Fighting Droughts with Sustainable Agriculture
Somaliland is not Somalia – this distinction is extremely important to the East African de-facto state: Rights of co-determination and democratic elections matter greatly to both government and population. They do not want to be associated with the failing state of Somalia, which continues to experience chaos and terror. Welthungerhilfe is helping people in Somaliland confront the challenges they face: climate change and social problems.
A Stronghold of Stability and Democracy?
Somaliland presents itself as a stronghold of stability and democracy. Judging by the level of violence, it is significantly safer than other parts of Somalia. It has also held regular elections with peaceful transfers of power since declaring independence in 1991. Despite a lack of international recognition, Somaliland was, until recently, regarded as a success story known for its focus on reconciliation and maintaining a deft balance of power between the various clans. However, the postponement of the 2015 elections and the unusually harsh reaction to the ensuring protests raise suspicions that a power-hungry political elite is forming here as well.
Over half of Somaliland’s population lives in poverty; according to government data from 2011, more than 60% of people live beneath the poverty line. The majority of its approximately four million citizens live as nomadic cattle herders, but this way of life is being increasingly supplemented by agriculture.
Drought Keeps Country in Suspense
The effects of climate change are particularly severe for people who earn their daily bread as herders or farmers: In the past decade, there has been little rain. The soil and the forests are in large part so damaged that they can no longer be used as farmland or pasture. The majority of the rural population also has no clean water. In the spring of 2017, hundreds of thousands of people and their livestock were suffering from shortages of water and food. Because many people can no longer make a living from animal husbandry or agriculture, the government has appealed to the international community for help.
Help for Smallholders and Women
Welthungerhilfe is already supporting people. The organisation has been active in the northern province of Awadal, which borders Djibouti, for 15 years. It helps smallholders to react to climate change with adapted cultivation methods and seeds.
Another major social problem in Somaliland is the deeply-rooted structural discrimination against women. The female segment of society has little access to education, and many women and girls can neither read nor write, leaving them disadvantaged throughout their lives. In order to combat this discrimination on a structural level, all Welthungerhilfe projects support the informal education of women and girls.