WV Somalia responds to MSF's announcement on leaving Somalia

Nairobi, 15 August 2013

World Vision today is reiterating our unwavering commitment to help alleviate the suffering of Somalis and help them build a better future. World Vision will continue to mitigate risks and provide assistance to those in need of humanitarian assistance.

Though we have faced challenges in Somalia since the 1990s, we continue to have hope for the children of Somalia. These challenges have included:

  • In August 2010, World Vision suspended operations in Southern Somalia following an order by an armed actor in the long running conflict. We are continually assessing the viability of returning to our areas of operation where humanitarian needs remain high.
  • World Vision, like other international relief agencies, utilizes armed escorts when traveling to field locations. We do so reluctantly and in close coordination with other humanitarian actors.

We acknowledge the decision announced yesterday (14 August) by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that it has withdrawn its operations from Somalia, and recognize the significant impact this difficult decision will have on the lives of the people they served.

The security of humanitarian workers is of paramount concern to World Vision and our partners in Somalia. Somalia is a diverse context where conditions vary widely from location to location. World Vision conducts regular and thorough security assessments in each of its operational locations, and coordinates closely with other international actors on any real or potential changes in the security context. World Vision staff working in field offices also receive security training and follow detailed safety protocols as they carry out their work. 

World Vision has a long history of working in Somalia dating back to its 1984 famine response in Baidoa. Since 1990, World Vision has continued to expand operations in the most needy parts of Somalia. Currently, we have emergency, recovery and resilience programing in three key regions of Somalia (Puntland, Somaliland and Gedo), and serve more than 600,000 children and their families.

Q and A: Regarding Announcement of MSF Leaving Somalia

Q: What is the impact of the MSF withdrawal?

A: It is still too early to determine the impact. Together with other humanitarian organizations in Somalia, World Vision is closely analyzing the situation. While the gap left by MSF will be difficult to fill, other organizations providing medical and related assistance in Somalia will coordinate closely with MSF to fill the gaps. To its credit, MSF is working with humanitarians in Somalia to minimize the impact of its withdrawal.

Q: Is World Vision likely to consider similar action following the withdrawal of MSF?

A: World Vision reiterates its commitment to the Somali children and families in need of humanitarian assistance. We will continue to conduct due diligence in balancing the needs of the people we serve with security of our staff.

Q: What guarantees do we have of World Vision staff and assets?

A: In addition to strictly adhering to set security procedures and guidelines, World Vision invests in training all staff on their security in hostile environment, as well as building and sustaining community relations. We acknowledge that community support for humanitarian space is critical for safe and impartial operations; in areas where World Vision works, we have been able to sustain relationships that help ensure such operations.

 Q: Does World Vision have any active programming partnerships with MSF that are likely to be affected by the withdrawal?

A: MSF Holland has been partnering with World Vision in fighting TB though provision of monitoring and training services in Galkayo North and South in Mudug region, Burtinle in Nugal, Marere in Lower Juba; and Dinsor in Bay region. Although they have not been receiving TB drugs through World Vision’s TB program, they have been offering diagnosis and DOTS treatment to patients. MSF withdrawal will lead to suffering of TB patients left behind and the risk of them contracting multi-drug resistant TB.

The gap resulting from their departure will require engagement with the Somali health authorities to ensure continuation of services. World Vision will coordinate with MSF to ensure there are plans in place for patients on long-term medications.  Typical procedures for departing agencies required adherence to set mechanisms to help patients on drugs complete the treatment course, lasting up to 6 - 8 months.

Q: Does World Vision operate in areas from which MSF has withdrawn?

A: Most of the areas from which MSF has withdrawn are in South Central Somalia mostly in areas where WV does not have operations that it directly implements, especially after the organization was forced to suspend operations in those areas in 2010. World Vision continues to work with communities in Puntland, Somaliland and Gedo

Q: How have the other international agencies in Somalia responded to the news of MSF withdrawal?

A: Discussions are ongoing to determine the likely impact of the MSF withdrawal to other NGOs. World Vision is committed to continue helping alleviate the suffering of Somalis and help them build a better future.