Help Families Fleeing Famine in Somalia

by MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

We have great news from our partners at Womankind Kenya! Thanks to your support, they have had the resources to respond to famine in the hard-hit region of Garissa in northeastern Kenya.

In Garissa, Womankind Kenya has distributed food aid to four local villages: Kamoor, Noor, Diiso and Jarirood. As a result, 2,700 families have received life-saving supplies of maize, beans and cooking oil.

As the famine intensifies, Somali women and families have sought refuge in the camps across the border in Kenya. But often overwhelmed camps do not have the resources to meet the need, and local Kenyan communities struggle to extend support to Somali refugees—as they fight for their own survival. The effects on children are especially terrible; our partners told us that over a quarter of children in Garissa are malnourished and in need of immediate food relief.

That’s why Womankind Kenya’s support—and yours—is so invaluable. Each household in the communities of Garissa they reach received 26 pounds of maize flour, 20 pounds of beans and 1.5 liters of cooking oil.

With your support, many more lives can be saved. Join our efforts today.

This week, MADRE staff is in Kenya visiting with our sister organizations, Womankind Kenya and the Indigenous Information Network (IIN). In the video below, MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind meets with Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji of Womankind Kenya. Womankind Kenya is a grassroots women’s organization that has been working tirelessly to bring urgent aid to Somali refugees fleeing the famine in Somalia. Here, Hubbie talks about the various challenges women and their families face as they flee the crisis, and the urgent aid they need.


This week, MADRE staff are in Kenya visiting our sister organizations, Womankind Kenya and the Indigenous Information Network (IIN). We just received an update from MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind, who met today with Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji of Womankind Kenya.

Hubbie and Womankind Kenya are working tirelessly to bring much needed aid to people crossing into Kenya to flee the famine in neighboring Somalia. As Yifat wrote to us in her update:

When I met with Hubbie today, I was so glad to bring with me a contribution of funds, raised through MADRE supporters, to help bolster their crucial relief work. What’s more, meeting with her today gave us the chance to further strengthen our work together.

She told us that the people coming across the border from Somalia are running for their lives from famine—but even once they make it to Kenya, they are still vulnerable. The children, who are the hardest hit, are often too weak to even lift up their heads. People are on the edge and barely hanging on.

This famine is also threatening countless local communities in northeastern Kenya. Desperate for food and water, many people from these communities have also joined Somali refugees in trying to access resources from the displacement camps. But like many families arriving from Somalia, they are also being turned away. Simply put, the camps are overcrowded and lack the resources to meet the overwhelming need. This is where Womankind Kenya plays an invaluable role, reaching out to people who have been turned away and providing them with the vital resources to stay alive.

There is one danger, Hubbie said, that looms larger than anything else: the lack of water. This is why bringing water to these vulnerable communities is the number one priority for Womankind Kenya. Time and time again, women have told her that their primary concern is the search for water, because without it, they can’t survive for more than a few days.

Yifat also shared with us a video from Kenya. Watch it below:


©Womankind Kenya
©Womankind Kenya

We just received an update from our partners in Kenya, who are working tirelessly to deliver crucial emergency relief to women and families fleeing the famine in Somalia. Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji, of our partner organization Womankind Kenya, told us that many of these families are being turned away from overcrowded refugee camps in Northeastern Kenya. Communities near the Somali border, which are themselves devastated by hunger and drought, are struggling to absorb large influxes of refugees. Hussein Abdullahi, a community elder said, “The village has recorded an increased population of about 270 families, most are women and children since the males had moved with their livestock to Malindi and Tsavo national park.”

With the generosity of MADRE supporters, emergency food relief is being distributed to four local villages in Kenya; Warable, Nadhir, Kamuthe and Daadbule. So far, nearly 2,500 families have received supplies of maize, beans and cooking oil.

But, there is still so much more that needs to be done. Please make a donation today!

MADRE partners with community-based organizations like Womankind Kenya because they are best situated to provide emergency relief support. Equipped with invaluable knowledge of the local context, Womankind is able to identify highly respected and trusted community leaders to facilitate food distribution. This type of community participation is fundamental to addressing needs, preventing exploitation and utilizing the different coping capacities that are available in the community.

Hubbie of Womankind expressed that “Women are completely excluded in receiving relief food.” Womankind, therefore works to meet the specific needs of women during emergencies like this. The lack of resources, rights and agency that women face is often further exacerbated during emergencies. Our partners prioritize families with large numbers of children, the elderly, those living with disabilities and female headed-households and other members of society who are often overlooked during emergency food distribution.

With your support, many more lives can be saved. Join our efforts today.

©Womankind Kenya
©Womankind Kenya
©Womankind Kenya
©Womankind Kenya

We just received updates from our partners in Kenya, who are mobilizing urgently to give life-saving aid to people suffering in the famine in East Africa. Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji, of our partner organization, Womankind Kenya, told us that the situation is dire. But with your support, we can save lives.

Hubbie told us:

“The situation is so bad that children, lactating mothers and pregnant women are dying in great numbers due to lack of basic needs, including health services.”

You can be a part of this urgent effort.

Womankind Kenya is an organization of Somali pastoralists – the very people who have been most decimated by this famine. They work with communities in northeastern Kenya, an area bordering Somalia that is in urgent need of help. There is not enough humanitarian aid for the thousands of people fleeing to refugee camps there.

Our partners told us that the Kenyan government is overwhelmed and has declared a national emergency. But Womankind Kenya is local community-based organization. They know what supplies are urgently needed, and how to deliver them to those that need it most.

Deeply impoverished Kenyan communities themselves suffering from the drought are stretching their resources to help with the influx of refugees from Somalia. Hubbie shared that:

“There are also refugees in Ijara District close to the border of Somalia who have not been recognized by the government as refugees but are welcomed by the local community. However, the local communities have nothing to offer except to allow them to settle amongst them to suffer together.”

This is how MADRE makes a difference, by partnering with grassroots organizations who can identify needs otherwise neglected. These local communities and displaced people may not receive government assistance or humanitarian aid from the big aid agencies in the camps—but they can count on your support as a MADRE member.

And they can count on you to understand that women are specifically impacted by disaster and displacement. Hubbie explained:

“Many lives are lost on the way from Somalia, and on top of that, women and girls are sexually abused as they trek in search of a better life.”

MADRE and Womankind Kenya are working to make sure that women have the care and support they need to survive and to provide for their families.

Hubbie also told us that the most urgent needs for refugees now are water, food, clothes, medical outreach and shelter. She also said that Womankind Kenya is purchasing weakened livestock from refugees who can’t afford to keep them and using them to provide food for famine-affected families.

With your support, many lives can be saved.


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Organization Information

MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Yifat Susskind
New York, NY United States

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