World Bank Awards Somalia $70 Million for Water Resilience Project

The IRC provides life-saving water amid Somalia’s worst drought in forty years. PHOTO CREDIT: IRC

The World Bank approved $70 million in financing to help Somalia develop durable water, agriculture, and environmental services for rural communities.

The’ Barwaaqo’ project comes when Somalia faces persistent drought and worsening food insecurity.

The project is expected to give 500,000 people water representing 15% of the rural population in Galmudug, Puntland, South West regional states and the autonomous region of Somaliland. 

“The Barwaaqo project supports communities to build resilience and adapt to climate change by improving access to water resources in a dryland environment,” said Kristina Svensson, World Bank Country Manager for Somalia. “Increasing access to water will help improve human health and well-being, particularly in the face of the current drought.”

Over the years, climate change has contributed to the degradation of more than 25% of the country’s territory.

The environmental challenges are coupled with deforestation and loss of soil threatening the livelihoods of millions of Somalis.

The drought has wiped out pastures and livestock, making millions poor and needing humanitarian assistance for survival. More than 8.3 million need food assistance, according to the UN agencies. 

Chantal Richey, Senior Water Supply and Specialist at the World Bank says the water project will address the environmental challenges that the country faces each year. 

“To increase the sustainability of investments, the Barwaaqo project will integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation measures which will support the strengthening of natural resources management. This includes water harvesting and storage, soil conservation, afforestation, and rangelands restoration around water points to slowly ‘green’ the drylands,” she said.

The project will ​also ​aid in managing water harvesting and storage systems​.