In 1991, the Central Government collapsed and civil war followed, resulting in three geo-political blocks namely Somaliland, Puntland and Central South Somalia. The Federal Constitution of Somalia was adopted in 2012 and a Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), based in Mogadishu, was established in 2015 to deliver a peaceful political transformation of the country. However, protracted unrest and civil strife between federal government forces and opposing parties that do not recognise the government continue across the country. This has led to large areas being administered by armed authorities (Al-Shabaab) that pose the greatest threat to security and safety of all inhabitants and humanitarian workers. Armed conflicts and climate-related hazards are the main drivers of the displacement of an estimated 2.6 million people across Somalia.
The livelihoods of 60% to 70% of Somalis are based on crop and livestock production. Protracted armed conflicts have hampered investments, resulting in poor infrastructure, lack of employment opportunities, low income levels, and general poverty.
The 2017/18 drought, compounded by cyclone Sagar, resulted in 40% to 70% loss of livestock in pastoral areas. This has perpetuated the humanitarian situation with ever-increasing numbers of people facing acute food insecurity and in need of emergency food assistance to access food, water, health care and recovery of productive livelihood assets. The socio-economic situation was compounded by low livestock prices during the 2017/18 drought due to poor livestock body condition and low demand. Malnutrition remains ‘critical’ (global acute malnutrition (GAM): 15% to 29.9%) due to limited food availability and increased morbidity of livestock.
VSF Germany has been working in Somalia since 2006, implementing humanitarian and development programmes. The humanitarian interventions include emergency food security and livelihoods, animal health service and cash for work. The development intervention includes capacity building of communities, government institutions and private sectors on livestock value chain, animal health services, milk and meat production, food hygiene and safety, income generation, gender equality and improvement of market infrastructure.
VSF Germany implemented the BMZ-funded project Securing Livelihoods of Agro-pastoralist through Setting up and Strengthening of Livestock Value Chains and Promoting Infrastructure and Generating Income, which contributed to increased food security and household income through its innovation which target to achieve three broad results targeting 110,000 beneficiaries.
VSF Germany qualified CAHWs and linked them up with veterinary drug suppliers for improved veterinary health services for productive livestock. Producers, processors and vendors were trained on hygiene practices along the meat and dairy value chain. Hygienic equipment and business grants were provided to vendors and meat and milk sales points or stalls were built.
As a result, the beneficiaries (producers and vendors) have improved their household incomes and food security as improved hygienic practice and handling increased sales and reduced loss through spoilage. Training in business management and marketing skills also enabled the expansion of business by vendors and formation of groups in order to increase their supplies to different regions.
Training and equipping CAHWs has increased household incomes as they are able to diagnose diseases and treat animals on a cost-recovery basis while at the same time reducing livestock morbidity and mortality in their areas.
The Allah Amin group is a milk vendor group formed by VSF Germany through a BMZ-funded project in Hargeisa. The group was founded by individual milk vendors in Salahlay district. VSF Germany supported them in their voluntary formation and establishment of a group based on their talents. Development needs were determined by analysing the current status of the members before building capacities within the group. The assessment identified gaps in business management and marketing skills. The group received training on managerial skills, hygiene standards and practices. In addition, the group also received business development grants amounting to 12,000 USD from VSF Germany.
The training and business grant received by the group was beneficial since they were able to increase their production, keep clear financial records and generate new business ideas that enabled them to generate profits of 2,320 USD and counting. So far, each member has received an average of 103 USD.
As members of Allah Amin group, we share the work among ourselves: some members sell milk on the Salahlay Milk Market; others buy milk from the surrounding villages; others again take a day off to take care of their personal affairs and stay with their families for that day.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations calls for urgent action to end poverty and other deprivations. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our Project in the Spotlight contributes to achieving the following SDGs:
VSF Germany supports healthcare management of livestock to improve production and productivity. Livestock provides labour and income, builds social capital, provides resources to maintain and improve livelihoods, increases financial capital, serves as a liquid assets and savings account and is a buffer against sudden disasters. Over decades, the involvement of VSF Germany in eradicating rinderpest and in the on-going peste des petits ruminants (PPR) eradication campaign has contributed significantly towards protecting livestock assets of the rural poor in Africa.
Livestock increases direct consumption of healthy and nutritious animal-source foods (ASFs) at household level. A stronger and healthier national livestock sector makes ASF more affordable to everyone.
VSF Germany works to prevent and control zoonotic diseases to improve the safety of food of animal origin through better hygiene and raising awareness to protect the public health, and in particular children and the poor. Many neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are linked to animals. Animal production also contributes to growing antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which is of major concern worldwide. VSF Germany has embraced the One Health concept as an integrated programming approach in collaboration with human health and environmental actors to contribute to this goal.
Maurice joined VSF Germany in 2013 in the capacity of Kenya-Somalia Programme Coordinator. He has been the Country Director for the Kenya-Somalia Programme since 2018. He previously worked for the Government of Kenya, FARM Africa and Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI) in the northern parts of Kenya and Somalia. In his current role, his main responsibility includes development of country programmes and management of programmes, including building relationships with potential donors and stakeholders.
Maurice has more than two decades of experience in programme development and implementation of humanitarian and development actions. He has focused on food security, livelihoods, One Health and community, public and private institutions for development support in pastoral settings. He has attained a wide range of training in Public Health, Environmental Science, Animal Production and Health. Other short professional courses attended include monitoring and evaluation, gender mainstreaming, security management, epidemiology, disaster risk management, international law and human rights, and others.
Maurice sees his immediate future in the service of VSF Germany, devoting much of his time to fundraising efforts and staff-capacity building in emerging areas of need in the communities and of interest to donors. Maurice is hoping for continued professional development through in-house training on relevant professional courses in response to the diverse requirements of our dynamic programmes in terms of new know-how and skills. Maurice derives his motivation from successful project acquisitions, project implementation and positive feedback from beneficiaries and stakeholders, especially when he participates in stakeholders’ forums and receives compliments on the good work performed by VSF Germany staff in the field. He is also thrilled when he receives support from his colleagues from the region and from the headquarters in executing ideas to improve VSF Germany‘s programme performance in the two countries. An approval from the European Union for a three-year project under the SHARE Framework in Kenya in 2015 was a great success. Going forward, Maurice wants to strengthen internal organisational guidelines on management structures to enhance workflows and decision-making processes.