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.
© C. Smets-Luna / Handicap International
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.
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.