UN launches project to support IDPs in Somalia
A new four-year multi-million project named ‘Saameynta’ – ‘impact’ in Somali – was launched today to achieve durable solutions for more than 75,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and vulnerable host communities in Somalia.
Through this intervention, UN and its partners will work together with the Federal Government of Somalia to implement the National Durable Solutions Strategy. The project also seeks to decrease dependency on humanitarian aid, reduce poverty for thousands of impoverished individuals and promote IDPs integration in cities.
Saameynta´s unique approach aims to leverage the values generated by planned urbanization and investment in order to provide affordable housing, employment opportunities and community assets such as infrastructure, irrigation facilities, markets and other locally identified priorities for communities affected by displacement.
Saameynta will also increase the self-reliance and access to sustainable basic services, including water, shelter, and health services for IDPs residing in the cities of Baidoa, Bossaso and Beletweyne.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is leading the implementation of the project and will work together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN-HABITAT supported by the Integrated Office of the UN Resident Coordinator.
“IDPs suffer from a lack of opportunities to grow and develop in their new communities, which make it difficult for these groups to get out the poverty cycle,” said Ewa Naqvi, IOM Somalia Deputy Chief of Mission.
There are an estimated 2.9 million IDPs in Somalia due to decades of conflict and extreme weather events such as drought and floods – one of the highest figures of IDPs globally. Of these, 2.2 million require urgent humanitarian assistance.
As more areas across the country become inhabitable and traditional livelihoods increasingly unavailable, displaced communities in Somalia are heading to urban centres in search of basic goods and services. Most IDPs live in congested settlements and are often at risk of eviction by landowners.
“These IDPs are unlikely to return to their place of origin in the near future since their lands are now arid and unsuitable for farming or pastoralism,” said Adam Abdelmoula, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, during the launch of the project in Mogadishu.
Finding durable solutions to protracted displacement in Somalia is desperately needed to enhance the livelihood situation of IDPs and their host communities.
“Humanitarian assistance alone cannot address chronic issues such as mass displacement and recurrent droughts and floods. That is why durable solutions are a priority for the UN,” said Abdelmoula.
“The project will improve the living conditions of displaced persons, finally allowing them to to sustainably integrate in their host communities. The Ministry of Planning is proud to have spearheaded this project towards its implementation,” said Zahra Abdi, Director for Monitoring and Evaluation and Durable Solutions in the Federal Ministry of Planning, Investment and Economic Development of Somalia.
Failure to support these populations can also result in disenfranchisement, thereby increasing risks of radicalisation and criminality. For the next four years, the UN and its partners will enhance the capacities of local authorities to address urban displacement and support the development of new land policies to reduce the risk of forced eviction while improving the access to land for IDPs.
The project will also ensure the full participation of displaced women and girls living in overcrowded sites who continue to face a heightened risk of violence and harassment.
Saameynta comes at a crucial time as the displacement situation in the country has been further exacerbated by drought, closure of refugee camps in neighbouring countries and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The interventions will build on experiences and lessons learned from previous durable solutions projects in Somalia – such as the PBF funded Midnimo projects, DFID-funded Danwadaag programme, the European Union’s REINTEG programme, and DANIDA-funded Durable Solutions Programme.
Synergies amongst IOM, UNDP and UN-HABITAT for greater impact as demonstrated by Saameynta is also a possible model to be replicated in the region and a practical example of the Humanitarian, Development and Peace Nexus (HDPN).