Clean water relieves the stress on drought-stricken families in Somalia
A UNICEF and SOPHPA partnership funded by UNCERF provides life-saving water access to IDP camps
As the fierce, midday sun blazes over the Daniyle IDP camp just outside Mogadishu, the Somali capital, Fatima sits inside her family's makeshift shelter with her newborn daughter, Maryama. The family of four arrived at the camp two months ago after drought and lack of water made farming impossible in their hometown in Lower Shabelle.
"Leaving our home and fields behind was the hardest thing we've ever had to do," she says. "But we had no choice. We had to come here to survive."
Before the construction of a water point nearby, the family was forced to pay two thousand Somali shillings (about US$0.20) for a jerrican of water, an amount that is unaffordable to most IDPs.
"This water has been a source of relief for us," says Fatima, referring to the life-saving water project implemented by UNICEF partner SOPHPA. "We're grateful for the water on our doorstep. It has made a huge difference in our daily lives, especially with a newborn."
In 2022, UNICEF, with support from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UNCERF), upgraded and connected one water system in this part of the Danyile area to the IDP camp and built multiple water points and latrines, changing the lives of Fatima’s family and other IDPs. Today Fatima and other mothers collect clean and safe water from the water points that are literally a step away from their huts.
The program has been successful in addressing the urgent needs of communities facing water scarcity and poor sanitation. SOPHPA's WASH Officer, Ali Hussein Youssouf, emphasised the importance of such partnerships to address the pressing needs of vulnerable populations. "Partnerships with UNICEF and other stakeholders have enabled us to reach more communities and improve their access to WASH services," he said.
With UNCERF funding, UNICEF has been working round the clock to provide communities clean water and basic sanitation services. Over 180,000 people living in communities across several regions in Somalia have benefitted.
These communities have received a complete package of WASH services, including emergency water supply, sustainable water supply systems, shared sanitation facilities and hygiene items to address the acute needs.
The communities targeted received a complete package of WASH services, including emergency water supply, sustainable water supply systems, shared sanitation facilities, and hygiene items to address their acute needs. This initiative is an essential resource to improve the lives of those affected by drought and conflict. Thanks to the generous support of UNCERF, UNICEF is helping to ensure that basic needs, such as clean water, are met for the most vulnerable populations in Somalia.
Despite their challenges, the family is grateful for the community support they have received from those in a better situation. This is the first time they have had to flee from their home, and they plan to stay in the area for as long as the drought continues. Their story is just one of many that highlight the devastating impact of drought and lack of access to resources on families in the region.
As the night falls over the camp, Fatima looking down at her sleeping baby, she says "We may have had to leave our home, but we have found a community here that supports us, and with access to clean water, we can start to rebuild our lives."