World Bank Grants $70mln to Boost Somalia’s Water Resilience

MOGADISHU – The World Bank on Thursday approved a $70 million grant to develop resilient water, agriculture, and environmental services for rural communities in Somalia’s drylands.

The grant comes at a critical time when Somalia is facing an unprecedented multi-season drought and worsening food insecurity.

The Bank says the fund will support the Somalia Water for Rural Resilience Project named ‘Barwaaqo’, which aims to expand water and environmental services in six states.

“The Barwaaqo project supports communities to build resilience and adapt to climate change by improving access to water resources in a dryland environment,” said Kristina Svensson, World Bank Country Manager for Somalia.

“Increasing access to water will help improve human health and well-being, particularly in the face of the current drought.”

The project is expected to provide water to 500,000 people, representing approximately 15% of the rural population, who have limited water access.

“To increase the sustainability of investments, the Barwaaqo project will integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation measures,” said Chantal Richey, World Bank Senior WaSH Specialist.

“This includes water harvesting and storage, soil conservation, afforestation, and rangelands restoration around water points to slowly ‘green’ the drylands,” Chantal added.

The Barwaaqo project aims to deploy low-cost, small-scale water harvesting and storage technologies including sand dams to protect communities, livestock, and crops from flash floods.