Empowering the people of Somalia

The Somalia Water and Land Information Management project, is an information management program that aims to provide high quality water and land information

SWALIM, the Somalia Water and Land Information Management project, is an information management program, technically managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Somalia and funded by the European Union (EU), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF).

SWALIM serves Somali government institutions, non-governmental organizations, development agencies and UN bodies engaged in assisting Somali communities whose lives and livelihoods depend directly on water and land resources.

The program aims to provide high quality water and land information, crucial to relief, rehabilitation and development initiatives in Somalia, in order to support sustainable water and land resources development and management.

Over two decades of civil strife in Somalia have resulted in the loss or damage of most of the water- and land-related information collected in the previous half century. 

By producing baseline information, assessing natural resources, searching for existing information sources around the world, SWALIM is recovering as much of lost data as possible.

Soil as a vital resource: healthy agriculture starts with nutrient-rich soil

SWALIM's work on land resources in Somalia has focused on assessing the characteristics of the land, the activities carried out on it and the subsequent effects of these activities. Topics covered include land forms, land cover, land use, soil characteristics, land suitability and land degradation, among others.

A combination of tools, including Remote Sensing (RS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), in addition to field surveys, to collect and process data on land resources. These tools have enabled a greater understanding of Somalian soils which has resulted in numerous studies and guidleines on the state and use of land in Somalia.

SWALIM studies show that the quality of the land in the country has been deteriorating as a result of intensive use and mismanagement over many years. Land degradation has accelerated due mainly to the lack of appropriate land use governance and practice. Topsoil loss and decline in soil moisture are some of the most prevalent land degradation types in Somalia and are directly related to the country's hunger crisis.

The resultant poor land quality has compromised crop and livestock production, contributing to perpetual food insecurity, low incomes and widespread poverty.

SWALIM has conducted numerous surveys of the soil in different parts of Somalia and is in the process of compiling a national soils database which will help assess the country's soils and move forward with targeted sustainable soil management practices.

Land management training 

In addition, SWALIM offers the following courses in land resources management for organisations working in Somalia:

  • Land resources data collection, analysis and reporting
  • Application of Remote Sensing for Land Resources Mapping
  • Soil fertility
  • Use of GPS in Land Resources Surveys
  • Land Degradation

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