Diakonia - People change the world
Fariha Ahmed Hussein “I’ve learned that I have the right to both understand how decisions are made and to influence them,” says Fariha Ahmed Hussein.

Building a shelter

Fariha Ahmed Hussein and her family live in Puntland, Somalia. They are used to living life on the breadline. Droughts come – that’s just life. “Droughts hit our livelihood – cattle – hard,” says Fariha.

The family was severely affected by the latest drought. Many of their animals died or could no longer provide them with milk and meat. The family shares this fate with many others.

Staying one step ahead

Diakonia works to provide humanitarian aid in the area in which Fariha and her family live. This means providing food, water and sanitary items. This support saves lives when crisis hits.

Much of the work in Puntland is about staying one step ahead. Stopping the crisis before it occurs.

Because after all, being hit by a drought doesn’t have to turn into a disaster for people. Whether and how people are affected depends on what has been done before the extreme weather arrives. And this is where Fariha’s commitment comes in. She represents young people and women in her area on the planning committee, which draws up a plan for what the district should invest its resources in.

Ready to provide support

Being prepared for natural disasters is part of the plan. The committee identifies which groups are particularly vulnerable and works to evaluate the seriousness of the situation, identify needs and make sure it is always ready to provide support if required.

“I’m sure that if we’d had a plan like the one we’re working on now, we would have been able to handle the drought last year more effectively,” says Fariha.

The committee is also required in order to receive part of the state budget. Fariha and the other participants from the area influence the priorities made and are able to talk directly with the authorities. They can then also ask the politicians afterwards what happened to the investments and initiatives they decided on.

Involvement gives positive results

“We’re stronger together. This gives me hope that we’ll actually be able to solve a lot of problems. It’s difficult but we’re working hard together,” says Fariha.

Getting the local community involved in development plans is one way of reducing the risks ahead of future disasters. It makes the community less vulnerable and quicker to react in a crisis. Also, when more people in a community are involved in the work on making priorities, positive development results.