Horn of Africa: two SDC humanitarian workers tell us about their work

Article, 19.08.2016

The international community celebrates World Humanitarian Day on 19 August. To mark the occasion, the SDC pays tribute to its own humanitarian workers. Natacha Pugin and Abdi Kunow work day in day out providing food assistance in the Horn of Africa.

A woman sits on a hospital bed with her child on her lap. Both are suffering from severe malnutrition. They are being treated in a hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia.
In 2016, the World Food Programme is helping 1.4 million people facing acute food shortages in Somalia. © WFP/Barry Came

Several hundred experts make up the SDC's Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA). Whether in Bern or abroad, as members of the SHA on assignment in the field or in reserve, these men and women work in a wide range of areas, in all countries around the world that need their help.

The Horn of Africa, for example, faces a multitude of crises, including natural disasters, conflict and extreme poverty. Somalia is the epicentre of the region’s humanitarian crisis, with the highest rates of malnutrition in the world. The UN estimates that 4.7 million people require humanitarian aid in Somalia alone, equivalent to 40% of the population.

So who are the men and women who choose to work in these challenging environments? How do they do their job and what does it entail? What motivates them? We take a closer look at the work of two SDC experts in the Greater Horn of Africa.

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© SDC

Natacha Pugin

Position: Member of the SHA, seconded to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Somalia

Place of work: Nairobi, Kenya, with occasional travel to Somalia

Length of assignment: 12 months

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© SDC

Kunow Abdi

Position: Food security programme officer, Horn of Africa, Swiss cooperation office in Kenya

Place of work: Nairobi, Kenya – Frequent travel to Horn of Africa (Northern Kenya, Somalia)

Links

SDC projects in the Greater Horn of Africa

Object 1 – 12 of 60

Provision of CCCM, protection and social cohesion responses to Sudan crisis affected populations in Renk and Manyo Counties, Upper Nile

01.06.2024 - 31.12.2024

To respond to the needs of the growing number of refugees and returnees crossing the border into South Sudan due to the ongoing crisis in the Sudan, both in camp and host community settings. The intervention will improve CCCM, WASH2 and protection in Renk town, in the Transit Center (TC) at Renk and in the Reception Centre (RC) in Joda and Manyo.


Good Financial Governance (GFG)

01.05.2024 - 30.04.2027

The project contributes to strengthen Tanzania’s public financial system, a central element to cement its economic status. The 3rd phase aims at expanding the mobilization of domestic revenue and improving the government’s expenditure control. It shall strengthen interinstitutional mechanisms for tax data exchange, enhance the audit system, and improve public procurement. At policy level, it seeks to develop an evidence-based and gender responsive fiscal strategy for better public service delivery to benefit the population, especially the poor.


Safeguard Young People (SYP) - Tanzania

Safeguard Young People Programme

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2026

With 62% of its population below 25 years, the Safeguard Young People (SYP) programme supports Tanzania’s demographic dividend. The project advances young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) through a gender-responsive and inclusive policy environment, empowered youth who make informed decisions, and responsive health and education systems. SYP builds on 10 years of regional experience and UNFPA’s expertise.


2024 Additional allocation to WFP Country Strategic Plans (NHF)

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2024

The war in Sudan entered its second year. Sudan is facing a major humanitarian catastrophe. The conflict also affected neighbouring countries, in particular Chad and South Sudan who are already struggling with a dire humanitarian situation that pre-existed before the conflict broke out. The consequences of the war exacerbated the acute food insecurity situation in those countries. With additional funding, SDC reinforces WFP’s emergency response to deliver life-saving food and nutrition assistance in Sudan, Chad and South Sudan.


Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF)

Ms. Maria Maguta, TASAF beneficiary in Katavi Region.

01.10.2023 - 30.09.2025

Switzerland’s contribution to Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) for the implementation of the Productive Social Safety Net Program (PSSN) contributes to the protection of 1.5 milion poor households in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar through cash transfers, public works and livelihoods enhancement. Also evidence generated through this support will inform and reinforce Swiss engagement in national policy dialogue on social protection, beyond PSSN. 


SSD: UNDP, Electoral Support Project

01.08.2023 - 31.12.2024

The proposed project seeks to finance phase 1 of the electoral support in partnership with joint UNDP, UNMISS and the members of UN Country Team in South Sudan. The National Election Commission (NEC), RTGoNU and other relevant actors such as academia and civil society shall be key stakeholders in executing the project. The support will mark the transition from the R-ARCSS to South Sudan in which government and society are based upon a constitutional order and democratic legitimacy. 


Supporting returnee and host communities to rebuild livelihoods, generate income, and peacefully improve and manage natural resources for short-term relief and long-term food security (Triple Nexus) in South Sudan

01.07.2023 - 30.09.2025

This project will support returnees and the host communities to rebuild their livelihoods, generate income, and peacefully improve and manage natural resources for short-term relief and long-term food security. This will be achieved through increased food production, sustainable management and governance of natural resources, initiating alternative income opportunities, non-violent conflict resolution and GBV prevention. This intervention aligns with the humanitarian, peace and development nexus and will contribute to durable solutions. 


South Sudan: Plan International, Integrated Protection, Skills Building and Learning for Empowerment of Adolescents, Youth, families and communities in Yei, Morobo and Kajokeji

15.06.2023 - 14.06.2025

This project seeks to complement the previous phase of an integrated protection intervention. It will build on key successes, achievements and key lessons learned through the provision of integrated life-saving emergency child protection services, skills building, empowerment of adolescent youth and communities in the targeted locations. 


Enhancing Climate Resilience of Vulnerable Communities and Ecosystems in South Sudan

01.06.2023 - 31.05.2026

Local authorities and communities will be strengthened in their technical and managerial capacities to reduce people’s livelihood exposure, vulnerability and resilience to floods and drought thus increasing food production and reduce food insecurity as well as displacement of people and competition over natural resources. This will be achieved through improved communication, coordination and knowledge-sharing, early warning systems and appropriate legislation. 


SOM, Com. recvr. peace. &local gov. ph02

01.05.2023 - 31.12.2025

Somalia is slowly emerging from one of the most complex and protracted conflicts. Over the past decade, peacebuilding and state-building processes, while navigating conflict, climate crisis and political fragility, maintained an incrementally positive trajectory. In investing in civil society engagement and building of local institutions and capacities all over Somalia, Switzerland is contributing in the establishment and strengthening of sustainable, community-driven, inclusive institutions necessary to deliver services and sustainable peace. 


Somalia: Strengthening State Institutions for better service delivery

01.03.2023 - 31.12.2025

The Multi-Partner-Fund (MPF) provided an umbrella to prepare the World Bank’s (WB) re-engagement in Somalia. It has become a powerful tool for donors to pool resources and enabled the WB to engage with Somali authorities to gradually advance reform implementation related to revenue and financial policy, as well as public financial management (PFM). Through this project, Switzerland supports the incremental strengthening of core state institutions in Somalia and contributes ultimately to stability and socio-economic recovery of the country.


Mercy Corps: Strengthening Resilience in Agriculture, Livelihoods and Markets through Local Institutions in Greater Mundri

01.02.2023 - 31.01.2026

To sustainably move households out of chronic vulnerability, poverty and food insecurity by facilitating economic recovery and support for smallholder farmers and non-farm microenterprises. The support will consist of market system development (MSD), value chain development, vocational skills development and improved methods of agriculture, such as agro-ecology and conservation. The intervention will focus on women and youth and is highly relevant in a post-conflict context like Mundri (South Sudan).

Object 1 – 12 of 60