabilitation of water pipework from the shallow well to the water kiosk, and the construction of a water kiosk in village.


Rehabilitated Dayax village Shallow well

It has been three months since the Dayax village residents started enjoying clean, safe, and affordable water. The water kiosk is now strategically built about 500 meters away from the homesteads to reduce the distance walked to and from the village. The water kiosk is also fitted with 8 taps and serves eight people at once and is serving approximately 1500 residents of  Dayax village.

The whole village is a few minutes away from the kiosk, we access the water anytime and at any moment. From morning to evening and even night.  Previously, the water we fetch was never enough but now plenty…On behalf of the village, want to thank NAPAD for establishing this important project for us. We say thank you NAPAD and the donors who made this project possible’’.  appreciated Nima. 

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

BRINGING HOPE IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC

Since March 2020, when Somalia recorded its first COVID-19 case, NAPAD has supported the COVID-19 response in its areas of operation through awareness creation and provision of hygiene kits. Our staff are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, staying optimistic, and confident in the face of uncertainty. For the field staff, working from home is a privilege they could not undertake as the communities they serve still need immediate humanitarian interventions.

Abdiweli Hassan, one of NAPAD’s project managers’, shares his experience working in the field amid a pandemic.

Abdiweli Hassan, NAPAD’s Women Economic Empowerment Project Manager, demonstrating proper handwashing techniques.

I am Abdiweli Hassan, Women Economic Empowerment Project Manager in Kismayo, Somalia. I describe myself as a change agent dedicated to helping the less fortunate develop the capacity to transform their lives and their communities.

My work is driven by the fact that I can protect human dignity by providing basic needs to the most vulnerable people. I get a lot of satisfaction when I see people smile as they receive the basic things they used to have in their homes, but are deprived of in their current situation.

News of the COVID19 pandemic in Kismayu came as a big shock with a blend of emotions of mostly anxiety, confusion, and panic. I was mainly scared for the community I was working with as this was a foreign concept, and we were ill-prepared. For many of us, a pandemic was something we had never experienced in all our lives. There was barely any knowledge about the virus in the area. News of the disease immediately affected every sector of the community, from public movement, gatherings, travel, occupations, and even trust between people.

As a project, we immediately halted all types of engagements for the first week after the pandemic announcement in Kismayo. It was even a challenge to access any personal protective equipment (PPE). We then gradually planned how we would conduct our operations within the pandemic, ensuring we protect ourselves and our beneficiaries. We procured facemasks, sanitizers, soaps, and developed social distancing mechanisms for our training and offices. We then conducted several community awareness campaigns through local languages and sensitized the community on prevention measures. We also procured handwashing stations that would be used for our trainings and community engagements.

Once we felt confident that we had put up the required safety measures, we resumed our trainings (though now mini style meetings of 15 participants) while maintaining the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID 19 guidelines. The community received all the changes positively and willingly adopted the regular hand washing and wearing of facemasks as a new culture. This willingness to adapt motivates me to do more for the community.

One of the most inspiring moments during this pandemic was when one of the groups we had trained on shampoo and soap, making donated liquid handwashing soap to our beneficiaries during our training. It was a very motivating day for me that verified the resilience of these communities that despite the innumerable challenges they face, they still had a sense of togetherness.

By protecting ourselves, we are being our brothers’ keepers and protecting them, too; and this is the only way we will fight this disease.

Abdiweli Hassan

My advice to the community and other frontline workers is that we should first protect ourselves, ensuring we wash our hands regularly, wear facemasks, and maintain social distancing. By protecting ourselves, we are being our brothers’ keepers and protecting them, too; and this is the only way we will fight this disease.

LIVESTOCK FOR LIVELIHOODS: Increasing Household Income for Pastoralists in Gedo Somalia

Sahara Adan having her goat treated in Deka village Gedo

Deka Village, Elwak district in Gedo Somalia has been the home of 38-year-old Sahara Adan Dhicis for the past 8 years. A widow and the sole breadwinner for her 8 children, Sahara relies on her small herd as the only source of income for her household. For residents of Deka village, wealth has always been measured by the size of one’s herd, their livestock is a crucial source of food (milk) and a mobile bank that can be converted into cash for health expenses, school fees, etc.

A herd of goats in Deka village

For years drought and animal ailments have been the worst mishaps that could manifest to this community. “It was so distressing, watching as our animals die and there was nothing we could do about the diseases. We could barely get any milk for the children,“ Sahara reflects. Diseases not only claimed the lives of animals but also undermined their productivity, resulting in less milk and meat and also lowering their market prices.

“When our livestock got sick we would give them medicine by guessing the diseases they were suffering from and most times it would worsen the condition because we would give them wrong treatment or misuse the drug quantity, “Says Sahara

Lack of animal health services in the region has crippled the efforts of increasing productivity of pastoralists livestock and more so for the vulnerable households such as IDPs. To intervene in this dire situation,  NAPAD together with the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) and Medico International has trained and equipped 15 Community Health Workers with skills to diagnose and treat livestock diseases. The project seeks to reduce livestock morbidity, thereby improving productivity for household consumption and household income. This intervention has seen 450 households being provided with veterinary care of 28,000 animals.

Animal treatment activity with trained Community Health Workers

My children now drink more milk.

Sahara adan

“My animals were treated during the free treatment drive in our village. The animals were given treatment for worms, pneumonia, and parasites. Our animals are now healthy and thriving despite it being the rainy season when diseases are quite rampant. My children now drink more milk,” says a beaming Sahara. “I thank NAPAD for the support they have given our community”.