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BRIEF SUMMARY OF POOLA'S HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

 

In 1994, a group of Somali Diaspora in Italy came together to discuss the situation in their home country. They shared the wish to contribute to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Somalia. After several meetings they decided to establish Poola International Association of Charities in order to intervene with projects aiming to give a hope of life to the rural populations in the zone of Afgoi, which is about 30 kilometres from the capital, Mogadishu and with the aim to deliver development and humanitarian aid to Somalia. POOLA was formally established in 1994 in Italy. The organization chooses as its main priority: basic education for children, both girls and boys.

 

Water Well for Warmoley

 

Its first activity was to raise funds from the Somali community in Italy to drill a well in Warmoley village providing the people with clean water to drink, in order to alleviate severe water shortages, disease and the migration of peoples from their own villages.

It also helped provide the shepherds and farmers with the opportunity to water their animals, so increasing the cattle and the start of a minimum economic exchange.

 

Primary School Support

 

Its second activity was to support primary schools in Warmoley Village school (lower/Shabelle region) and later also in Adeyley Village (l/Shabeele region, Magurte Village (l/shabelle region), Omer Bere village School (L/Shebelle region), Afgoi district school (L/shabele region). Our vision is make the children move from the culture of the [gun-violence-ignorance] to the culture of the [pencil-education-peace];

 

Health Centre Construction

 

Thirdly, POOLA completed the construction of new Mother and Child Health centres (MCH) in Warmoley village, and the purchase of medicines. Infant, child and maternal mortality rates in Somalia are among the highest in the world. Diarrhoeal disease-related dehydration, respiratory infections and malaria are the main killers of infants and young children, together accounting for more than half of all child deaths. Cholera is endemic in Somalia, with outbreaks occurring annually from December to June. The major underlying causes of diarrhoea are the lack of access to safe water, poor food and domestic hygiene . Anaemia and female genital mutilation (infibulation) have a direct impact on, and aggravate these conditions. Poor antenatal, delivery and postnatal care, with an almost complete lack of emergency obstetric referral care for birth complications, further contribute to these high rates of mortality and disability.

Because of this, we know that Infant, child and maternal mortality rates in Somalia are among the highest in the world. Diarrhoeal disease-related dehydration, respiratory infections and malaria are the main killers of infants and young children, together accounting for more than half of all child deaths.

 

Agricultural Support

 

The fourth project was the supply of two tractors with ploughs and harrows; in order to fight against hunger and make the people self sufficient and produce more for marketing, our objective is to eliminate the extreme poverty and ignorance, which are evils for everyone. Adequate conditions are needed in order to promote a lasting development. The POOLA aim is to fight against poverty, because poverty is a great injustice, and poverty comes under many forms: "material, economic, moral".

 

Microcredit:

 

Finally, POOLA Fund seeks to alleviate poverty in the rural areas by helping microcredit grow to scale and achieve sustainability. The main objective of POOLA is to extend the microcredit projects and reduce the poverty of rural poor households and improve the socioeconomic status of women in the rural villages. Our project is targeted at women, empowering them in societies with deeply entrenched views of gender roles.Our Strategy recognizes the role of microcredit to assist poor women and the positive impact it can have on women's empowerment Women are thought to make better borrowers than men. Evidence shows that women perform better in repaying loans than male borrowers.

 

An Example of Microcredit:

 

POOLA Microcredit: Imagine rising early every morning, leaving a household of five children and a husband with tuberculosis, and scouring the slums of Somalia to secure a loan from POOLA to finance that day's work selling tea in the market. This was the life of BATUULA before learning about POOLA microcredit who loaned her ($85) to pay off her debts and buy medicine. A second loan six months later allowed her to establish a shop and a third loan helped her expand the business. Now, Batuula can afford to cover daily expenses while also saving some profits and allowing her to send her children to school, whilst her husband has recovered enough to help with the business.

 

The intervention in the district of Afgoi has also had another important characteristic:

 

The methods and means to success have been managed directly by Somali experts, who have been able to connect themselves with the local representatives of the community, involving directly the chiefs of the villages and the local religious personalities.Those Somali experts not only have demonstrated a better knowhow than anyone else with regard to the most appropriate area of the territory on which to intervene, but also to know how to find the right relation with the population, involving in the reconstruction the natural representatives of the community.So the intervention is supported, guided and realized by the population itself, no more in the role of a passive way, but in an active role in the implementation of the project.POOLA has shown the Somali Diaspora and Somali elders in Somalia that it is able to contribute to the development of the country, especially basic education, from abroad. Due to the success of the first projects the demand for POOLA's work increased.

 

POOLA's ten years plan 2000-2010 was approved by the Links program of G.V.V. Meanwhile POOLA also organized activities in Italy and United Kingdom which met two aims: Firstly, to raise awareness of the development situation in Somalia and secondly, to contribute to the integration of Somali youth in Italy and in U.K.The number of projects executed in Somalia increased substantially and diversified. Besides education also projects on health, small scale food production, micro credit loans, quality and accessibility of water, empowerment of women, amongst others, were developed. The organizational capacity of POOLA Somalia adapted to this situation. POOLA Somalia was able to run the projects without getting any outside help or aid from organizations and internal community. To realize additional capacity for fundraising among Somali Diaspora, POOLA Italy and POOLA UK were created.

 

We demand that the possibility to reach a lasting peace be given to our country. The objective is to eliminate the extreme poverty and ignorance, which are an evil for everyone. Adequate conditions are needed in order to promote a lasting development. This is an appeal for a concrete engagement against poverty, because poverty is one of the main causes of injustice, and poverty comes under many forms: "material, economic, moral". It is necessary to promote an efficient policy for social protection and lasting access to work, above all for the young; to create the conditions for an appropriate education; to establish the mechanisms to guarantee the "good government". We do not want charity, we want solidarity, we want the help and cooperation to grow together and to make Somalia rise again, and we want to see our country get back to life, to rise again in peace and harmony. We all are responsible for what is happening in the world, through the good and the bad, because we live together in one world, we are human. If part of our body is feeling bad, the rest of our body feels bad too; for this reason we must create a human world, with sane principles, with much solidarity and love, building a chain of solidarity that saves the dignity of those who are most fragile. Only this way we can call ourselves human in the world.