December 9 2011

AUDIO - A unique insight into conditions in Mogadishu

SOS Children's Villages development expert describes her recent visit to the Somali capital

09/12/2011 – Insecurity in Somalia has been severely curtailed visits by westerners to the country in recent times. Long established trust has enabled SOS Children’s Villages to overcome various restrictions in Mogadishu to provide Monika Psenner with unique access to the troubled city.

The Austrian noted that in contrast with the past, aid agencies working in the Somali capital no longer display their names or logos on their cars. The current low-key approach is in response to the security issues that hamper efforts to address the famine that continues to directly affect half of the country’s 7.5 million population.

Photo: SOS Archives
SOS Temporary Clinic north Mogadishu - Photo: SOS Archives

Needs likely to increase

A void has been created in the provision of various feeding programmes following the expulsion of 16 international aid organisations from the country in recent weeks. As a result of the 26-year-old partnership that exists between SOS Children’s Villages and various communities across the country, the organisation’s emergency relief programme can continue to provide assistance and plan rehabilitation programmes for the most needy .

The recent opening of a temporary medical facility by SOS medical staff in north Mogadishu was in response to the demand created by the closure – for security reasons – of the nearby SOS Hospital last October. Ms Psenner, witnessed the extent of the hardship faced by local residents. As they queued outside the make-shift medical centre she sensed that they felt “someone is there for them giving some form of hope”. 

Photo: SOS Archive
In Badbado Monika Psenner finds displaced children laughing again - Photo: SOS Archives 

Children smile again

In her audio interview Ms Psenner also describes conditions at Badbado, a camp where in excess of 30,000 displaced Somalis have sought refuge from the trauma brought about by famine and related insecurity.  She met with some children who are now recovering thanks to the psychological support they receive in child-friendly spaced, a highly successful initiative led by SOS Children’s Villages Somalia.