Clay Aiken blogs on the current state of the African nation Somalia as Unicef Ambassador for Huffington Post. Last year, Clay spent five days in northwest Somalia.
He reports that while the situation there is still grim, it’s not without hope. via ONTD_ai.
- Excerpt below. Read more HERE at the Huffington Post
Progress in Somalia Despite Difficult Circumstances
This past November, while we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a grim milestone was reached in the east African nation of Somalia. The conflict and instability which has characterized that nation for the past 20 years has produced a generation in its central southern province that has never known peace.
In this season of peace and goodwill, this jarring reality should spur us to action so that future generations are not lost.
The mere mention of Somalia conjures in the mind of everyday Americans a place where lawlessness reigns. Indeed, the perception is that no other country has done more to place the issue of maritime piracy at the forefront of our minds and within our headlines.
While this may be true…it’s certainly not the whole story.
There are, however, glimmers of hope. For one, the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has made overtures to place the well-being of children on its emerging social service agenda.
One significant achievement the country boasts is that it has remained polio free since 2007. Also, despite a prolonged drought affecting over 1.4 million, including 700,000 children, there is visible evidence of declining malnutrition rates. This year, in fact, UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) have reported that they’re on track to reach up to 50,000 severely malnourished children — more than double those reached in 2008.
In addition, through the Child Health Days initiative, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) were able to deliver low-cost, high-impact health packages this year to over one million children under the age of five. These interventions included immunization, vitamin A supplementation, de-worming tablets and oral rehydration salts to combat diarrhea caused by contaminated water.