King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) and the UK Government Commit US$5 Million to Combat Malnutrition in Somalia through UNICEF

08 May 2024
Signing event in Riyadh
UNICEF

RIYADH, 6-7 May 2024 – In a significant boost to efforts aimed at combating severe acute malnutrition in Somalia, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) and the UK Government have announced a US$5 million partnership with UNICEF. This funding is crucial to support the scale-up of UNICEF’s nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in six regions across Somalia.

UNICEF will implement these vital services through the following downstream partners Trocaire, Mercy USA Action Against Hunger and Save the Children.

Mike Nithavrianakis, British Ambassador to Somalia, has expressed the UK Government’s commitment to this partnership which will help hundreds of women and children receive the care they urgently need:

‘Somalia is facing significant challenges related to climate shocks including droughts and flooding which have had a devastating impact on health and nutrition needs. Our partnership with KSrelief offers a unique opportunity to tackle the ongoing malnutrition situation in Somalia at scale. We are committed to working with partners including UNICEF to improve the health and lives of Somalia’s most vulnerable women and children. This funding will help reach over 100,000 children and pregnant and lactating women’.

Dr. Abdullah Al Moallem, Director of Health and Environmental Aid for KSrelief, stated that the goal of the project is to address severe and acute malnutrition in 15 districts in Somalia. Beneficiaries will include more than 100,000 children who are in a state of severe acute malnutrition, and their families will receive ready-made foods and nutrients and hygiene kits. Health education will also be provided to parents and communities to help treat and prevent malnutrition. The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia will each donate more than USD 2 million to this 12-month UNICEF project.

The urgent need for an increase in nutrition and WASH services has been exacerbated by ongoing insecurity, access constraints and extreme weather events, including droughts and floods, which have severely compromised food security, and access to nutrition services, safe water and sanitation across the country. Up to 4 million people, including 1.7 million children under five, are facing high levels of food insecurity predicted to last until June 2024. Critical malnutrition care and treatment will be required for these children.

Eltayeb Adam, UNICEF Gulf Area Office Representative, thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UK and KSrelief for their continued partnership, which has been instrumental in providing aid to millions of vulnerable children: 

"With this generous donation, we are set to expand our nutrition interventions, offering an integrated basic nutrition service package that will benefit over 100,000 children and pregnant and lactating women.’’

In close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, this programme aims to enhance early detection, referral and treatment of children with severe acute malnutrition, and to supply nutrient rich therapeutic food for this target population. Community awareness of these services including on where they are provided will be conducted through community health workers. Hygiene kits, which will include water purifying tablets and soap for handwashing will also be distributed to families with malnourished children, while WASH infrastructure in health facilities will be improved to promote positive hygiene practices.

This partnership will ensure Somali children are less likely to be malnourished or to suffer the effects of malnutrition.

Media contacts

Victor Chinyama
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Somalia
Tel: +252613375885
Georgina Woodhouse-Hills
Head of Communication
British Embassy Mogadishu
Tel: +254 114 878 117

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

UNICEF has been working in Somalia since 1972 when its first office opened in Mogadishu. Today UNICEF has over 300 staff working in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Dollow, Garowe, Hargeisa and also Nairobi, Kenya. Together with 200 international and national NGOs and community-based organizations, UNICEF delivers services in Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education and Child Protection, and responds to emergencies and supports peace-building and development.

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