Somalia stories: Receiving feedback from people in our Somalia appeal

Discover how we worked with people in Somalia to receive their feedback on the publicity materials for our new appeal.

28 May 2024

Man from Somalia looking at booklet with a picture of himself inside

At ShelterBox, we always aim to champion ethical storytelling. This helps us amplify the voices of the people we support. We want to be able to share people’s genuine experiences of losing shelter, and their journeys to recovery. 

As part of this, last year we shared the stories of three women in Minawao Camp, Cameroon. An important part of the process was sharing with them the fundraising materials we created based on their words and photos. We wanted to receive their feedback on what was created, to ensure we were sharing their stories as they would want. The sessions were a great success – you can read more about them here in our previous blog. 

Building on this success, for our Somalia appeal we wanted to give the people featured a chance to review the fundraising materials to gather their thoughts and feedback before sending it out to our wonderful ShelterBox supporters.  

What did we do? 

Woman seated at a table, looking at a piece of paper with images of her.
The community felt it was important to share Nuria’s story, as a representation of a female head of household in Somalia

When we are responding to disaster and conflicts, we aim to collect stories of some of the people we have supported. This gives us insight into their experiences; personal stories that cannot be seen in news headlines or statistics. We share some of these on our Impact Stories page. It is also valuable for our own evaluation, as people share how the aid they received has helped them and what else they need. Through this we can plan future projects and responses to ensure we’re meeting people’s needs.   

Our response in Somalia is no different. In partnership with Juba Foundation, we began working here in 2023 to support people displaced by drought and conflict. The crisis shows no signs of ending. Some areas have experienced flash flooding that damaged homes, but did little to relieve the drought conditions. That’s why Somalia is the focus of our latest appeal. In a recent visit in April, ten community members from a displacement camp in Baidoa met with ShelterBox team members to take part in a focus group discussion. We asked if they felt the fundraising materials represented them and their experiences. 

What was the feedback? 

Man smiling at the camera holding a piece of paper with images of himself
Ibrahim was pleased with the photograph of him watering mango plants, as it is a ‘forward-thinking activity’

Overall, the feedback was extremely positive. ShelterBox Programme Manager for Somalia Mel Hughes shared, “All confirmed that the stories were correct and that they felt proud to be depicted this way. The other community members also said this was reflective of the community issues as a whole. All were happy for the content to be used as described for the campaign.” 

Munya Nyamande, MEAL Coordinator, also shared, “The session was amazing. Very lively and interactive. They were really comfortable bringing out their thoughts on the images and what they meant for them as individuals and as a community. It was a very natural discussion. 

The community discussion included Ibrahim, Nurta and Nuria. They are all featured in the appeal materials. Some of their insights were very interesting. For example, Ibrahim preferred a picture of him watering his mango plants as opposed to a posed shot. He felt that it showed him doing ‘forward-thinking activities’. The other community members preferred this photo too, as they felt it represented ‘hope for the future’. 

Nuria liked a photograph of herself smiling. She said it showed her relief at being supported. To get to the camp at Baidoa, she endured eight days on the road walking 60km without food or water. As her husband has passed away, Nuria now supports her family alone. The community felt that Nuria’s story reflected the many female heads of household in Somalia, who have to work all day and night to provide for their children. 

Woman holding piece of paper holding images of herself
After losing her stock due to flooding, Nurta liked the photo taken in her shop.

The discussions also highlighted that people in Baidoa Camp were still facing adversity. For Nurta, recent floods had badly damaged the farm she had begun, as well as the stock for her shop. Despite the setbacks, Nurta is determined to restart her business. She preferred a picture of herself with her shop in the background as it reflects who she wants to be. The community preferred this photo too, as it showed a sustainable business.  

You can learn more about the community feedback sessions in this video:



What can you do to help?

Despite all they have faced, the people in our Somalia campaign are forging their own futures. By providing shelter, we are giving them valuable foundations they can build from. Will you do something incredible – and help the people of Somalia start rebuilding their lives?

Donate now