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 In GeoPoll Survey Reports, International Development Research

GeoPoll is pleased to announce the launch of our research services in Somalia with the release of our first report on the country. In late March 2019, GeoPoll conducted remote surveys in Somalia to investigate the humanitarian need and living conditions affecting the citizens on-the-ground. This report, which includes a data dashboard with all results below, details GeoPoll’s initial findings. Somalia is one of the most difficult countries in the world to gather data on, due to high levels of internal displacement and conflict, among other factors. As GeoPoll continues to conduct work in Somalia, we look forward to providing aid organizations with current and specific information on the status of the key issues facing Somali people.

Background: Somalia’s Humanitarian Need

Currently, Somalia is experiencing a humanitarian crisis where food is scarce and conflict afflicts many citizens. More than 1.5 million people are in critical need of assistance due to food insecurity, and malnutrition has exceeded the emergency threshold of two percent. There are also 2 million people in risk of violence due to living in hard-to-reach, conflict-affected areas.

Survey Methodology

The GeoPoll survey was in the field from March 27th to March 28th in 2019. Respondents were interviewed through voice calls on mobile phones, via Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing, or CATI. In order to facilitate this type of survey, GeoPoll recruited Somali people who were living in Kenya to be survey enumerators because they knew the local language and the context of the challenges of living in Somalia of late. These people were trained by GeoPoll staff and conducted the interviews via live calls to each of the individual respondents.

The survey was not controlled for gender yet there was a ratio of 68% male to 32% female responses, meaning that women were highly engaged with the questionnaire when consideration is given to the country in which the survey took place. Age was evenly distributed between the age groups, although the age group with the largest share of respondents was 35 years of age or older. Survey respondents were from 12 regions throughout the country, with the largest share from Banaardir. This survey had a small sample size of 91, and as such is not nationally representative, but does provide a snapshot view of the lives of some individuals in the country.

Food Insecurity in Somalia

Respondents were asked a range of questions to probe about the level of accessibility their households and communities as a whole have to food. The series of food security questions began generally when respondents were asked what the food situation was like in their community. 36% of responses indicated a lack of sufficient food—with 11% of the total responses indicating a very significant lack of food in their community. These responses reflect what has been seen in other studies on food insecurity in the country, that there are many people seriously suffering from lack of food that need assistance as soon as possible.

Next, respondents were asked about how many days, within the past 30 days, they lacked food. The survey asked respondents to quantify how many days they, or a household member, had to reduce the number of meals eaten in a day due to lack of food or money. 13% of responses indicated that every day within the past 30 days they had to ration food or money and cut back on the number of meals eaten. 11% of respondents cut back meals 15-29 days within the past 30 days, and 34% indicated 1 day to 10 days where they restricted meals.

IDPs and Safety

Violence and internal displacement are prevalent threats to people in Somalia and are a cornerstone to the humanitarian crisis in the country, especially to people living in the southern regions. To find out more about the situation, GeoPoll asked respondents about displacement and self-reported feelings of safety. First, respondents were asked if they had been forced or obliged to flee their homes recently, 41% of respondents stated that they had. Next, the respondents were asked if they had ever been either an internally displaced person or a refugee—19% of respondents had at once been either. Finally, GeoPoll asked if respondents feel safe in their homes due to the current security situation, where 33% of respondents noted that they do not feel safe. Due to the fact that the prominence of violence in Somalia is somewhat concentrated toward the south, the responses from this survey indicate the urgent need for humanitarian assistance that is impacting many of the innocent civilians affected.

Somalia Data Dashboard


Gathering information on-the-ground in Somalia, such as the above, is a crucial step in assessing the need associated with the humanitarian crisis and developing action plans for aid assistance for the inflicted. Data-driven decision making has been said to be one of the most important digital principles for development, and GeoPoll experts fully agree. GeoPoll can facilitate custom surveys in Somalia remotely and deliver real-time results quickly. Inquire about running a survey in Somalia, today.

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