Recurring droughts have devastated communities in Somaliland and has, in particular, deeply affected children's access to education.
The state of Somaliland has seen five consecutive failed rainy seasons. By the start of 2022, over 800,000 people were grappling with acute food and water scarcity, forcing many families to migrate in search of resources.
The drought also directly impacted children's education, with 74 schools closing and over 5,900 children affected.
As their families struggled to find essentials such as water, many children began to drop out of school to help.
During emergencies, schools can often act as sanctuaries for children, where they can learn, play, and be fed.
A US$5.73 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education and implemented by Save the Children is supporting 49,150 children across 300 primary schools in six primary regions of rural Somaliland.
One school supported by the grant is Booldid Primary School, where children receive free nutritious meals which help them to concentrate on their studies. Most importantly, the food programme keeps students from dropping out.
"The accelerated funding from GPE came at a hard time: we were in the middle of the drought and rural schools were closing or near to closing," says Abdirizak Jama Nuur, Director General at the Ministry of Education and Science.
"The funding contributed a lot, including teaching materials, learning materials, water, sanitation and hygiene, and teacher support."
The GPE's food programme reaches 17,125 children, focused on 149 of the the most vulnerable schools with the most children at risk of dropping out.
The food distributed is procured from local suppliers, with the service built on a partnership with local communities.
Going beyond nutrition, the programme also supports health and hygiene initiatives that benefit not only the children's well-being but also that of the wider community.
"The school feeding strategy is key to improving access to education and reducing dropout," says Hassan Suleiman Ahmed, GPE's Program Director for Save the Children. "It’s one of the key interventions we use to promote access to quality education for all."