Flexible Funding in Emergency Response Helps Create Community-led Decisions in Somalia


By Hamda Hersi and Rachel Roseberry

In Badhan, Sanaag, Somalia

July 2022

With a flexible grant from GlobalGiving, Adeso has been able to respond to the immediate water needs in a drought-impacted community in Somalia. Adeso has implemented a cash-for-water response in a rapid three-week time frame.

Somalia, along with much of East Africa, is currently experiencing a devastating drought. Consecutively failed rainy seasons have led to water shortages and failed crops. This has directly resulted in 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

A $30,000 grant from GlobalGiving, for the purpose of COVID-19 response, has allowed Adeso to respond as quickly as possible to the ongoing water emergency. We have responded in Badhan; a district in the Sanaag region of Somalia, where the availability and accessibility of clean and safe drinking water is extremely limited, and the price of water that is available has skyrocketed from $3 to $8 per 200-liter barrel.

Real Water Needs

The Sphere Minimum Standards for Water Supply indicate that the average basic survival water needs are a minimum of 15 liters per day per person. This means that for an average household in Badhan, it would cost them approximately $110 dollars per month just to ensure that they have access to the minimum amount of water needed to survive.

Many cannot afford this.  With Adeso’s long-term presence in Badhan, many from the community sought Adeso for assistance. Seeing a critical component of the response to COVID-19 being access to water, Adeso was able to provide immediate relief. And we have reached nearly 400 households in Badhan providing Cash for Water for a month’s supply of water.

Unrestricted and Flexible Funds for Emergency Response

Unrestricted funds help in making quick decisions on emerging needs in crisis situations. Being able to mobilize and respond to ongoing emergencies and make decisions immediately is at times the difference between life and death for many in urgent situations.

We were able to respond fast and effectively by providing one month of water to nearly 400 households with this small grant.  Imagine what we could do with larger amounts of flexible funding in this critical time.

A small grant that is fully unrestricted is more powerful than a large grant that is restricted. Many times donors continue to put restrictions on funds based on decisions made far from the communities they are hoping to help. These restrictions can lead to efforts not meeting the true needs of the community at the time that they need them. Adeso strives to change the way people think about and deliver aid.

This flexible model of funding is truly transformative and puts the decision-making power in the hands of the communities closest to the needs. Let us take this as an example of a better funding model as we continue to advocate for changing the way aid is delivered.