12/10/2012 – Water is a scarce resource in the arid areas of the Horn of Africa. It is even more intense in the rock-strewn rural Djibouti. The European Union acknowledges the importance of this natural resource. Improving access to water is central to solving the severe food shortage facing thousands of rural and urban poor.
The Supporting Horn of Africa’s Resilience (SHARE) initiative in Djibouti amounts to €14 million and will be implemented on the ground by the Commission’s partner agencies and the Djiboutian Government. In Djibouti, this initiative is harnessing and consolidating national capacity in a joint effort to stave off the effects of droughts. The 2011 crisis underscores the need to have a more structured and cohesive approach to the drought menace.
The EU Delegation acknowledges the great work and coordination between the government, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the humanitarian aid department of the European Commission (ECHO), and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). This is a major step in achieving reinforced aid effectiveness.
This strong coordination is translated into projects, activities and on the spot initiatives. SHARE programming in Djibouti is envisioned to last four years. Thanks to the EU support, the rural and pastoral communities will have a better access to natural resources especially water and fodder. In addition, crucial extension services such as animal reproduction and health services will be provided at local level. The EU will also put in place a livestock disease surveillance system to enable veterinary officers catch disease outbreaks early.
In complement, ECHO’s Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme is creating a food secure environment for rural households. For instance, small gardens supported through humanitarian aid are a source of food and income for over 2,700 households, that is, 16,200 individuals in the countryside.
These desert gardens have contributed greatly to the resilience against droughts. It is important to capitalize on and enlarge such initiatives to cover the whole country. ECHO is involved in the programming of SHARE funds. This is key as the SHARE initiative is designed to bridge emergency aid, which saves lives by in-kind and immediate contribution, with development aid, which helps to people to get out of poverty.
A resilient community will not need outside help every single time when faced with an external shock.
By Ambassador Nicola DELCROIX
the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Djibouti