Devoted Humanitarian: How Abdikadir Moalim Risked His Life to Bettering Lives of Others in Somalia

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Saturday August 19, 2017 - 11:48:20 in Latest News by SomaliUpdate Staff Reporter
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    Devoted Humanitarian: How Abdikadir Moalim Risked His Life to Bettering Lives of Others in Somalia

    MOGADISHU (Somali Update Online) — Abdikadir Moalim Mohamed has devoted his adult life to bettering the lives of other human beings. "In the end, what matters is what you have done for mankind," says the veteran humanitarian aid worke

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Abdikadir Moalim Mohamed is a humanitarian worker focused on delivering aid to displaced families. | UN photo.
MOGADISHU (Somali Update Online) — Abdikadir Moalim Mohamed has devoted his adult life to bettering the lives of other human beings. "In the end, what matters is what you have done for mankind," says the veteran humanitarian aid worker.
That dedication to service has put Mohamed in harm’s way on many occasions over the past 25 years. He has endured physical danger, harsh weather conditions, and the exhaustion of long journeys to deliver assistance to impoverished Somalis in many remote parts of the country.
"Being an aid worker is difficult and risky. You are never sure whether you will live to see another day, because many times you venture into very dangerous places to deliver aid to people in need,” he notes.
Some of those areas were under Al-Shabaab’s control, but the presence of violent extremists has never weakened his determination to distribute food to destitute families.
Risky intervention
"One time I was arrested and interrogated by Al-Shabaab. I was lucky because I was saved by one militant who urged his colleagues to set me free,” Mohamed says. "I have never been so scared in my life.”
"Another risky intervention that I will never forget happened in 2013, in the Middle Shabelle region,” he continues. "We crossed a river infested with crocodiles in a rickety boat under the pouring rain. But we managed to deliver relief supplies to flood victims.”
He traces his commitment to humanitarian work to the widespread human suffering he witnessed during the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991, which triggered the civil war.
Mohamed and some colleagues founded a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Iftiin, which means "light” in Somali. The NGO has focused its efforts on delivering aid to thousands of internally displaced persons, who were forced to abandon their homes by adverse weather conditions and food scarcity.
More needed
"It was our compatriots’ hopelessness that compelled us to start Iftiin,” he explains. "In 2012, our immediate concern was to help the most desperate cases encountered daily on the streets. Insecurity was still rife at the time and access to relief services scarce.”
Over the years, Mohamed’s experience in humanitarian work and the resilience of his team members spurred a rapid expansion of the organization. Today, Iftiin has offices in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Gaalkacyo, and Garowe.
"We respond to humanitarian emergencies, but also focus on development, recovery and rehabilitation,” Mohamed remarks.
Iftiin partnered with the Government and local and international NGOs to coordinate humanitarian work at the height of the 2016 drought that devastated the country. While those efforts saved millions of lives, Mohamed insists that more still needs to be done to sustain help to needy families.
"The situation has improved, but people are still dying in areas like Bay and Bakool. People in parts of Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions do not have water, despite the onset of the rains,” he notes.
A report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs highlights the persistence of acute humanitarian needs in much of Somalia that require urgent attention to alleviate the suffering of over six million people, including children.
- UNSOM -


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