4 May 2022

Forecast-based financing in Somalia: kicking off a new project to act ahead of drought

The Somali Red Crescent Society, with support from the German Red Cross and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, recently held a three-day inception workshop to launch its new forecast-based financing (FbF) project. Under the theme ‘Closing the gap between disaster preparedness and emergency relief’, the project’s first phase will run until December 2022 with the aim of drafting an early action protocol for drought. The project, which is supported by the German Red Cross, will also seek to ensure that the Somali Red Crescent Society has the capacity to implement early and anticipatory actions in high-risk areas to help communities prepare themselves and their livelihoods before the peak of a forecast drought.

The inception workshop, held from 26-28 March 2022, aimed to introduce the project to different stakeholders and build the capacity of Somali Red Crescent Society staff on the FbF approach. Technical sessions included in-depth presentations and discussions on trigger models, risk assessments, impact-based forecasting and the different phases of the FbF process. The Somali Red Crescent Society also shared its experiences in responding to drought, emphasizing the impacts of drought and the coordination mechanisms that exist in the country.

The workshop also sought to identify possible synergies between the new FbF project and existing projects in the country. For example, the Somali Red Crescent Society is currently implementing the ´Resilience Project´, also funded by the German Red Cross, that has been advocating for early warning early action initiatives at the community level. These include formulating community action plans that highlight community-led early actions as a key component in preparing for disasters. Through this project, the Somali Red Crescent Society has also been using cash as a modality to respond to food insecurity in six regions in Somaliland. Cash remains a viable early action for drought, so the workshop emphasized the need to build on this experience and readiness to use cash in the FbF project.

The need for anticipatory action in the Greater Horn of Africa

The Greater Horn of Africa region has been bedevilled by natural hazards and armed conflict in recent years. These have left millions of people in dire need of humanitarian assistance. While humanitarian organizations – including the Somali Red Crescent Society – are tasked with responding to the evolving emergencies in the region, calls have been made to put in place early warning systems and risk-financing mechanisms that could enable humanitarian organizations to undertake early and anticipatory actions for forecastable hazards.

The most recent drought has been declared a national emergency by both the Somalia and Somaliland governments. As a slow-onset and forecastable hazard, there is a window of opportunity to act well in advance of a drought to avert food insecurity and other related impacts. With that, this FbF project will focus on undertaking early and anticipatory actions to mitigate the effects of drought. Going forwards, further engagements and sensitization sessions will be held with Somali Red Crescent Society branches, government ministries and international NGOs.