The World Bank said Thursday it has approved 143 million U.S. dollars in International Development Assistance (IDA) financing to help vulnerable Somalis tackle severe drought and food insecurity conditions.
World Bank Country Manager for Somalia Kristina Svensson said the funds will support the country’s drought response through cash transfers to 500,000 households.
Svensson said the World Bank is doing all it can within the current program to protect the most vulnerable at this time of great need.
“We are leveraging partnerships with humanitarian actors to alleviate the situation before we lose more lives and livelihoods,” she added in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
The lender said this additional financing to the existing Somalia Shock Responsive Safety Net for Human Capital Project (SNHCP), also known as Baxnaano (which means to uplift in Somali), will provide an extra boost to the country’s drought response and ensure the continuity of a regular safety net program which delivers much-needed cash assistance to chronically poor and vulnerable households.
“This is a lifeline for families that have been disproportionately affected by persistent shocks such as cyclical droughts and floods, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2020-21 desert locust plague, among others,” the World Bank said.
This is the first time that Somalia has a nationwide social safety net program that can be rapidly deployed to help save lives.
The number of people dependent on humanitarian assistance and protection is forecast to rise to 7.7 million people in 2022, with an estimate of 3 million internally displaced persons and nearly 70 percent of the population living below the international poverty line.
The World Bank said the additional financing will expand coverage of the parent project by 20,000 households. It will also provide emergency cash transfers to 338,000 households, adding to the 160,000 households that are already receiving emergency cash transfers.
The government’s safety net program is implemented in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP).
Afrah Alawi Al-Ahmadi, a World Bank senior social protection specialist, said it is very encouraging to see that the Baxnaano program is capable of adapting rapidly in response to the crisis.
“As of early June, emergency cash transfers have been delivered to over 243,000 households across the country through the program,” Alawi said.
Through Baxnaano, the World Bank will support nearly 500,000 households to weather the ongoing drought.