The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has implemented a multi-sector response in the Banadir, Mudug and Nugaal regions of Somalia. With funds from the European Union (EU), the IRC has adopted an integrated approach, focusing on improving gaps in the nutrition and health sector, and promoting protection services for at-risk populations, including women and children. The EU has supported these programmes through humanitarian funding, having donated 1 million euros to the project.

Somalia is facing a multitude of issues that threaten to leave its population at severe risk of food insecurity, malnutrition, disease, and gender-based violence. Conflict and climatic events such as severe drought and flooding has put 17 out of every 100 Somalis at risk of being displaced, with an estimated 3.5 million Somalis in urgent need of food assistance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to complicate responses to the ongoing disasters. Restrictions on free movement and a ban on public gatherings have limited access to health facilities, slowed down community-based activities, and prevented women and girls from accessing protection initiatives such as gathering in safe spaces. 

The IRC has been present in Somalia since 1981, assisting around 280,000 people per year. With worsening conditions in the country, the IRC has been scaling up its response and adapting its programs quickly to the current situation. Through its partnership with the EU, the IRC integrated health, nutrition and women’s protection services to meet the needs of both IDPs and vulnerable host communities, utilising strong referral networks to meet the multifaceted needs of beneficiaries. With the help of the EU, the IRC was able to reach 178,716 individuals, including 67,453 women and 91,528 children.

Richard Crothers, Country Director for IRC Somalia said:

“The EU-funded project was able to provide vulnerable populations with multi-sectoral and integrated health, nutrition and protection interventions, which improved the overall livelihoods of those most affected by disasters and flooding. IRC’s partnership with a local organization (MPHDO) has also proven to increase the project’s effectiveness, ensuring local support for activities.”

The IRC is assisting affected communities in Somalia by running programs aimed at providing emergency relief, restoring clean water sources, providing primary healthcare services and filling gaps in existing facilities, providing cash assistance, and advancing human rights including activities aimed at prevention of gender-based violence and child protection.