“Somalia is currently experiencing the worst drought in 42 years,” reads the last edition of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Switzerland newsletter. There are currently a staggering 6.2 million people in Somalia that don’t have enough to eat or drink.
Together with the ‘Glückskette,’ a Swiss collection agency, the relief will provide 600 households or about 3,600 people with vouchers and money until the end of the year. The vouchers can be used by families in exchange for water.
ADRA Somalia, the partner organization on site, adds credit on a family mobile phone every month, which allows the family to buy food and other basic supplies. The survival aid is being offered in Nugal and Sool regions, in Puntland, the independent state in northeastern Somalia.
On February 28, the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed declared a state of emergency and asked the international community for help. Chronic poverty, uprisings, security problems and displaced families all contribute to the sad situation in the country, reads the ADRA newsletter. Seasonal rains earlier this year were insufficient, and consequently, harvests failed.
Due to the prevailing drought, cattle, the peasants’ main livelihood, has been lost. In addition, many families moved from the country to the cities or some urban area, hoping to get some help from relatives or the international community.
“With the vouchers provided and credit balances on their mobile phones, beneficiary families will be able to cover 50 to 70 percent of their monthly expenses,” writes ADRA.
“When registering for the project, every family provides their cell phone number, which allows the transfer of money to each account on a monthly basis,” said Johannes Baumgartner, in charge of Africa Projects for ADRA Switzerland. “Through their telephone number, the project team can also find out whether the money has arrived and whether everything is in order.”
ADRA cooperates with local authorities and villagers. They suggested families who were particularly poor and could benefit from the project. Coordination with other relief organizations ensures that families do not profit twice. The ‘Glückskette’ funds 80 percent of the costs, while ADRA Switzerland covers the rest.
ADRA Switzerland was founded in 1987 as a relief agency of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Switzerland. It is a charity association based in Zurich and certified by the Swiss Centre for Charitable Non-Profit Institutions (ZEWO). ADRA Switzerland is one of the partner relief organizations of the Swiss Glückskette and is part of a network of some 130 regional and national ADRA country offices, providing assistance regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity.