Vulnerability & Resilience in somalia
|Research Type||Invitation to Tender (ITT) - Country Specific|
|Research Theme||Resilience and livelihoods Somalia|
Somalia has experienced several periods of famine and regular food crises (mainly in 1991‐1992, 2006, 2008 and 2011). Existing research shows that Somalia’s indicators of humanitarian wellbeing (e.g., prevalence of food insecurity and malnutrition) have been markedly poor compared to those in other countries. Many areas of Somalia continued to report extremely high malnutrition figures in mid-2017, and have seen very large levels of population displacement, following famine early warning messages of early 2017. The current humanitarian crisis is taking place only six years after the major famine of 2011, which was declared by the United Nations as the worst in decades. An estimated 3.1 million people (25 percent of the population) are expected to be in crisis or emergency through the end of 2017.
Somalia (and wider areas of East Africa) has experienced two extremely severe droughts in the last six years, and livelihoods in many areas of the country continue to be undermined by conflict and insecurity and a lack of social services. This raises deep concerns about ongoing vulnerability and the potential for further famine or near famine conditions in the near future. According to recent data from rapid field assessments and household surveys conducted by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), food security outcomes and humanitarian needs are expected to persist or deteriorate in most parts Somalia through the end of 2017. Results of the nutrition surveys conducted by FSNAU indicate deterioration in the nutrition situation among internally displaced persons (IDP) in Baidoa, Hargeisa and Berbera. The nutrition situation is critical (Global Acute Malnutrition-GAM ≥ 15%) in 9 out of 12 IDP settlements. The situation is exacerbated by limited livelihood and coping options and poor living conditions.
While some population groups within Somalia remain part of continuing cycles of vulnerability and decline, many others continue to diversify and transform their livelihoods and future prospects, or at least mitigate the worst impact of these recurrent shocks, particularly where urban, business and diaspora populations are inter-linked within strong social networks (typically extended families and lineage groups). Displacement, mobility and migration continue to describe Somali society, and can also be conceived as part of both long-term and short-term effects and strategies to mitigate risks and seek new opportunities. A recent evidence synthesis on fragility and migration in Somalia found that an estimated 65 per cent of young Somalis consider migration a viable option, given the lack of employment and livelihood opportunities. Further, a World Bank survey showed that about 34 percent of the surveyed adult population (aged>15) had changed their place of living over their lifetime.
Following the 2011 famine, ‘resilience’ programmes have grown in Somalia, accounting for a considerable amount of resources. This direction, while welcomed, has had a very unclear impact on increasing resilience in target communities, and have generally operated in areas away from the epi-centre of the 2011 famine (for security reasons) and/or has struggled to reach some of the most vulnerable populations in areas such as Dolo and Luuq in Gedo region of South Central Somalia.
As a result of the early warning messages in the early part of 2017, a large humanitarian response programme has been scaled up and is currently being implemented, a significant proportion of which is in the form of unconditional cash transfers. The full impact of this response has not yet been evaluated, but some commentators suggest a famine has been contained while others point to the extremely high malnutrition figures that continue to be seen.
Although preliminary indications of the 2017 emergency response suggest some of the most vulnerable populations are being reached, despite complex access and power dynamics, there are still significant challenges, as well as opportunities, to learn more and to – through iterative means – increase the reach and efficiency of emergency programmes. Marginalisation dynamics, coping strategies, and unequal access to resources – through Somali and international networks – have come to greater attention in recent years as a result of the 2011 famine and near famine conditions in 2017. Research has shown that during the 2011 famine, certain demographic groups were disproportionately affected and that these groups were predominantly drawn from the same minority and marginalized populations that were also the main groups affected by the 1992 famine.
However, donors, international agencies and non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders are still in the early stages of understanding these dynamics and identifying strategies and mechanisms to better reach such populations. At the local level, much is still not well understood in how these dynamics play out. For example, how local livelihood assets and coping strategies are complemented by non-local resources – i.e. from more distant business and diaspora communities – and how these are (unequally) accessed by different groups is not well understood. It also remains unclear whether and how local households and communities have been developing new strategies in order to improve their resilience.
There is a clear gap in robust and context-specific evidence of underlying factors and dynamics that influence the household and community vulnerability and resilience during shocks in Somalia. A better understanding of how communities in Somalia have responded and managed to survive repeated shocks is needed. This will inform how resilience policy and programming interventions could build on existing structures and mechanisms to strengthen household and community resilience in the context of climatic and conflict-related shocks.
The aim of this study therefore is to explore vulnerability and resilience during shocks, and its relationship to international engagement focused on responding to humanitarian crisis and building resilience in Somalia.
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