Somaliland lady and shop

Since 2010, Coffey has worked on UK-funded projects in Somalia and its regions worth more than £5 million. 

This work has made full use of our historical strength and expertise in governance, security and justice, in economic growth, and in evaluation and research.

Our teams are made up of international and Somali experts who bring decades of experience working in Somalia and a deep knowledge of the country’s cultural and legal traditions and environment.

Coffey’s work in Somalia is supported by a history of working successfully in other conflict and post-conflict settings, including northern Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan.

Somalia in context

The combined effects of climate insecurity and more than 25 years of conflict have left 2.4 million people in Somalia in need of humanitarian assistance. Clan conflicts, the fight against Al Shabaab and other insurgent groups and complex inter-state dynamics have also long hindered the development of regional and federal governance structures. In response to these issues, the Somali authorities and international actors are working together to advance reconstruction and other stability, security and development activity throughout the country, to help tackle poverty and conflict.

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) was established in 2012, set within a framework that aims to support the state formation process and help to align donor funding with national priorities. It was also intended for international assistance to increasingly be delivered by Somalia’s own federal and regional institutions. In the North of the country, the regions of Somaliland and Puntland function as semi-autonomous states. Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 and has sought international recognition ever since. It operates its own political system, government institutions, police force, currency and works on a number aid and development programmes, separate from the FGS.

The British government’s work in Somalia and Somaliland is focused on supporting stability, security and economic development. The UK is responding to humanitarian needs and supporting basic services such as healthcare, whilst taking a leading role in the international community’s peacebuilding, security sector, justice and governance initiatives. 

What works in a fragile state

Coffey’s work in fragile and conflict-affected states covers many of the most fragile countries and regions across the world. Our research and extensive field expertise has been honed on more than 350 assignments in countries as diverse as South Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as through our extensive track record in Somalia and its regions. Through this work we have developed key pillars of successful work in conflict and post-conflict environments:

  • Our flexibility allows us to adapt and respond to highly dynamic political and security environments: We are quick thinking and creative in our problem-solving, based on a nuanced understanding of the political, cultural, religious and socio-economic context.

  • We have world-class risk management: We know how to identify, mitigate and escalate (where needed) political, programme, security and fiduciary risk on our own work and that of our partners.

  • Our solutions address underlying causes of governance, security and justice failures: We use multidisciplinary methodologies and our strong local networks to uncover the causes of failings and shape fast and effective strategic interventions.

  • We strengthen institutions while promoting transparency and accountability: We work with state and non-state partners and their constituencies at local, regional and national levels, to build efficient, transparent and accountable processes and systems.

  • We work on country-led transitions: Local people and organisations will drive change – but our global skills help to tailor and strengthen the solutions. We work with local leaders to build skills and advance progress towards stronger institutions and sustainable structures of government and civil society.

  • We monitor and evaluate results to help donor agencies achieve their aims: We use sophisticated results-based monitoring, verification and evaluation systems, to make sure programmes achieve their objectives, adjust to lessons learned and react to dynamic environments. 

Coffey in Somalia

Our broad network of in-country colleagues and partners in Somalia ensure that we are mindful of the local dynamics and know how to adapt to risks and the evolving environment. We are acutely aware, for example, of the importance of Somalia’s oral traditions, the significance of customary law and the clan system in the different regions. This knowledge influences how we design and deliver our programmes.

Coffey’s experience in Somalia and Somaliland covers work on economic growth and private sector development, social development, security and justice, governance, and more. Our work is contributing to building and evaluating the institutional knowledge and capacity that is laying the groundwork upon which Somalia’s future development can rest. 

We are currently working on a project called Understanding the Potential Development of the Justice System in Somalia (2016-2017) to research, document and analyse the nexus between the formal and informal justice sector focusing on regional court houses in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Kismayo and Beledweyne. We are developing a clear baseline and identifying indicators for measuring progress. With a team of experts in relevant fields – including Sharia and Xeer legal systems, court administration, criminal justice chain mapping, gender and social inclusion and political economy analysis – our research, mapping and reporting will inform future UK programme design and investments.

Our review of the Somaliland Development Fund (2015-2016) informed DFID’s 2018-2023 Business Case for the region. Our role was to advise on the future of the SDF through engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, including government, project staff, civil society, beneficiaries and other donors and development partners. We reviewed the SDF business case and tracked performance against the following: the credibility of the Government of Somaliland as a partner; the need for a separate trust fund for Somaliland; the success of the SDF’s project delivery; and how the SDF has contributed to strengthening the Somaliland state and the state citizen compact.

In 2014-15, we ran the six-month preparation project for the Somalia Public Sector Capacity Development Flagship Programme (DFID), which aimed to raise the government’s awareness of options for improving public sector governance. Our team designed and initiated activities to build cross-governmental support for the programme. On the basis of consultations with government, it helped them to evaluate these options and subsequently support the design of an initial set of activities for advancing PSCD Flagship Programme implementation.

Our project on Social Norms and Behaviour Change for Gender Equality in Somalia (2015; DFID) was part of international efforts to ensure that women and girls can participate meaningfully and benefit from the increased stability of government and state structures. We scoped, identified and presented options for innovative interventions to change social norms and motivate behaviour change in relation to women’s participation in all levels of decision-making and harmful traditional practices, including FGM. The work informed the development of a new gender equality programme for DFID Somalia.

In 2013, our work on the Somaliland National Development Plan Prioritisation (funded by DFID and Danida) helped consolidation of local areas of stability by supporting local communities to take control of their own affairs, create jobs, and improve access to health and reproductive care for women and children. Our assessments enabled line ministries, the National Planning Commission and the SDF Joint Steering Committee to agree priorities from the NDP and identify initial projects and programmes for potential funding.

Through the Organisational Development of Accountant General Office and Office of the Auditor General (OAG) programme (2013; DFID) we provided TA to both offices to enable them perform their duties efficiently and effectively according to internationally acceptable accounting and auditing standards; we also prepared the Accountant General Office to carry out its fiduciary responsibilities under the World Bank and African Development Bank funded projects and any future external assistance thus reducing the time for those programmes to become effective.Specifically we prepared a strategy for the OAG to communicate efficiently and effectively with Parliament, line ministries, judiciary, police, business community, civil society organizations, media (public hearings), and its staff; and designed the organisational structure for the Accountant General Office including scheme of service.