Since the ongoing famine across the Horn of Africa has made Somalia, once more, a top news story, I thought, over the next few days, it would be good to take a look at some of the organizations working there.
There are dozens of aid and development type agencies working in Somalia and the region, of course, so this will be just a glimpse of what has been done there and of what work continues even when the region isn’t in the headlines.
At the bottom of this post, I am again running a list of some of the many organizations that are working to help the 12-million plus people currently facing famine across the region.
Today’s post looks at IREX, an international, nonprofit agency that “enables local individuals and institutions to build key elements of a vibrant society: quality education, independent media, and strong communities.”
It was formed in 1968 as the International Research & Exchanges Board by some of the top U.S. universities to administer exchanges with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. IREX now works, or partners with other agencies, in over 100 countries.
The following text and video is taken from the IREX website, and is just one example of its efforts in Somalia:
“Huda Qalib tears up when she hears the stories of clan violence. People ‘fight and kill each other over small things,’ she says. ‘I wondered what they were thinking at the time.’ Together with a team of other activists, the 23-year-old aspiring media professional is organizing a series of community conversations throughout Somaliland to bring together people from all walks of life to discuss sources of and solutions to clan-related conflict. Conversations are prompted by viewings of media spots which have been produced by the youth activists, followed by youth-facilitated discussions on the issues raised in the media spots. The events are being carried out through IREX’s Uniting Communities to Mitigate Conflict (UCMC) program.
“Over the past several months, Huda and her colleagues have produced more than 40 media spots – including radio dramas, television debates, public service announcements, documentaries, and newspaper articles – all addressing different methods to peaceful approaches to clan-related conflict and what people can do to promote peace in their communities. According to Huda, ‘The media spots wake people up to stop fighting.’”
(This video talks a lot about God in the beginning, but please stick with it. It’s about ending clan violence, not religion.)
Here’s a list of organizations working in the region and taking donations for immediate famine relief:
Catholic Relief Services: 800-736-3467
Doctors Without Borders: 888-392-0392
Mercy Corps: 888-256-1900
Oxfam America: 800-77-OXFAM (800-776-9326). Outside the U.S.: 617-482-1211
Save the Children: 800-728-3843
U.N. World Food Program: 866-929-1694
UNICEF United States Fund: 800-FOR-KIDS (800-367-5437)
World Concern 866-530-5433 or by texting the word “crisis” to 20222
World Vision 888-511-6443