One in four people in Somalia need urgent humanitarian food assistance to prevent critical nutritional gaps or malnutrition. This immediate assistance is also needed to stop people from rapidly depleting their livelihood assets – including crops and livestock – which have been severely affected by prolonged droughts in recent years.
Global acute malnutrition (GAM) in Somalia is classified as “serious” with a 13 percent weight-for-height z-score, and acute malnutrition levels continue to rise. However, it isn’t just a food crisis that is driving acute malnutrition in Somalia. According to the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) in Somalia, high morbidity, low immunization coverage, low vitamin-A supplementation, and limited access to clean water have all contributed to the high, country-wide GAM levels.
Many organizations are working hard to reduce malnutrition rates across the country, including the Jubba Valley Development Center (JVDC). Established in 2002, this community-based organization aims to assist some of the most vulnerable and marginalized people – particularly those internally displaced and living in drought-affected areas – with small-scale community development initiatives. JVDC provides tailored nutrition, health, and WASH support for children under five and pregnant and breastfeeding women, mostly in Gaher area of Wadjir district in Banaadir region. They are also active voices for their communities, advocating for human rights and cultural conservation.
At the time, JVDC wished to improve the quality and accessibility of their nutrition services in order to reach more people effectively with life-saving assistance. They knew that by investing in their staff and developing their skills, they could implement higher quality severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) treatment and prevention services in the communities where they work, which would in turn help JVDC attract more sustainable funding for their initiatives.
However, their nutrition staff held limited technical capacity and didn’t have the funding needed to invest in training and upskilling their team members. That’s why JVDC reached out to the GNC Technical Alliance for support and to provide technical capacity strengthening for their staff.
After assessing the request, our Technical Support Team (TST) decided to solicit the help of Action Against Hunger Somalia who understand the context and culture deeply while also holding the technical expertise desired by JVDC. Collaborating with Action Against Hunger Somalia also ensured that all training and capacity building activities could be carried out in the local language – creating richer and longer-lasting results.
Action Against Hunger Somalia’s technical team began by conducting a capacity assessment using well-structured Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). This helped them to capture the health care workers' current skill level and available resources as well as identify any gaps in line with integrated management of acute malnutrition (IMAM) guidelines. Findings from the assessment were used to tailor the training package with the support of our Technical Support Team’s CMAM and Gender Advisors.
This joint collaboration between Action Against Hunger Somalia and the Technical Support Team’s Advisors meant JVDC could receive the best quality technical support that also fit within the cultural context and local language in which they operate.
The support provided included:
The five-day, in-person training proved successful as all participants reported significant and immediate increases in their knowledge and skills regarding IMAM. The training itself focused on enabling participants to not only become more familiar with IMAM, but also learn more about how it can be adapted to their local context.
Collaborating with Action Against Hunger Somalia proved integral to the training’s success because of their team’s direct experience with IMAM in Somalia and ability to conduct the training in the Somali language. This collaboration also provided JVDC staff with the unique opportunity for on-the-job training and mentoring at Action Against Hunger Somalia’s supported facilities to further ground their learnings in real-life scenarios.
The two organizations have since been in discussions regarding how they can form a long-term partnership, as their collaboration proved so beneficial. The Technical Support Team is also interested in facilitating more collaborative relationships like this between organizations operating within the same context because the exchange and potential for learning is so rich and mutually beneficial.
In the future, the Technical Support Team would also like to link organizations similar to JVDC more with global organizations and UN agencies – including UNICEF and World Food Programme – to provide further support and guidance.
Do you need technical nutrition support and assistance in your country?
Our Technical Support Team of nutrition advisors and experts are ready to answer your questions and support you in-country or remotely. Get in touch with us.