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Decades of civil war have left the country mired in poverty and in many places without a functioning state. But despite the difficult circumstances, we continue to work in Somalia to give children a better future.

In large parts of the country, our international staff cannot travel because of the volatile security situation. Most of our work is in Somaliland and Puntland, the independent regions of northwest Somalia.

In Somaliland, we’re helping the government put into practice its new juvenile justice law, enshrining children’s rights for the first time. We’re working with the ministries of education and health and other organisations, improving nutrition, reducing child and maternal mortality, and establishing and improving child protection systems. In Puntand, we’re working with communities, helping to provide basic healthcare and getting more children into school.

In the areas affected by conflict, we rely on our extraordinarily skilled Somali staff to maintain our humanitarian neutrality and provide the services that save children’s lives. But even here, we can improve children’s lives. Our emergency nutrition and health programmes help thousands of children and mothers. And in education, we’ve surpassed our targets, helping more children get into school for the first time, and helping to deliver vocational, life skills and literacy training.

Giving Somalia's Children a Lifeline

Somalia is ranked as one of the world’s worst places to be a child. Malnutrition rates in Somalia remain dire, with almost 1 million children under five projected to be acutely malnourished in 2019.

Somalia has been unable to access World Bank funding for decades, because of its historic debt. Since 2017, we have been lobbying the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to allow Somalia to access funding, to save children’s lives.

Through a concerted advocacy and media push, we helped give the issue the urgency it needed to finally deliver a critical breakthrough and in September 2018, the World Bank Board approved grants of US$80 million for Somalia.

These grants are a crucial and innovative lifeline for Somalia’s children and will put the country on a healthier footing in its future relations with the World Bank and other international financial institutions.

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