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Aspects of peace and war profoundly influence attraction and distribution of international aid and humanitarian assistance. This paper seeks to examine both positive and adverse effects that war and peace have on aid distribution in Somalia. The paper also assesses the leadership actions that Somalias unstable government has undertaken in order to utilize the foreign aid for solving the problems of the citizens of Somalia. What actions have the leaders undertaken in order to solve the problems caused by active warfare? The paper takes a look at the effectiveness of foreign aid in areas of poverty reduction and minimization of warfare incidences in developing countries.
Somalia has been in a state of civil war since the downfall of President Siad Barre in 1991. The war continues to date with hundred thousand people reported dead and millions displaced from their homes. In the last few years, the consequences of the civil war have been experienced not only by the Somalia people but by Somalias neighboring countries as well as, to a degree, the entire world. Lack of a stable government in Somalia has resulted in a number of problems, ranging from unpredictable kidnapping of foreigners to pirate activities in the Indian Ocean. Different nations, including the United States, have been fighting al-Shabaab. This terrorist group is causing a lot of havoc in Somalia. Kenya is the most recent country to invade Somalia after the militants kidnapped a tourist visiting Kenya. According to globalsecurity.org, the Operation Linda Nchi (operations protect the country) launched by the Kenyan government has significantly reduced al-Shabaabs area of operation as well as secured the Indian Ocean (Pike, 2016). Due to decades of civil war in Somalia, the country largely depends on foreign aids provide food and healthcare services to its people.
In most of the war tone areas of Somalia, foreign aid is all that people can depend on. Donors provide the needed help as a means of stimulation positive changes in the nations economic development as well as strengthening its political stability. But due to the situation of war, humanitarian aid has rather been seen as a factor of conflict perpetuation. Humanitarian bodies are unable to deliver aid to the needy because they are located in regions of active warfare. The war forces the humanitarian organizations to depend on the local people to deliver food and medicine. The shrinking humanitarian space provides loopholes for the aid to be diverted and to end up in the hands of fighting militants. Humanitarian bodies in the war zone areas have been accused of manipulation by being involved in politics of stability and counterterrorism (Vaughan-Lee, 2016). Integration of humanitarian actions with the local political economy significantly influences the distribution of aid.
Human aid disbursement depends on and is mainly founded on helping people in need, particularly in war torn areas. Humanitarian organizations have been seen to concentrate their focus on areas of war and neglect more peaceful areas. Peace is seen to reduce the amount of aid directed to a nation or region, hence having a negative impact on the needy people. On the other hand, peace increases the humanitarian space, hence facilitating establishment of various long-term community economy enhancement projects such as irrigation schemes. For example, IFAD intervention has made water available for livestock and irrigation in peaceful regions of Somalia. The constructions of sand dams that enable farming during the whole year illustrate how well-channeled aid can improve economic conditions of people in developing countries (Operations.ifad.org, 2016).
According to unhcr.org, 331,404 refugees have been registered in the worlds largest refugee camp in Kenya (unhcr.org, 2016). Dadaab refugee camp has been active for over 19 years and has enabled Somali children to receive primary education as well as food and healthcare services. Kenya government works with many humanitarian bodies in order to help all of these people in spite of the threat that the camp poses to the host countrys economy and security.. Another significant action that has been undertaken by the Kenya military has seen the area occupied by the militants hugely reduced. Kenya army continues to work together with and train the Somali military in an effort to root out al-Shabaab. Western nations also play a significant role in the war by sharing intelligence with the army on the ground. These military actions have strengthened the Somalia government, and most citizens are in support of it (Pike, 2016).
The Sphere Project and the Do No Harm Framework were some of the resolutions that were enacted after evaluation and reflection on foreign aid and its impact on conflict areas. The task of measuring the impact of foreign aid is daunting since it covers social, technical, environmental and economic effects of humanitarian intervention on different categories of people. The UN Monitoring Groups report on Somalia indicated a possibility of diversion and misappropriation of foreign aid (Vaughan-Lee, 2016). Limited humanitarian space in Somalia makes it almost impossible to verify whether the aid reaches the people in need of it. Giving it to the militants does not help in any way to reduce the conflict. Diversion of foreign aid is only counterproductive to warfare reduction.
Poverty is a social problem that affects majority of people in Somalia and most of the developing countries raise the debate on effective methods of poverty eradication. Foreign aid has been seen as a decisive solution to undercut poverty. Effectively managed aid has a potential to bring about a socio-economic shift. More than 50% of Somalia population has seen its living standard improved as a result of foreign aid (Sites.tufts.edu, 2016). Education, health, livestock and irrigation projects have all significantly improved the living standards of the local population.
In conclusion, peace and development in Somalia shall not be achieved through foreign aid alone. Diversion of aids to the terror groups continues to fuel the civil conflict. Eradication of the terror groups and empowering of the Somalia people and the government would prevent a society that is perpetually economically dependent on foreign aid. The foreign aid policies need to be revisited in order to ensure that the peaceful regions in need are not disadvantaged.