GENEVA, Switzerland, February 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees return to Somalia’s Jowhar and Balad districts, IOM is working to facilitate their reintegration by strengthening the absorption capacity of the two communities.
The IDPs are Somalis who have mostly been displaced from the Middle Shabelle region by floods and clan conflicts. Others have come from Mogadishu due to the lack of job opportunities in the capital.
The relative stability in some areas of South Central Somalia has seen some 31,200 refugees spontaneously return to the area from Kenya and Ethiopia since the beginning of 2013. Most of the returnees were displaced by drought in 2011.
IOM is working to improve income generation and livelihoods for nearly 6,200 returnees through better crop production; to increase school attendance for children under the age of 14, especially girls; to improve access to clean, safe water; and to achieve better hygiene and sanitation among the target population.
Together with its implementing partner Women and Child Care Organization (WOCCA), IOM has handed over two rehabilitated permanent primary schools, Moyko and Horseed. The schools will serve some 833 students, including children from a nearby orphanage and neighbouring villages.
IOM has also handed over four shallow wells with hand pumps in Jowhar district. The wells will benefit over 400 households in villages who in the past have had to walk several kilometres in search of clean and safe water.
In order to increase crop production, IOM targeted 500 farmers by providing 10,000 kilograms of seeds to three farmers associations and subsidized the use of tractors to till 500 hectares of land. The operation will allow farmers to provide food to over 3,770 people.
IOM, in collaboration with local authorities, youth service organizations, and local educational institutions is planning to continue similar programmes to facilitate durable solutions for returning IDPs and refugees, and host communities in areas where IDPs and migrants have returned and are expected to return. IOM’s livelihoods interventions in Somalia are funded by the Japanese government.