Although not recognised as a sovereign state by the international community, the autonomous region of Somaliland has been an island of relative political stability in the midst of the chaos and destruction that continues to unsettle the Horn of Africa. However, poverty and high levels of unemployment continue to make life challenging for the vast majority of Somaliland citizens. Despite improvements, the government struggles to provide basic goods and services to its people.
Moreover, climate change brings many challenges. The changing weather, droughts, floods and locust swarms mean that many families have to leave their homes, and rebuild their lives without social support structures in place.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it in Somaliland since 2002.
Drought, food insecurity, poverty and inequality are some of the challenges hindering efforts to get more children and young people into school in Somaliland.
Educational opportunities are particularly poor for school-aged children in rural areas and internally displaced persons in Somaliland.
Only 26% of children in rural areas and 16% of internally displaced children attend primary school.
Nearly seven out of ten people in Somaliland live on less than $1.90 per day, making it the sixth highest poverty rate in southern Africa. Poverty is both widespread and deep, especially in households in rural areas and in settlements for internally displaced persons (IDP). The number of people who experience food insecurity and suffer from long-term stress is trending upwards. Around 1.2 million children under five are likely to be acutely malnourished, including 213,400 who are likely to be severely malnourished.
Climate change is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Somaliland, sparked by years of civil war and a famine that ravaged much of East Africa and claimed the lives of 260,000 people in 2011. Droughts in 2016 and 2017 killed 80% of livestock, the major export and basis of Somaliland’s economy. In 2018, Tropical Storm Sagar, the strongest cyclone ever to make landfall in this part of the world, hit the region, displacing thousands of people from their homes. This year alone, 600,000 people were forced to leave their homes due to climate change related disasters.