Recent Knowledge, Attitude & Practices (KAP) survey commissioned by UNICEF and released in August 2015 indicates Somaliland is off track in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH), which is one of the indicators to measure development. Somaliland is preparing to meet and exceed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for its people, particularly the vulnerable groups, ie, women, children, IDPs and pastoral communities. According to this latest survey, women and girls carry the burden of water fetching, spending more than thirty minutes per trip to collect water.
Statistically, recent research shows, the population of Somaliland is growing fast, with the youth making up the fast-growing segment of the population. Estimates indicate 62% of the population are below 29 years old, according to the PES in 2013 survey. 66% of the population live below the poverty line, whereby urban dwellers make up 29% and 37% are rural residents. Unfortunately, 71% of the adult population in Somaliland has no formal education according to KAP Survey, 2015. According to PES 2014, only some 28% of those in working age are fully employed. Regrettably, the unemployment and under-employment is very high among the youth population. The young generation is hit hard by the limited employment opportunities.
The country experiences severe droughts and their occurrences have become more frequent, a phenomenon attributable to climate change, a result of global warming. Droughts have negative effects on the Somali pastoral communities. Historically, severe droughts have occurred in Somalia quite frequently in recent years namely in 1964, 1969, 1974, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2011 and since 2015 according to FAO/SWALIM. For example, there were 7 droughts in the last 35 years, 6 of them were experienced in the last 15 years in Togdheer region only.
Currently, Somaliland is experiencing already two years of widespread regional drought, which has severely impacted pastoral and agro-pastoral communities. The Somaliland economy relying merely on livestock and its products accounts for more than 65% of the country’s GDP directly or indirectly and suffers therefore nowadays a major setback.
The Head of State, Mr. Siilaanyo, acknowledged already once on the helm of the country the need to have a distinct Ministry for Water Resources (MoWR). In June 2013, the MoWR was established & separated from the Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water Resources. The roles and responsibilities of MoWR have grown significantly since its creation.
MoWR has established vocational training center in Hargeisa, the capital, and the purpose is to train professionals, such as, solar technicians and plumbers who will be in a position to carry out the day to day operations of the water points.
With financial support from USAID through International Organization for Migration (IOM) then the Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water Resources has pioneered the first class of vocational training for 12 interns from 6 regions of Somaliland which lasted for 9 months. The aim was to encourage the trades profession, which is not widely known in the Somaliland academia.
Thereafter, CARE International with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) has tirelessly supported the Water Technology Institute (WTI) in Hargeisa, Somaliland. The WTI has trained more than 60 technicians since its inception in June of 2011.
Furthermore; in June 2016, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Board of Directors approved the “Water Infrastructure Development for Resilience Program in Somaliland (WIDR)”. This was the first time the AfDB has offered a financial grant for the water sector in Somaliland. Care International is the implementing agency for the program, the MoWR is the executing government agency for the WIDR Project. WIDR project has envisioned to further assist the WTI for another two batches.
Finally, on May 16, 2017, the Minister of Water Resources Honourable Hussein Abdi Boos has welcomed the 4th batch of 15 graduates from the WTI in 6 regions of Somaliland. Two graduates are from Kismayo, Jubaland.
Faisal Hashi, MBA, is an independent consultant who writes on issues around development, Water, Hygiene & Sanitation (WASH) and is the founder and managing director of Adam Financial Consulting Services and is currently based in Hargeisa, Somaliland. He has worked for National City Bank, Bank One, J.P, Morgan Chase & City of Toronto as financial analyst in the US & Canada.
He can be reached at: Hashi44@hotmail.com