Regional Director Visits Somalia
Save the Children’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, David Wright, has made his first visit in 2018—his second since last year when severe drought hit Somalia—to Baidoa, Somalia, to show solidarity with the drought affected children their families as well as have a clear understanding of the impact of Save the Children's drought response in the country.
Wright, a passionate advocate of children’s rights particularly those affected by crises around the world, also leads on Save the Children’s humanitarian response in the region. In this trip some members of the senior management team of Save the Children Somalia/Somaliland Country programme joined him.
Straight from the airport, Wright made his first stop to Sahal Maalim Isse Stabilization centre, in Baidoa where he met with children being treated of the most acute forms of malnutrition. More than 380,000 children were severely malnourished in 2017 due to drought across the country. The team informed him that this number is expected to double in 2018 due to the prolonged drought that continue to destroy people’s livelihood and food security. Save the Children with financial assistance from the Swiss Solidarity and in partnership with Ministry of Health opened the stabilization in July 2017 in response to high rates of severe acute malnutrition coupled with cholera and measles outbreaks in the regions of Bay & Bakool. Since then it has treated more 509 children with critical and complex medical requirement and continue to provide some life-saving health services.
Wright also visited settlements for internally displaced persons in Baidoa to see how Save the Children’s programs are helping the lives of IDPs and most vulnerable communities in Baidoa. More than 200,000 people are currently displaced in Baidoa town alone. Save the Children is providing education, protection, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene support, food, and health & nutrition services to over 80,416 people living in the IDP settlements.
“In addition to the fact that the team in Baidoa has been responsible for saving thousands of children’s lives, I was very impressed to see the quality of the response there. What is even more impressive is the fact that the community was an active partner in ensuring this response is impactful” Said Wright.
“Every project site had at least one and often more accountability banners encouraging the community to give feedback on our efforts. This transparency and engagement guarantees first rate program quality and in addition to ensuring strong bonds with the communities we serve” he continued.
On his way back, Wright visited Bardalle Mother & Child Health clinic and had the opportunity to speak to both the host and the internally displaced communities seeking health services at the Save the Children run MCH. Muslimo Hassan Ibrahim, who is from nearby Garasyool camp, said “I have been coming to the breastfeeding classes and the MCH regularly to seek health services and medication for myself and my son. The MCH provides the community many health services and all of us appreciate the support. The whole community depend this health centre.”
Wright also held a series of meetings with ministers of Health, Education and Women & Family Affairs of Somalia to hear their honest feedback on Save the Children programs and ensure issues affecting children are put at the heart of government priorities.