Real Medicine Foundation’s program (RMF), Emergency Aid Response to Drought Affected Communities, targets 150 vulnerable internally displaced persons (IDPs) households (about 900 beneficiaries) in two districts of Somalia: Kahda, Banaadir region and Adale, Middle Shabelle region. RMF’s program provides emergency food assistance in the form of monthly food baskets and food vouchers to the targeted families in these two districts. To implement this program, RMF partnered with a local nongovernmental organization, SAACID (Somali, meaning “to help”), which has been working in Hirshabelle State for more than 27 years. After initiating the program, we invited local district officials, IDP community elders, and the business and district community at large to a project orientation and requested their support and collaboration. We then also recruited some local staff, and the community agreed to work with us.
Soon after permission from the community was secured, the team carried out a market survey to determine the lowest priced, best quality foods and the capacity of local shops to provide these foods. The committee evaluated potential suppliers on the selection criteria, including quoted prices, quality, and capacity to deliver such large amounts of food commodities. They selected 4 shops from Kahda district and 2 from Adale, which met all conditions of the criteria.
With the help of district authorities, as well as the IDP and business communities, the team was able to successfully implement the project in both targeted districts:
Food distributions were set up easily and quickly, thanks to the good understanding established with IDP and business communities, as well as local government authorities. 150 famine affected families received food baskets during the reporting period.
Contents of each food basket:
In addition to receiving a food basket, each of the 150 IDP families received a voucher ration card during the distribution. These voucher ration cards allowed families to procure other household supplies or food as needed. The food voucher system worked well as a secure and reliable way of paying the shop owners. The IDP community feels empowered through the food voucher system, as they have something “equivalent to money.”
Shops selected for the project are easily accessible to vulnerable families, and the project has helped stimulate local markets in the targeted districts.
Drought and famine have wreaked havoc on the Somali people, especially young children. UNICEF predicts that by the end of 2017, a total of 1.4 million children under the age of 5 will suffer from acute malnutrition in Somalia, and 6.2 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. Malnourished children are more vulnerable to die from diseases like cholera and measles which have spread through Somalia. There have been 32,000 cases of cholera and more than 5,600 cases of measles reported in 2017 alone. The drought has also displaced more than 615,000 people from their homes. All donations going to Somalia contribute to providing food and safe drinking water to those affected most by the famine.