The severe drought in Somaliland, following five consecutive failed rainy seasons, has deeply affected communities like those in the vicinity of Booldid Primary School. Many families migrated in search of food and water, while others struggled to provide for their children's education amidst resource scarcity.
Hamda, a 13-year-old student, shares her ordeal of fetching water from distant places and aiding her family, stressing the severity of the situation. Her sentiments echo through the testimonies of many affected, including school personnel and parents.
By January 2022, over 800,000 people were grappling with acute food and water scarcity due to the recurring droughts. This directly impacted children’s education, with 74 schools closing and over 5,900 school children affected.
During such emergencies, schools can act as sanctuaries for children. However, with the lack of essentials, many began dropping out, compromising their future.
A US$5.73 million grant from GPE implemented by Save the Children is supporting 49,150 children across 300 primary schools in six primary regions of Somaliland.
A key component of this project is the school feeding program which, by offering nutritious meals, aims to attract and retain students, boosting their energy and concentration. This program has received widespread appreciation and acknowledgment for its tangible positive impact.
To augment these measures, GPE also sponsored initiatives like water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) activities, infrastructural repairs, and distribution of educational materials. With GPE's sustained backing, children in drought-affected Somaliland, like Hamda who aspires to be a teacher, can dream and work towards a brighter future.
00:00 – 01:07 – School feeding program
01:07 – 02:08 – School life
02:08 – 04:22 – Home life, eating with family, collecting water
04:22 – 04:35 – Aerial view; surrounding countryside
04:35 – 05:04 – Soundbites – Hamda , 13-year-old Student
04:35 - Right now, I’m in 7th grade, in primary school. When I finish 8th grade, then I’ll join secondary. When I graduate from secondary, I’ll go to university. I’ll work hard to achieve my dream of becoming a teacher, God willing.
04:52 - When the drought hit us, it started with the water becoming scarce, until there was no more. There was no pasture for livestock, and they later died of hunger.
Our school closed, and many of our neighbours moved to other places to seek water and pasture for their livestock.
05:00 - When it’s time to eat, I’m excited about eating my dates and porridge.
05:07 – 06:04 – Soundbites – Khadar, Headmaster
05:07 -Honestly, extreme drought hit our community. The drought left a devastating impact on the environment. As a result, the drought diminished the quality of education.
05:19 - Aside from education, it also affected the children’s cognitive ability and physical well-being. At this very moment, the drought is still present.
05:29 - Even though it rained, and trees began to grow, drought was still present. Its effects were still visible, and it hasn’t completely left. The drought left a devastating impact; it was too much.
05:40 - The students weren’t able to come to school, the attendance of students reduced. Sometimes they came to school, sometimes they stayed at home.
05: 50 - What happened was that when they came to school, you know, they couldn’t finish the whole lesson. The teacher would obviously understand and let the students go home so that they could eat. The impact of the drought was really devastating.
06:07 – 07:17 – Soundbites – Halima, Hamda’s Mother
06:07 - Fortunately, we did not have to move to other regions, we insisted on staying here and not moving. We struggled with the livestock. We had to work harder than before. We provided food for them and, fortunately, we did not lose any animals. But some of our neighbours who moved elsewhere lost most of their animals.
06:27 - The animals couldn’t adapt to the new environments and, as a result, the people lost a lot of their livestock, and later returned.
06:35 - But we decided to stay and provide for the animals. We have not lost any animals. Thanks to Allah, He blessed us with his mercy, and we are now doing well.
06:47 – 07:17
School meals are very important for the children; it helps them a lot. Before the meal program, we were forced to make lunch meals for them or give them pocket money, which was very difficult to get sometimes. But after the meal program, the children are feeling better, and we would love it to continue.
07:17 – 09:00 Soundbites – Hassan Suleiman Ahmed – GPE Program Director, Save The Children
07:17 - In the context of Somalia and Somaliland, the School Feeding Program is very important because, recently, the impact of climate change, in terms of drought and famine, has been very severe in the East Africa region, particularly in Somalia and Somaliland.
07:57 - In Somaliland the poverty level is really, really, very high, even within the upper settings there are many families that struggle in terms feeding their children, particularly in drought situations, school feeding programs are very important because they keep the schools open, they also support children to stay in school and school feeding strategies are actually one of the key strategies in terms of improving access to education, in terms of reducing drop out, in terms of reducing risks to children, particularly to girls.
08:47 - And in many aspects actually, school feeding programs are one of the key strategies and interventions that we use to promote access to equitable quality education for all.