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Two small children play with a bucket of water

My computer’s current screensaver is a recently received photo from my friend Katie’s work in Puntland with Save the Children. She had captioned it with ‘two small children play with a bucket of water.’

Two small children play with a bucket of water.

What is so special about this photo? For many, children playing with water may summon up fond memories of babies splashing in bathwater, toddlers stomping through puddles and young children mixing mud pies on a rainy day at the school playground.

However, for these little ones, their families have recently arrived from drought affected areas within Somalia to an IDP (internally displaced peoples) site in Garowe, Puntland State in the hopes to access basic support and services such as water, food, health and education. Their situation is not unique as they join over 1,000 families in this crowded site, one of many across Somalia. And, they now find themselves in a site that is lacking essential services asides from two bore holes where people stand in line for over three hours and where health services are non-existent.

Although Save the Children is already working to provide integrated services to hundreds of families in IDP sites throughout Somalia, the needs are great and many remain unmet.

In shaping our education responses, we recognize that young children are the most vulnerable in a crisis. In Somalia, a mix of poor health care, sanitation, lack of adequate care or lack of quality food leads to under-nutrition and may result in long-term physical, intellectual and emotional under-development. An effective method of delivering support to young children and their caregivers is through integrating early childhood development into our existing nutrition, health and education programs.

Early childhood development supports caregivers to feed their children and moreover, to stimulate and play with their children, directly and positively impacting their social-emotional state resulting in young children who are more likely to feed and survive.

Save the Children is urgently appealing for more support to reach the developmental needs of the young children in Somalia through holistic early childhood development programming – so that all children have access to clean water to drink, water to bathe and the health to play…to splash in the bath.

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