Can Africa Save Somalia Without 'Outsider' Help?
1 year ago
The U.S. has given much to Somalia, but short of what's needed. Citizens are filling the gaps.
It’s no secret that Somalia could use a few miracles right now. But it’s not just passively bowing down to the trifecta attack of drought, famine and disorganized violence devastating the land. Nor are regular citizens inactively waiting for government intervention to fix Somalia’s deep-seated problems. While the U.S. Congress is considering cutting emergency aid, which would harm Somalia when it needs all the help it can get, other non-governmental agencies, grassroots groups and citizens here and in Africa are stepping up to see what they can do to help the ailing nation in the Horn of Africa.
“Since [Kwame] Nkrumah’s time, Ghana has been seen as at the forefront of African humanitarian efforts,” Professor S.K. Okleme, associate professor at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, told Loop 21.
According to the United Nations, at least $2.5 billion is needed to manage the crisis. But Africans are not idling waiting for a savior. Many on the continent are working to lift Somalia out of despair.
“I don’t like the image of the beggar continent,” said Professor Wilhelmina Donkoh, the head of history and political studies at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to Loop 21. “While there is no rain in Somalia, there is rain in other parts of Africa. If we organize and coordinate effectively and efficiently, together we should be able to feed ourselves without getting help from outsiders.”
Women and children are bearing the worst of the crisis throughout Somalia, particularly in areas like Mogadishu. Many women are raped by Kenyan and Somali men while fleeing the country. Yet amidst these horrors there have been courageous steps taken, such as boys in Kenya volunteering to stand watch during the evenings to defend their female neighbors.
While the impact of poverty on gender cannot be underestimated, Somalia's story is also one of how men and women across national lines are working together.
On August 1, Andrew Adansi-Bonnah, an 11-year old from Ghana, launched a $13 million fundraising campaign during his eight-week vacation from school. After his father donated an entire month’s salary ($500) to his son’s cause, Adansi-Bonnah broadened his donor population to local businesses in Ghana and is personally door knocking until he meets his goal.
Now keep in mind that young Adansi-Bonnah’s $13 million pledge and efforts came before Ghanaian President Atta Mills offered $500,000 at the Pledging Conference on Somalia, which was held in Ethiopia on August 25 – a conference that was poorly attended considering the urgency of Somalia’s situation.
The conference did lead to $51 million raised from African countries and $300 million contributed from the African Development Bank.