Amplifying community voices in humanitarian action in Somalia, 2019
This report contains summary recommendations for the humanitarian community in Somalia on improving accountability to affected people.
It is based on an analysis of key findings from three initiatives (Africa's Voices Foundation (AVF), Ground Truth Solutions (GTS) and REACH) in Somalia, coupled with feedback from more than 40 participants from various implementing, donor, and coordination agencies in Somalia during workshops and consultations in Nairobi and Mogadishu in October 2019.
Key summary findings
1. People need more information
71% of affected people surveyed by REACH say they do not have enough information to enable them to access humanitarian aid. Greater access to information was also the third most common need mentioned by participants in an AVF radio show discussion. This included a demand for aid agencies to conduct more needs assessments and/or gather more census data in order to identify the specific needs of the most vulnerable population groups, as well as to improve citizens‘ access to information about their rights and available support.
When it comes to aid recipients, around three-quarters of people who received humanitarian assistance surveyed by GTS feel informed about the aid and services available to them, but residents affected by crisis report lower levels of awareness (72% mostly or completely aware) than internally displaced people (IDPs), who generally feel more informed (83% mostly or completely aware).
As in the 2018 survey, affected people say they need more information on the types of aid and services available to them as well as how to access assistance. When asked about the main barrier to accessing information, 81% said they lacked the necessary connections in the community to be informed of humanitarian assistance available. This highlights the need for greater accountability and transparency amongst aid agencies in order to ensure that aid activities reflect the real needs of communities and also provide accurate, reliable information more frequently.
2. Humanitarian solutions involve reducing aid dependency
Of the people consulted by AVF, 19% of citizens identified community organisation as a solution to the humanitarian situation, making it the most commonly mentioned suggestion. Citizens commented on social cohesion and identified community-led initiatives as the most desirable. This strong emphasis on community organisation indicates that citizens aspire to autonomy and empowerment, and that they have an implicit desire to avoid or reduce dependency on aid. Among people surveyed by GTS there is a tendency to feel negatively about their prospects for self-reliance, with nearly half saying the aid they currently receive does not help them to live without humanitarian assistance in the future. Cash recipients surveyed report feeling more empowered (38% mostly or completely) by the humanitarian support they receive than the non-cash recipients (28% mostly or completely).
3. Accountability and transparency in aid delivery needed
Almost half (43%) of aid recipients surveyed by GTS say that important needs remain unmet, highlighting cash, food, and health services as insufficient. Most respondents (79%) are aware of the aid and services available to them, and 65% say aid goes to those who need it most. In an AVF radio show discussion, 11% of participants called for improvements to aid agencies‘ accountability and transparency, making this the second most commonly mentioned theme.
They called attention to the need for anti-corruption mechanisms, bypassing gatekeepers, and improving assistance targeting.