Saudi aid agency KSrelief on Sunday launched 24 humanitarian aid projects in Somalia totaling over SR171.8 million ($45.8 million).
“I’m really happy and glad to be here in Mogadishu … and launching very important projects … in areas which are very important for the people of Somalia,” Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of KSrelief, told Arab News.
Accompanied by his delegation, he traveled to Somalia on Sunday for the ceremony inaugurating the projects, which span multiple sectors including healthcare, food security, water and environmental sanitation, shelter security, volunteer programs and education. It is estimated that the projects will benefit almost 5.8 million people across the country.
On the Somali side, attendees of the ceremony included Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, Health Minister Ali Haji Aden and Education Minister Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir.
Saudi Ambassador Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Mawlid and George Conway, UN deputy special representative for Somalia, also attended.
Barre thanked KSrelief during his speech, calling it a role model in health, food security and aid.
Somalia is doing all it can “to achieve sustainable development in order to cope with climate change and have a balanced economy,” he said.
During the ceremony, each of the humanitarian aid projects was highlighted, including how they will help beneficiaries.
A focus of the healthcare project is women’s health and efforts to reduce mortality rates in pregnant women.
KSrelief also aims to reduce child deaths due to pneumonia, and to treat respiratory infections by providing fresh oxygen and other crucial medical supplies needed in Somalia.
In partnership with the International Society for the Care of Victims of War Disasters, KSrelief is set to prepare and operate the Saudi Dialysis Center in Mogadishu to provide free and accessible treatments.
Within education, KSrelief announced that it is set to build and repair primary and secondary classrooms, and provide technical job training and vocational skills.
In Somaliland and the Banadir region, KSrelief has an educational project to distribute 30,000 bags filled with school supplies.
The food security project sets out to support families affected by drought and natural disasters by providing them with food baskets in different regions of Somalia.
In the water security and sanitation sector, KSrelief aims to build new artisan wells, making clean water accessible across multiple areas where it is crucially needed.
“These are very important projects touching the people in Somalia,” said Al-Rabeeah, who met with Barre after the ceremony. They reviewed areas of joint cooperation in humanitarian and relief affairs.
Al-Rabeeah told Arab News that Barre was “very appreciative” of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “for the generous gestures when it comes to humanitarian projects.”
The people of Somalia “depend highly on aid from Saudi Arabia” and want to improve bilateral relations, Al-Rabeeah said.
“They look at Saudi Arabia as a country which is actually a reference to the Arab world and the Islamic world, and also a very global actor and influencer.”