The Year in Review - Looking back on our 2014 achievements

Published December 23, 2014 by Anne-Marie Schryer-Roy

Each year, we work to make a meaningful impact on the lives of the communities we work with. And we’re glad to report that 2014 was no different. It was a year filled with new challenges, but also new opportunities, and new partnerships. As 2014 draws to a close, we’d like to take you down memory lane and reflect on some of the key milestones of the past year.

In January, Somali born actor and Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi took on a new role, this time as a Goodwill Ambassador for Adeso. The Oscar-nominated co-star of Hollywood blockbuster Captain Phillips is helping create awareness and promote Adeso’s programs to the general public.

During that same month, we started implementing our Mobile Non-Formal Education project in Marsabit County, Kenya, to boost literacy levels among pastoral children aged 13 to 18. The project is unique in that it reaches nomadic children in remote grazing areas who are far from formal schools. Already, the project has seen almost 300 young men and women going to school, where they previously had no opportunity to do so.

To protect the Somali lifeline, we co-hosted an event with Oxfam America in Minneapolis, USA, in May to discuss remittances to Somalia from the United States. Speakers included Adeso Goodwill Ambassador Barkhad Abdi and Congressman Keith Ellison. That same month, we joined 21 other NGOs working in Somalia to sound the alarm about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country, and the accompanying lack of funding.

Through the year, we supported community-led planning exercises in Kenya to help build resilience in Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana, and Wajir counties. In Wajir, community members successfully lobbied their government for the construction of a borehole to increase water availability as well as a maternity ward at the local dispensary for a remote village’s 700 households.

We also supported small-scale farmers and small-business owners to become self-reliant and helped pastoralist communities reduce conflicts through shared natural resource mapping. Our work reached hundreds of thousands in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands with livelihood, food security, and economic development programs.

In Somalia, we began a vigorous exercise to improve the state of the natural environment, and especially rangelands in the state of Puntland. Working with Village Environmental Committees, we launched Cash for Work activities in pastoral and agro-pastoral rural communities. The activities are not only leading to immediate rangeland rehabilitation, but also helping restore livelihoods and restoring critical water systems.  We also continued our groundbreaking cash transfer programs, ensuring that the most vulnerable households in Somalia have a reliable flow of income to stabilize their families against future threats.

Wherever we went, we spoke about the importance of empowering local actors to lead local responses. In August, for example, we consulted with local leaders in Garowe, Somalia on the World Humanitarian Summit. Later in the year, our Executive Director, Degan Ali, penned an opinion piece in Devex to raise some of these issues, and spoke to audiences in South Africa, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on the key role of local organizations in responding to disasters and building resilience.

As the year drew to a close, our founder, Fatima Jibrell, became the first Somali to win the UN’s top environmental accolade, the Champion of the Earth award for her tireless effort to protect Somalia’s fragile pastoral environment.

Overall, our efforts reached over 1.5 million people in Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. Here’s to many more achievements in 2015!