Puntland Livelihood Support Programme

Project Overview



Project name


Project status


Duration of the project

Start: 01.10.2010
End: 30.09.2011
11 months


USD 837’400



Project area




Somalia has been without a Central Government for the last 19 years owing to the bloody civil war in the early 1990s and subsequent political confusion and clan conflicts that are still beleaguering the country. Somalia is in a state of complex emergency and has some of the worst indicators of human development worldwide.

Somalia is now one of the poorest countries in the world:

ranked 161 out of 163 countries in 2001 according to the UNDP’s human development index. Poverty has increased to the point where 43 per cent of the population survives on less than $1 per day. Management of and access to natural resources and any remaining infrastructure has been under the anarchic control of clans, sub-clans, militias and warlords. In the resultant atmosphere of endemic insecurity, viable livelihood systems and coping mechanisms have rested upon clan-based self-reliance. Puntland State of Somalia, that declared self-autonomy in 1988, has remained relatively calm while violent conflicts erupted in central and southern Somalia in the recent past. The State is also affected by the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing from the chaos in south central Somalia.

It estimated that 80% of the Somali population is dependent on livestock, which provides 60% of overall dietary needs through the consumption of milk and meat. Livestock is also considered to be the most valuable asset for pastoralists, generating approximately 60% of subsistence income requirements. Livestock production in Puntland is faced with many challenges among them drought and water scarcity.
With the lack of provision of animal health services from the infantile public and private animal health services institutions, livestock diseases remain the worst challenge causing losses that are weighted in terms of both assets and production. Animal health interventions and other appropriate livestock support programmes will ensure that key household assets are retained and remain in good health ensuring resilience of the pastoralists and sustaining their livelihood.

The fisheries sector in Puntland is very important both in generating hard currency for the State through the export of fishery products and in providing employment opportunities for many vulnerable communities including traditional fishermen, IDPs and former pastoralists who took up fishing as an occupation recently after they had lost their livestock through prolonged droughts. . For many poor fishermen, fishing constitutes the only source of income and hence livelihood for their families. Due to lack of alternative markets and the absence of competition in the fish trade, the fishermen do not get maximum returns from the sale of their catches.

There is a real need to promote the home grown markets as fish is a nutritious food and even cheaper than meat in these parts of Somalia. With the exception of a few fish species, Somalia’s fisheries products cannot access international seafood markets. Reasons are logistical difficulties, certification, and lack of products of appropriate quality. This is further complicated by lack of governmental authority to provide and police regulations in order to establish a credible and acceptable fish export system. Previous work by VSF CH in Puntland greatly contributed to strengthening of local governance and to enable rural populations to earn a livelihood. Positive linkages between local leaders and rural populations contribute towards conflict resolution and peace building. Further support in the livestock and fisheries sector is needed to ensure that the pastoral and poor vulnerable communities will become more food secure.


The nomadic population in Puntland bases their livelihood on livestock. They represent the main source of food and income. However, the productivity of the livestock has decreased due to changed environmental circumstances. Further, the long distances and insufficient hygiene measures lead to a decreased quality in the produce. Therefore, the livelihood of a great number of people is endangered.

VSF-Suisse supports the production and marketing of camel jerky, known as Hodka. Traditionally, Hodka is an important source of income for the women. A study has shown that the hygiene standards in slaughter and processing of camel meat are insufficient. Thus, the supply of low quality camel jerky has led to a market collapse. The same applies to milk production and sale. The project represents one of six components of a large regional programme and its focus lies on training the women in hygienic production and marketing of camel jerky and milk.

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