An assessment of the impact of COVID 19 on the pastoralists livelihoods, community welfare and response to the pandemic in Somaliland

This project will investigate the impact of COVID 19 on the main sources of livelihoods for the people of Somaliland, and how the community and public health sector are responding to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and suppress the epidemic, national and local authorities require timely and relevant data and evidence to inform prevention, control, and mitigation measures to minimise the socio-economic impact of the disease. The implementation of social distancing measures in a society that has close knit social fabric system of inter-dependence within the community is likely to disrupt the well-established social networks, and it is anticipated there will be widespread resentment to the implementation of such measures to control the disease. Hence the survey will strive to identify social cultural practices to be integrated in the disease control package of the pandemic in a pastoral community.

The present study will be the first data collection and analysis oriented to understand the socio-economic consequences of COVID 19 pandemic among the pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities, which in Somaliland represent the largest economic sectors.

To address the sudden exceptional circumstances that will arise from the COVID 19 pandemic, the study will strive to generate data that will be instrumental in guiding policy on how to mitigate the economic, public health and social effects of the pandemic. The study will therefore be undertaken with the following objectives:

  • To establish how COVID 19 is impacting on livestock (the main source of livelihood) with the aim of providing information to guide policy makers in designing appropriate mitigation measures.
  • To determine the impact of the disease on community well-being from the demographic perspective.
  • To identify social cultural practices to be integrated in the disease control package of the pandemic in a pastoral community.

Based on the study objectives, Somaliland’s capacity with regard to risk reduction and management of the COVID 19 pandemic will be strengthened.


There is urgent need to have in place relevant data to guide national and local authorities in designing preventive, mitigation and control measures to minimize the socio-economic impact of the disease in the country. The government resources are already stretched due the pandemic and the recent droughts, hence its unlikely to be in position to undertake relevant baseline survey(s) that are instrumental in guiding policy on the response to the pandemic. Preliminary studies (such as the proposed study) are also important in getting insight on how the pandemic is impacting on the general public service delivery particularly in the health sector.

Due to the phobia generated by the pandemic coupled with the limited resources available to the national government, there is a high likelihood that the control of other human and animal diseases, including zoonotic disease such Rift Valley Fever (for which there is currently an alert), brucellosis and anthrax are likely to take a back seat. There are already concerns that routine immunisation for children against diseases such as polio and measles (personal communication) will receive the attention they deserve. Vaccinations programmes against livestock diseases such as Foot Mouth Disease, Peste des Petit Ruminants and Contagious Caprine Pleuro Pneumonia are likely to be disrupted, leading to the increasing the likelihood of new epidemics and major livestock diseases.

The study will therefore support the government efforts in responding to the pandemic by providing data required by policy makers in designing integrated COVID 19 control strategies.

Relevance to the Horn Project

The study is designed to generate information that will ensure that, besides guiding policy makers in responding to COVID 19, other zoonotic diseases that are likely to emerge in the country are not neglected. It is hoped the recommendations will ensure an integrated control involving other zoonotic diseases. The study will strive to ensure that routine vaccinations against other high impact human and livestock diseases are taken care of.