START Network has announced US$4.2 million of new funding to help protect people in Somalia from ever-worsening drought. The payout is a result of a collaboration between the Federal Government of Somalia, African Risk Capacity and the UK Government.
Following an unprecedented fifth failed consecutive rainfall season in the country (with the risk of a sixth later in 2023) and a predicted reduction in humanitarian assistance from April 2023, it is estimated that 8.3 million people in Somalia will be facing acute food insecurity by June this year.
A total of US$3.38 million is being released to local and national organisations members through Start Network’s, ARC, Replica Programme to assist with the ongoing humanitarian effort. These funds are also being supplemented by GBP£700,000 from Start Network’s own humanitarian risk pool, Start Ready, and will be used to facilitate cash distributions to affected communities.
The ARC Replica programme is an innovative financing scheme founded by African Risk Capacity Group which enables rapid humanitarian funding to programmes providing emergency assistance to at-risk communities in Africa.
This new funding has been made available because key indicators of the ARC parametric model have been activated, such as rainfall and crop growth during the past season. This particular programme has been supported by the UK Government Disaster Risk Financing, DRF, team, as part of Start Network’s ongoing work with Save the Children International, Oxfam, World Vision and three local implementing partners (Gargaar Relief and Development Organization, GREDO,, Wajir South Development Association (WASDA) and Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC), members of the incoming Somali Humanitarian Hub (SHH) which is being established in conjunction with Start Network.
“The Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia appreciates the ARC Replica initiative for Somalia. We also express the same gratitude to our Replica partner, Start Network, for committing to act alongside the government in putting up a sovereign risk capacity to respond to both the current and future droughts”, says the Commissioner of SoDMA, Mohamud Mo’allim.
He adds, “The Federal Government of Somalia also acknowledges the Replica parametric insurance policy for the 2022 Deyr* (October to January) season, which was purchased by our Replica partner [Start Network] and triggers a pay out after failed rainy season. As this assistance will most efficiently be delivered under a planned implementation plan, our hope is more people will benefit from this initiative.”
In an important addition to this, the Commissioner Mo’allim also confirmed that the Federal Government of Somalia will join the ARC risk pool from the Gu** (March to June) 2023 season.
As the end of the Deyr season approached, Start Network and NGO members working in Somalia developed a final implementation plan prior to the release of these funds to ensure that they can be rapidly distributed to alleviate the suffering of affected communities.
Executive Director, Alinur Ali Aden, from participating local organisation GREDO highlights the importance of this collaboration;
“The ARC Replica joint response can play a key role in contributing to the country-wide drought response in Somalia. The engagement of National NGOs will bring an added value in extending the service delivery to communities we serve in hard-to-reach areas.”
Start Network has partnered with African Risk Capacity since 2018 and has previously enabled a payout in 2019 to communities in Senegal. This allowed early action prior to the worst impacts of crisis taking hold.
Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, UN- Assistant Secretary General and Director General of the African Risk Capacity Group, says, “At a time when a severe drought is impacting the lives and livelihoods of many in Horn of Africa, The Federal Government of Somalia has demonstrated its commitment to strengthening its response systems to extreme weather events and to building a transformative disaster risk management and financing structure.”
He adds, “ARC stands by The Federal Government of Somalia and all the other countries of the Horn of Africa at times of dire needs. Indeed, this recent ARC pay out to the ARC Replica partner, Start Network, following a major drought in the country, is yet more evidence of ARC’s relevancy and effectiveness in supporting its Member States in planning, preparing for and responding to the adverse effects of climate change.”
Launched at COP26, Start Ready enables frontline humanitarians to access early, predictable funds at scale. The unique financing enables national and local institutions and NGOs to collectively analyse and quantify crisis risks, in anticipation of expected shocks. This mechanism enables funds to be stretched further and to protect more people than traditional humanitarian aid.
The UK Government has been a strong supporter of the Start Ready programme and the ongoing work in Somalia. Following a recent visit to the nation, Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, said “The humanitarian crisis in Somalia is deeply concerning. Millions are suffering and in desperate need of aid. Having seen first-hand the catastrophic impacts of food insecurity, drought and conflict in the country, I am ensuring UK funding is addressing these devastating effects, supporting vulnerable communities, saving lives and protecting livelihoods.”
He added, “While considerable international efforts helped to avert famine last year, since the start of 2023 over 8 million people are still in need of assistance. Our coordinated efforts must continue to alleviate unbearable suffering and help communities prepare for future crises.”
Somalia is the first country in the Horn of Africa to join Start Network’s Start Ready programme.
Lesley Ndlovu – Chief Executive Officer of ARC Ltd, the insurance arm of the ARC Group: “We are delighted to be making this pay out towards drought recovery efforts in the Republic of Somalia. It is during such difficult times that the importance of insurance in Disaster Risk Management to protect the most vulnerable is highlighted. We look forward to a continued relationship with the Government of Somalia as well as our Replica partner, Start Network.
Christina Bennett – Start Network CEO: “Start Network is grateful to the Federal Government of Somalia, the Government of the United Kingdom and African Risk Capacity for coming together around common cause. By bringing together civil society, government and insurance partners, Start Network members will be able to act quickly and effectively, to mitigate against the worst effects of drought following this year’s failed rains.”
* Somalia has two rainy seasons: Deyr season typically occurs from October to January
** Somalia has two rainy seasons: Gu season typically occurs from March to June.