The situation of Women and Children in Somalia
More than twenty years of conflict, mostly in southern Somalia, destroyed much of the infrastructure, economy and legitimate institutions. After Siad Barre’s government collapsed, in January 1991, the country fragmented. In 2012, a new federal government was established in Mogadishu and an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) force joined the Somali forces to fight the militant Al Shabaab group. Conflict continues in the South where access is problematic while in the north Somaliland and Puntland have remained relatively peaceful.
Somalia ranks amongst the ten poorest countries in the world . With a population of around 12.3 million it is estimated that 43 per cent of the population live in extreme poverty (less than 1 US dollar a day) and over half of the labour force are unemployed . The main source of livelihood is livestock management. The main livelihood groups are urban (42 per cent), rural (23 per cent), nomadic (26 per cent) and IDPs (9 per cent). Somalia’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of US $284 is the fifth lowest in the world. Remittances are estimated to account for 35 per cent of GDP.
Out of a population of 12.3 million, about 4.7 million people are dependent on humanitarian aid and livelihood assistance. (4.7). More than 300,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished, and 1.7 million children are out of school. The country is prone to drought and flooding and suffered a famine in the South in 2011 in which 258,000 people died – half of them under 5. There are 1.1 million people internally displaced with insecurity the major cause of displacement (86.2 per cent), followed by drought (7.8) and lack of livelihood opportunities and 1 million refugees in neighbouring countries.
UNICEF has been in Somalia since 1972, and has developed a nation-wide network of partnerships currently with nearly 100 international and national NGOs and community based organizations to deliver programmes and services in the areas of water, education, health, nutrition and child protection. The programme encompasses emergency response operations as well as and early recovery and development approaches. UNICEF programme is implemented and monitored through presence of over 160 staff based inside Somalia including in Mogadishu, Hargeisa, Baidoa and Garowe. UNICEF works with the authorities in Somalia, UN agencies, national and international NGOs.