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

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.