Children in Somalia are facing some of the worst humanitarian situations, with some 300,000 under the age of five diagnosed as being malnourished.
Overall, 5.6 million Somalians are facing a form of food insecurity following ongoing droughts and crop failures, meaning millions of families are unable to provide essential food and water to their children. This has resulted in over 400,000 Somalian children being acutely malnourished.
Climate change is causing reduced rainfall which is increasing crop failures and livestock deaths, leaving many Somalians without a secure income or access to reliable food. It’s reported that more than a third of babies are born underweight, and Somalia has the third-highest infant mortality rate in the world at 6.3%. The mortality rate amongst under-fives is 10.4%, with the majority of deaths attributed to preventable illnesses like malaria.
In addition, Somalia is a high-conflict area. More than 2.6 million people have been forced out of their homes amidst civil unrest between the government and Al-Shabab, leaving thousands of children without the stability and security they need.
Children are often recruited as young as nine, with many kidnapped and forced to be soldiers. As the conflict continues, children are at particular risk of being injured or killed.
The civil unrest has seen great disruption to education, with only 30% of Somalian children enrolled at school and 49% in employment. Girls are disproportionately affected by lack of access to education, with only 40% of those enrolled being female. Of those enrolled, many are forced to leave school when they get their first period or when they get married.
On top of this, UNICEF reported a 98% female genital mutilation rate amongst Somalians in 2016. This practice is not illegal but is often dangerous with many girls falling ill or dying from infections as a result of poor sanitation during the procedure.
The average life expectancy in Somalia is low, leaving many children orphaned or living with widowed parents. Oftentimes, such children are taken to already overcrowded orphanages as it is believed they will receive better care there, but this is not always the case. Most orphanages have too many children and too few resources, leaving those who live there at risk of malnutrition.
It is clear that Somalian children need urgent assistance. Here at Orphans in Need, we are committed to protecting children in Somalia who are facing food insecurity, internal displacement and the threat of disease.
Our teams work across the country to give children access to essential healthcare and safe education. We distribute life-saving food and water provisions, as well as shielding children from the effects of civil conflict and climate change.
We work amongst communities to give families the tools they need to be self-sufficient. This includes building better homes and sanitation stations, which reduce the risk of preventable disease. We also support pregnant mothers to ensure both they and their children are healthy and nourished.
Our work in Somalia is vital, but we cannot continue without your help. We rely on your generous donations so that we can distribute life-saving aid. Just £42 a month will allow us to feed, clothe, educate and provide healthcare to a child. These are the most basic of provisions but nonetheless, they will have a huge impact on a Somalian child’s life.