Somalia is located in the horn of
Africa and is predominately semi-arid and transected by two major rivers,
Shebelle and Juba.  The vast majority of
Somalis depend on two main livelihood systems: pastoralist and agro-pastoralist
as their main source of sustenance. 
Pastoralists are in the rural arid areas predominantly in the northern
and central Somalia, as well as along Ethiopia and Kenyan borders.
Agro-pastoralists are in inter-riverine regions of Bay, Bakool, western Hiran
and eastern Gedo in southern Somalia, and also in small areas of the northern
regions25. A small proportion of the riverine
population along Juba and Shabelle rivers depends on settled agriculture. Fishing
only represents a small livelihood activity, despite Somalia having one of the
longest coastlines in Africa25. Somalia has experienced chronic
harsh climatic conditions with four main seasons around which pastoral and
agricultural activities depend: December to March is the main dry season known
as ‘Jilal’ season; April to June is the main rainy season , the ‘Gu’ season ;
from July to September is the second dry season, the ‘Hagaa’; and from October
to December, ‘Dery’ season which is the short rainy season .

 

The collapse of the national
government resulted to emergence of a North West zone, “Republic of Somaliland”
in 1991; of a North East zone, “Puntland State of Somalia” in 1998 and of a
military administration in the South Central region in 1999. These self-formed
autonomous states are not internationally recognized26. Consequently, this led to
destruction of social and economic infrastructure, massive internal and
external migration, degradation of the environment, which profoundly altered
human development27. Due to inadequate governance
structures in parts of Somalia, nutrition response programming is mainly
undertaken by organizations in the nutrition cluster formed in 2006. So far, efforts
are primarily focused on responding to alarming rates of acute malnutrition
throughout the country. Surveillance of food security and nutrition status, and
early warning reports are key activities aimed at appropriate and timely
responses to changing needs in the country. Several feeding programmes for the
management of severe acute malnutrition have been implemented across Somalia by
UN agencies, international and local NGOs. However coverage and quality of
interventions is limited due to overall weaknesses of the public health system27.

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