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Somaliland and Puntland

Handicap International works in Somaliland to promote the rights of people with disabilities and in Puntland in the field of road safety.

Somaliland - Handicap International

© C. Smets-Luna / Handicap International

Our actions

Handicap International is working to improve people with disabilities’ participation and representation in local political life. To this end, the organisation is setting up Disabled People's Organisations so that they are able to become key stakeholders in these struggles and can provide civic education sessions for people with disabilities and their families. The organisation provides technical support (management, governance, training in civic education etc.) and funding. It is also raising awareness amongst the general public and local actors of the need for the electoral process to take people with disabilities into account.

In Garowe, in Puntland, Handicap International is training village leaders to run road safety awareness campaigns for children, pedestrians and drivers. The organisation is also running workshops with the local authorities to define road safety policies.

Areas of intervention

Latest stories

Somaliland elections: enforcing the right to vote for people with disabilities
© HI

Somaliland elections: enforcing the right to vote for people with disabilities

On 13 November, voters in Somaliland elected their new president. Over a period of more than two years, Handicap International (HI) encouraged people with disabilities to participate in the electoral system. This inclusive elections initiative was implemented in six of the country’s regions and benefited some 300,000 people with disabilities.  

African States against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas
© HI
Explosive weapons

African States against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

From 27th to 28th November, Handicap International (HI) is organising a regional conference on the bombing of civilians. The Conference will take place in Maputo, Mozambique and aims to bring together some 20 States, 10 African civil society organisations and international NGOs. The goal is to raise awareness of this vital challenge among African countries and to encourage them to take action on the world stage to protect civilians from the devastating impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Seeking refuge in Kakuma camp, Kenya
© P. Meinhardt/Handicap International

Seeking refuge in Kakuma camp, Kenya

A new photo report telling the stories of South Sudanese and Somalian refugees in Kakuma, Kenya.


Somaliland and Puntland are self-declared States within Somalia, which are not recognised by the international community. They are impoverished territories with fragile economies.

Somaliland, an area situated in the north of Somalia on the border with Djibouti, declared its independence in 1991 after a particularly bloody civil war waged against the regime of the Somalian dictator, Siad Barre. Somaliland has been operating as a democratic State since that date. Its capital is Hargeisa. As it is not recognised by the UN, Somaliland does not have access to development funds to improve health and social conditions for its population.

55 % of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic. The situation in Somaliland is considered relatively calm, although the security situation in the country remains fragile due to the lack of state control, the inability to effectively apply legislation, and the proliferation of light weapons. Handicap International is currently operating in all areas of Somaliland.

Puntland, in the north-east of Somalia, declared itself a State in 1998. Unlike Somaliland, it has not claimed independence from Somalia. Its capital is Garowe. 60% of its population earns its living by raising livestock.

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