World Water Day 2024 in Somalia: water for peace

On World Water Day 2024 AVSI recalls the importance of addressing the water crisis in Somalia to contribute to peace among communities

Water day 2024: water for peace in somalia

On March 22, AVSI in Somalia joins the global community in observing World Water Day 2024, an occasion to reflect on the significance of water, its sustainable management, and the vital role it plays in our lives. In a country marked by a history of conflict and environmental challenges, enhancing access to water can contribute to peace among communities.  

The water crisis in Somalia: 59% of the people in Lower Juba do not have access to clean water

Somalia has long grappled with a water crisis exacerbated by decades of political instability, environmental degradation, and climate change. According to the Reliefweb, the 2021-2023 drought has forced more than 1.4 million people from their homes, including 569,000 people displaced due to conflict and insecurity since 2023. Consequently, the exceptional amount and severity of the "El Niño" rain posed significant challenges to Somali communities. Over 1.17 million people suffered the consequences of the floods with 334,800 people displaced hence limiting their access to food, shelter, healthcare, and sanitation.

The recent baseline study conducted by AVSI in Lower Juba areas of Jamaame, Kismayo and Dhobley, highlights the still ongoing challenges to ensure the availability of water constantly.  

According to the study 59% of the people living in the area do not have access to clean water. Approximately 47% of the people in these areas are aware of the importance of water treatment through boiling or using chlorine. Water related illness is a common issue to the people with typhoid and cholera being the recurrent diseases within most households in the area

Around 81% of the population has experienced displacement due to floods previously. Among those who have been displaced, incidents are more common in 2023, with 47% reporting such occurrences. Jamaame stands out with the highest percentage of respondents reporting displacement due to flooding, accounting for 30% of the total. 

With the Italian cooperation, access to clean water for 1300 Somali families

To address the continuous cycle of drought and flooding that has plagued Somalia for decades, the Italian Agency for Development cooperation is funding two AVSI projects on food security and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Lower Juba. 

Through these projects, AVSI is:

  • Constructing four rainwater harvesting facilities to enhance water conservation;
  • Upgrading and enhancing the treatment of communal water sources through fencing to control access;
  • Supporting 1,300 vulnerable families with water vouchers to ease their expenses on purchases;
  • Installing two water tanks in Dhobely to support water trucking;
  • Sensitizing 6,000 adults and children on good hygiene practices;
  • Distributing hygiene kits for women and girls with 980 households benefitting; 
  • Constructing 100 ventilated improved pits fitted with handwashing facilities. 

With these interventions, AVSI works for the sustainable access to water for the communities of Jamaame, Kismayo and Dhobley. The knowledge transferred through radio sessions, schools and group meetings will ensure better awareness on water, sanitation and hygiene including prevention of water diseases. 

The future of Somalia rests on its capacity to manage water. The international donor community needs to increasingly support interventions of river management and water catchment that mitigate the impact of floods and store water in excess for respond to the droughts. This would not only reduce the climate-driven cycle of destruction and displacement, but would also give a strong boost to agropastoral production, on which Somalis largely depend for food and livelihood

Corrado Čok, AVSI Somalia Programme Manager 

World Water Day 2024: AVSI commitment to addressing the water crisis in Somalia

As we commemorate World Water Day 2024 in Somalia, AVSI reaffirms its commitment to addressing the water crisis and advancing sustainable development across the country. By prioritizing water security, fostering community resilience, and embracing innovative solutions, we can overcome the formidable challenges posed by water scarcity and lay the foundations for a more prosperous and water-resilient Somalia. 

The theme of World Water Day 2024 proposed by the United Nations ‘Water for Peace’.

When we cooperate on water, we create a positive ripple effect – fostering harmony, generating prosperity and building resilience to shared challenges. We must act upon the realization that water is not only a resource to be used and competed over – it is a human right, intrinsic to every aspect of life. This World Water Day, we all need to unite around water and use water for peace, laying the foundations of a more stable and prosperous tomorrow.

United Nation statement about the 2024 World water day theme