Somalia sits in the easternmost area of Africa called the Horn of Africa. The country shares its borders with Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, as well as the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

  • Population: 10,195,100
  • Life Expectancy: 55 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 30%
  • School Enrollment: 23%
  • Land Mass: 246,200 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 38%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 147/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 140

Facts about Somalia

Economic Development

Somalia was torn by 20 long years of civil war, resulting in it becoming one of the poorest countries in the world. Its socioeconomic statistics are among the worst in the world.

Child Protection

Many Somali women suffer sexual and gender-based violence, with 95 percent of girls and young women experiencing female genital mutilation.

Food & Agriculture

71 percent of the population does not receive a minimally adequate dietary intake.

Somalia flag


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World Vision in Somalia Today

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Somalia to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. Highlights of current programs include:

  • Improving health of mothers and nutrition of children under 5 years in partnership with communities.
  • Improving access to yearlong clean water supply and promotion of positive behavior change for communities.
  • Partnering with community and religious leaders and children on raising awareness on importance of life skills for youth.
  • Facilitating spaces and opportunities that give a voice to vulnerable children and their families.

World Vision History in Somalia

World Vision began working in Somalia in 1980 by helping Somali refugees fleeing from war between Ethiopian and Somali troops in the Ogaden Desert. Work included establishing feeding centers, drilling wells, and providing sanitation, hygiene, and medical assistance. Since then, some major accomplishments include:

  • Providing food to Somalis suffering from drought and war during the 1980s.
  • Meeting the medical and nutritional needs of thousands of people in southeastern Somalia, providing food, blankets, seeds, tools, medicine, and more in the 1990s.
  • Improving access to clean water by repairing wells and water pumps during the late 1990s.
  • Helping women access healthcare in order to lower mother and child mortality rates since the beginning of the 21st century.

Geography & People

Geography and people

Somalia sits in the easternmost area of Africa called the Horn of Africa. The country shares its borders with Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, as well as the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

Deserts cover most of Somalia’s northern region, with grasslands in the center region and fertile cropland in the south. Somalia’s four seasons alternate between rainy and dry.

Natural resources include uranium, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, and natural gas.

Ethnic Somalis make up most of the population, with the Bantu and other groups making up the remaining amount. While Somali is the official language of the country, people also speak English, Arabic, and some Italian.

Most Somalis work in the agriculture sector, growing things like bananas, sorghum, corn, coconuts, rice, and sugarcane.


In 1960, British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland joined to form the independent country of Somalia. Despite over two decades of socialist rule, the government remained unstable and finally collapsed in 1991.

After the government’s collapse, Somalia fell into a civil war that lasted for years. The violence between rival clans, along with a drought, severely damaged the country’s social infrastructure. Clans in the north separated to form the Republic of Somaliland, a country not officially recognized by any government, and northeastern clans separated to form the semi-autonomous state of Puntland.

Somali leaders have tried several times to form a functioning government since 2000. In 2009, they established another transitional government, but some groups still oppose the leadership. Violence and conflict continues in the country due to the lack of stable government.

Prayer Requests for Somalia

  • Please pray for peace in the country, which has been unstable for over 20 years.
  • Pray for the safety of World Vision’s staff — that as they serve in this fragile context, they will be free from harm.
  • Pray also for resources to enable World Vision to do more in the communities where we work; and that villagers will not only see the impact but also feel God’s love.