Geography & people

Somalia sits in the easternmost area of Africa, known as the Horn of Africa. The country shares its borders with Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Deserts cover most of Somalia’s northern region, with grasslands in the centre and fertile cropland in the south. Somalia’s four seasons alternate between rainy and dry seasons.

Natural resources include uranium, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt and natural gas.

Ethnic Somalis make up most of the population, with Bantu and other groups making up the remaining amount. While Somali is the official language of the country, people also speak English, Arabic and some Italian.

Fast facts

  • Somalia's years of civil war and chronic drought have left millions of people fearful, struggling with poverty and hunger.
  • The World Food Programme estimates that one out in six children are acutely malnourished and at least 70% of Somalis are undernourished.
  • Only 30% of Somalis are using safe water sources and even less people have access to adequate sanitation facilities.
  • Somalia has one of the highest infant mortality rates – an estimated 108 deaths out of 1,000 births – in the world.
  • Incidents of TB here are among the highest in the world.

Our focus in Somalia

We have worked in Somalia since 1992, supporting children and their families in 13 districts with both emergency and rehabilitative services.

Our goal is to achieve long-lasting benefits in the quality of life for vulnerable children and their families, displaced people and communities. We work where life is hardest, helping to free children and their families from the fear of hunger, poverty and disease.

Following the 2011 famine and more than 20 years since the collapse of the central government, strong signs of hope are emerging for sustained peace in Somalia.

Highlights of our work include:

  • Providing healthcare for children with acute malnutrition. Of those children treated, 97% were cured.
  • With support from the Global Fund TB, we’ve increased the number of TB centres and helped people with the disease access them.

Our achievements in Somalia

We have also achieved the following, helping children and their families live free from the fear of hunger, illness and lack of opportunities:

Child protection

  • Through education and discussion, we are working with communities to reduce the incidents of female genital mutilation.

Food security

  • Through training and supplies, we have helped families boost their crop yields to provide more nutritious food for their children and increase incomes.

Health

  • We have increased access to better quality and affordable primary healthcare. Nutrition projects aim to reduce undernourishment in children aged under five.

Water

  • Access to safe drinking water has increased and the impact of water related diseases has been reduced by encouraging good hygiene practices.

Education

  • More children are enrolling and staying in school. The quality of education has also improved, as have teaching facilities.