Somaliland is suffering from one of the worst droughts in years.
The drought is disproportionately affecting women and girls, placing them at extreme risk and significantly impacting their future.
Young girls like Muheem, Hoda and Hasba* are being forced to drop out of school because they have to support their mothers with increased work at home.
Out of school, girls face the long term risks of a lack of education. They are at increased risk of child marriage, early pregnancy, and a life of poverty.
Instead of going to school, girls as young as 4-year-old Hibo* have to help collect water, fetch firewood and learn how to cook meals for their families.
Girls like Sahra* have to travel long distances by themselves to find water and collect firewood. During these long journeys, girls are extremely vulnerable to attacks.
Sisters Shukari*, 15 and Rahmen, 14 walked seven days with their donkeys to find water. “We are hungry and tired but we carried on walking. At night we slept on the open ground. We are scared but the animals need water to stay alive and we need the animals to stay alive so our family can sell them to feed us”.
Women and girls are travelling hundreds of kilometres to find the nearest water source. With little or no food, the journey is difficult and exhausting.
With barely enough water for themselves and their families, women have no option but to watch as their livestock die from thirst and starvation. This is having a devastating impact on communities, as most families in the region rely on their livestock as their source of income.
Hoda had 100 sheep before the drought. One by one, they began to die slowly as she had no food or water to give them.
“The animals look sick and weak. Most of the animals died in the last two months… My family has lost all its income”.
Hinda, a mother of three, was forced to leave her home when livestock began to die and there was no longer food for her and her children. Her husband left with the remaining livestock in search of greener pastures, while she took her children to a makeshift displacement camp 40 kilometres from the Ethiopian border.
The men have left with their livestock or to find alternative sources of income. The women and girls left behind in the make-shift camp live in constant fear of violence, which is common in the area.
“There are no men here and only women and children, so we are scared. A man came here last week, a stranger, we don’t know him. He tried to talk to the girls and women… we are scared something bad could happen to us”.
The camps have poor sanitation facilities, inadequate lighting and very little privacy. Women and girls wait until night time to use the toilet outside. This puts them at even greater risk of attacks or rape.
As women and girls continue to face the consequences of this severe drought, help is urgently needed to provide safety and long-term support.
Your gift could help provide safety and long-term programs for women and girls affected by this drought.
$103 could set up safe spaces for women to meet, discuss their problems and work towards ending the injustices they face.
$215 could help set up community watch groups to provide greater protection and safety for women and girls.
$500 could help set up community awareness programs to end violence against women, female genital mutilation and child marriages
*All names have been changed to protect identities