By our Correspondent
To celebrate this year’s occasion of All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) and in line with its philosophy and character as an impact-driven social initiative, the AFRIMA has lent its voice to the lingering humanitarian crisis in the war-torn African country of Somalia.
Somalia, as a democratic nation, which lies in the Horn of Africa, has been encumbered with civil wars and security challenges for the past three decades, throwing its most vulnerable populations, especially women and young girls into a nightmare of untold hardship.
By partnering with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its advocacy and humanitarian efforts, AFRIMA has urged political stakeholders and people of influence to shower support towards the UNFPA’s aid efforts in Somalia.
Therefore, as the much-anticipated 8th AFRIMA, tagged ‘Teranga Edition’ draws near, AFRIMA has launched the #HopeForSomalia campaign, which includes championing policy-stimulating petitions and fostering fundraisers, to help alleviate the harsh impact of the crisis on Somalians, especially Somali women and young girls. The Teranga Edition is scheduled to be held in Dakar, Senegal January 12 to 15, 2023.
Veritaly commenting on the situation, AFRIMA’s Executive Producer/President, Mr. Mike Dada, said: “Like the situation in Somalia, a popular narrative about Africa is that it is a war-torn habitat, without any hope for sustainable peace in sight. It’s saddening; because the danger of that narrative is that it discourages actual solutions. Somalia has enjoyed peace for years and even bears a reputation for being one of Africa’s most pro-democratic societies. We cannot watch and fold our arms, seeing innocent women, children, and Somalis alike have their lives and dreams cut short by the conflict, terrorism or this climate crisis, without any form of aid or relief.
He continued that, “In AFRIMA, we abide by the ethos of family. We are one Africa, and whatever burdens Somalia should burden the rest of the continent. We are committed to ensuring that we help contribute to the long-awaited peace-restoration, famine prevention and drought-rehabilitation efforts in Somalia. We thank our partners, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), for their great work in Somalia, and for calling our attention to this. It is especially shocking to see how greatly these women and girls are suffering, and how high the maternal mortality rate is as a ripple effect of this war. We believe Africa will return to its position as a culturally progressive, innovative and peace-loving continent, once again.”
Furthermore, commenting on the development, UNFPA Representative in Somalia, Niyi Ojuolape, said that women and girls were the most hit by the crisis, urging support to end the gory situation, and to ameliorate the impact.
In his words, “Somalia is facing a complex and devastating crisis. The country has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world. Conflict and drought-led displacements are adding to the strain on the already limited Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services and weak health system. Lack of nutrition and access to healthcare contribute to the poor health of women and girls. Pregnant and lactating women, in particular, are at risk due to the negative effects of malnutrition on pregnancy outcomes and newborn survival.
He added: “Over 82 per cent of those displaced are women and children, including 1.95 million women and girls of reproductive age. In the next three months, it is estimated that there will be 918 deliveries per day, with 15 per cent of pregnant women experiencing complications. Without access to qualified birth attendants, health services and facilities, maternal and newborn mortality will increase further.
This, “Rising food prices, water shortages, death of livestock, and loss of livelihoods have led to multiple displacements, making women and girls more vulnerable to increased gender-based violence (GBV) and exploitation. Data shows a 21 per cent increase in reported rape cases, a 60 per cent increase in reported cases of intimate partner violence, and a 20 per cent increase in the number of women and girls accessing lifesaving GBV response services since last year.”
Again, Ojuolape pleaded with the international donor community to “urgently prioritise the support of quality SRH services and GBV prevention and response to help prevent death, disease, and disability for women and girls in Somalia” to help achieve long-term development and peace in the country.
Effectively in partnership with the African Union Commission, AFRIMA is the pinnacle of African music globally.