Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world, coping with a harsh climate and environment and more than 30 years of internal conflict. Armed groups still control large portions of the country, and millions of people remain displaced. Climate change threatens particularly the majority of Somalis who depend on agriculture for a living. Fueled by climate shocks and conflict, food prices have increased dramatically and exacerbated hardship.
Somalia is experiencing the longest drought in at least 40 years. By the end of 2022, Somalia had witnessed the fifth dry rainy season, pushing the country towards famine. Almost eight million people (half the population) were in crisis: families were either not consuming enough food or selling livestock to meet minimum food needs. More than a million people were displaced due to drought in 2022, filling up camps. An estimated 1.8 million children had acute malnutrition.
Somalia is a complex country that has faced numerous crises (drought, disease and conflict) over the past decades. Food insecurity is almost constant, and the need for healthcare is paramount. Development and Peace – Caritas Canada partner Trocaire (Caritas Ireland) has been working in Somalia since 1992. Trocaire works with local authorities and communities to provide health care, including operating the only hospital and clinic network in the southwest region of Gedo, treating an average of 19,000 people every month. Trocaire’s longstanding presence in the area enables it to be trusted by communities and to strengthen local systems.
With support from Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Development and Peace – Caritas Canada is working with Trocaire in Gedo to identify and treat malnutrition. Specifically, Development and Peace – Caritas Canada is supporting Trocaire to screen children under five and early mothers for malnutrition. Those with severe acute malnutrition are treated in stabilizations centres or outpatient therapeutic programs. Trocaire also supports individuals through supplementary feeding programs to maintain gains made at the stabilization centres or with therapeutic feeding. Since the whole family – not just those diagnosed with acute malnutrition – is needy, Trocaire has started to supply food baskets. Trocaire also educates people on nutrition and identifying malnutrition.
Development and Peace – Caritas Canada helps Trocaire strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities. Women farmers are assisted in producing food for the household and increasing their access to nutritious foods. Activities include preparing land for cultivation, providing agricultural inputs (including diverse crop seeds and training in climate-sensitive and resilient agricultural and nutrition practices), and engaging in micro-gardening. Project participants also join savings and loan groups to encourage good financial planning and preparedness for financial shocks and stresses.
Development and Peace – Caritas Canada’s objective in Somalia is to deliver quality humanitarian programs that integrate health, nutrition, protection and basic education, while adopting a nexus approach1. We will continue to work with Trocaire and other partners to provide humanitarian support to mitigate the impacts of the drought, especially food insecurity and malnutrition. Development and Peace – Caritas Canada will also work with partners to strengthen community resilience by diversifying agricultural and non-agricultural production, thereby increasing capacities to cope with recurring humanitarian shocks and stresses.
 Nexus approach refers to the interlinkages between humanitarian, development and peace actions.