Providing a safe space to play in Somalia

Children play football. Photo:NoFYL

Somalia | 2023 | CBPF

Somalia: Iftin and Habal Aday displacement sites. “I love coming here,” says Zaituna, who is 12 years old, of the child-friendly space at Iftin displacement site. “It’s a happy place – the drawing sessions are my favourite. It feels like I’m bringing my dreams to life on paper.”

While Somalia managed to walk back from the brink of famine in late 2022 and early 2023, close to four million people continue to be food insecure and in need of assistance, including millions of internally displaced people like Zaituna who have fled their homes due to conflict and the ravages of climate change.

More than 80 per cent of displaced people are women and children, who face significant protection risks. Child-friendly spaces offer an opportunity for normalcy for vulnerable children, some of whom are unaccompanied and living without their families.

With support from the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF), local Somali organization NoFYL is supporting child-friendly spaces in several displacement sites, for Zaituna and other children like her. There, children can do art, play football, and enjoy other activities in a safe space.

These children are living through difficult times. But the games provide some respite and new connections with other young people.

Abdirahman is 14. He says, “The floods destroyed everything, and playing again with old and new friends feels different. It’s not just a game; it’s like leaving all the tough stuff behind and just having fun with friends.”

Nasra Ali, a case worker with NoFYL, observes, “Every smile, every kick of the football, every happy cry, is a step towards healing.”

For more information: visit the Somalia Humanitarian Fund website, and find real-time contribution and allocation data on the POOLED FUNDS DATA HUB.