UN-Habitat and SIDA Partner in Cash Transfer Initiative to Support 250 Households in Kismayo

Somali women fetch water from a water point set near their home. (Photo Credit: UN-Habitat Somalia)

UN-Habitat has disbursed direct cash transfers of USD 70 to 250 vulnerable households in the port city of Kismayo. The 250 homes will receive $210 in the next three months and the fund is expected to benefit some 2,000 Somalis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted Somalia’s economic recovery and the government shutdowns have impacted the most vulnerable communities, including urban communities in one of Somalia’s largest cities, Kismayo, whose dwellers are the main targets of this intervention,” said Falastin Omar, Programme Manager, UN-Habitat Somalia Programme.

The cash transfer initiative is part of the COVID-19 response within a larger project funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), addressing youth and urban regeneration in Somalia. 

The UN habitat and SIDA response will also provide vulnerable families access to water and hand washing points to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the informal settlements of Kismayo and public places.

“Somalia is facing multiple and recurring shocks that have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the decrease in remittances, job opportunities and the increasing cost of basic commodities, something has to be done to help the poor and vulnerable. This programme provides cash transfers for that purpose. We are happy to see our support helping people make ends meet, and are happy to work together with the UN, the Jubaland Administration and the local communities to contribute to sustainable development efforts in Kismayo,” said the Ambassador of Sweden to Somalia, Staffan Tillander.

Somalia has recorded 12,500 coronavirus cases and 618 deaths.

It’s the first time the people living in the west of the city are getting relief support as aid agencies shifted their focus in supporting communities residing along the Juba river who faced persistent flooding that displaced tens of thousands of people from the homes and farms. 

In a statement issued Sunday, the Federal Government of Somalia and the humanitarian organizations said they were deeply concerned about the worsening drought conditions in Somalia.

Drought and water shortage in 50 districts in Somalia has displaced over 110,000 from their homes since October 2020.

“Compounding the effects of the various crises in this country, support to people in Somalia this year is needed now more than ever before. I am appealing to international friends to give generously and to give now, to fund a rapid drought mitigation response,” said the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, H.E. Khadija Diriye. “We are facing widespread food insecurity, malnutrition, population displacement and disease. We need funding now to save lives, alleviate suffering and get assistance out before the situation becomes a complete catastrophe.”

“This intervention is timely because, in addition to the loss of livelihood from the pandemic, the economic impact was worsened by the prolonged drought and severe climatic changes,” said the Mayor of Kismayo, Ibrahim Mohamed Yusuf speaking about the UN-Habitat and SIDA cash transfer initiative to support his people.

This COVID-19 response initiative to support Kismayo communities is part of the USD 4.6 million Youth and Urban Regeneration Project (YOURS) funded by the Government of Sweden. 

The project aims to reduce urban inequalities by promoting sustainable urban regeneration, youth development and re-integration of marginalized groups through building the capacity of government institutions and socio-economic resilience of urban communities. Over the next three years, YOURS will be implemented with local and regional authorities across the project locations, including Baidoa, Dollow, Kismayo and Mogadishu.