In Somalia we currently have 5 projects that reach some 37,400 children. We began our work here during the devastating drought on the Horn of Africa in 2011. We work with local partners who are intimately familiar with the situation and the problems faced by people in this country.


A shattered country

Somalia is one of the least developed countries in the world. The bloody civil war, which has raged since 1988, impedes any positive development. Roughly 70 percent of the population lives from agriculture, mostly as nomads or semi-nomadic people. Climate change is causing ever-increasing periods of drought. In order for families to survive, nearly half of the children have to work. Only 17 percent of all children attend school. Violence against girls and women is widespread. The genital mutilation of girls remains a common practice.

Our involvement in Somalia began in 2011 with shipments of emergency aid to the population of this drought-stricken country. Now our work includes preventative drought measures, activities to promote education, campaigns against female genital mutilation, and self-help groups.

The challenges

Four girls sitting on a bench at school in Mogadischu (Souce: Dietmar Roller)
Somalia has the third-highest infant mortality rate worldwide.

Since 1988, the civil war between warlords, clans, diverse groups, and militias has rendered all economic development in the country impossible. Since September 2012, Somalia has been governed for the first time since the beginning of the civil war by a democratically elected president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was voted in by parliament. Although international armed forces (soldiers of the African Union Mission in Somalia) have managed to force the religious Al-Shabaab militias out of the capital Mogadishu, the security situation remains extremely uncertain. Daily life is plagued by violence. As a result, foreign aid workers have to operate in an extremely dangerous environment.

Somaliland, Kindernothilfe’s project area in the northeastern part of the country, declared its independence in 1991, a move that has not received international recognition. The security situation here has been largely stable since 2008.

Two-thirds of the Somali population live from agriculture, mostly as nomads and semi-nomadic people. The catastrophic droughts, which occur with increasing regularity, kill off the herds of cattle that families depend upon for food, causing people to go hungry. During the last drought from October 2010 to April 2012, some 258,000 people died.

Girls and boys suffer particularly from this situation. One out of three children is malnourished. Nowhere else in the world do so many children die before their first birthday. Due to the traditional lifestyle and lack of educational opportunities, one out of every two children has to work. Nearly half of all girls are forced to submit to the internationally denounced practice of genital mutilation.

  • Our work in the country

    Even after the last severe drought, supplies of food for over one million people have still not been permanently secured. We coordinated our emergency aid at the time with partners in Kenya. We supplied refugees and internally displaced persons with food, water, cooking utensils, and plastic tarps to build emergency shelters. In our children's centres, which have proven to be effective in a number of disasters, girls and boys receive protection, food, instruction, and opportunities to play.

    The needs of Somali girls and boys are so great, and the cooperation with our local partners has worked so well, that we have subsequently launched more long-term development programmes. For example, we work with the population to collectively develop prevention measures in preparation for the next drought.

    Another area of focus of our work is combating female genital mutilation. Working hand-in-hand with our partners, we conduct educational campaigns to put a halt to this harmful tradition.

    Together with additional partner organisations, we are now beginning to introduce our successful self-help programme for women in Somaliland.

  • Key figures on Somalia

    • 10.4 million people live in Somalia
    • The average life expectancy in Somalia is 52 years (ranking 218 out of 224 countries)
    • 850 out of 100,000 mothers die before or while giving birth (world’s 3rd worst ranking)
    • 33 % of all children under the age of 5 are underweight (9th worst ranking in the world)
    • 100 out of 1,000 children die before their first birthday (world’s 3rd worst ranking)
    • 62 % of all Somalis aged 15 and over are illiterate, which corresponds to 50 % of the men and 74 % of the women
    • 16 % of children attend primary school
    • 1.1 million children have to work (49 %)
    • 98 % of all mothers and 46 % of all daughters have been genitally mutilated

     Source: World Factbook

Somaliland: Against genital mutilation

Somaliland: Against genital mutilation

In the Republic of Somaliland, 98 percent of women and girls are affected by genital mutilation. The goal is to reduce the number of circumcisions of girls and young women through education.

Learn more
How we provide disaster relief

How we provide disaster relief

When disaster strikes, the victims need immediate assistance. But providing emergency relief is only the first step in our humanitarian aid. We also pave the way for people to overcome their plight over the long term and prevent new crises.

Learn more
Who we are

Who we are

Kindernothilfe is a Non-Governmental Organisation founded in Germany in 1959. We partner with local non-governmental organisations in 33 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to realize and protect children's rights.

Learn more