Clay Aiken – Somalia

Last year, on June 25th, Clay fans received the news that UNICEF Ambassador, Clay Aiken was in Somalia.  Somalia is a country where conflict and hunger have created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Clay traveled to  Hargeisa, Gabiley and Baroma located in the northwest region of the country, known as the republic of Somaliland.  The area is a relatively peaceful area that has declared itself independent but has not been recognized internationally.

Somalia has suffered relentless civil conflict since 1991 when the military dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled from his post.  Some of the latest violence in the region has killed thousands and made over one million people homeless.

Clay, who was traveling on behalf of UNICEF, said of the region:

It’s the most dangerous place for a child to be. In the lower part of the country, southern part, I feel it’s a more desperate situation than any other place we’ve ever been.

According to UNICEF, Somalia is a country in which less than 25% of the population has access to basic health services, less than 30% attend primary school and only 29% have access to a safe water source.  It is also a place where 98% of girls are circumcised and has amongst the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

Clay visited a camp for 1500 displaced families in Hargeisa.  He met a young 11 year old boy who helped support his five siblings and his blind mother.  He did this by collecting stones.  He was able to save enough to pay for school which he attend each afternoon.

A visit to the Somaliland Cultural and Sports Center was also a part of Clay’s trip. It is an enclosed facility where the girls are able to learn about health, acquire life skills and play sports.  It was rumored that Clay even played a bit of basketball with the girls.

Next on his list of visits was to the town of Boroma, where Clay saw how the town’s new water system was functioning.  It was financed and built by UNICEF.  Clay also visited maternal and child health clinics where nutritional feeding and immunizations are available.

When Clay returned from his trip, he said:

Now that I have seen Somalia for myself, I feel it is important for the American public to remember that the Somali people have the same dreams for their children that we do.  The country is one of the most desperate in the world.  Fortunately, UNICEF has always been there and continues to provide the support needed to make a difference.  No other organization is more capable of making such a difference than UNICEF.

In the last year since Clay visited Somalia, the situation has become so much worse.  The United Nations agency for children on Wednesday accused Somali militiamen of aggression and hostility against its aid workers and said they were putting over 40,000 lives at risk.

In a recent upsurge in violence, Al Shabaab Islamist militia took over of a UNICEF compound in Jowhar. This isthe organization’s biggest operational hub and is located north of the capital Mogadishu.

Since the beginning of May, over 200 people have been killed and more that 122,000 displaced by the fierce fighting in Mogadishu.

“While local authorities and UNICEF maintain cooperative relationships in many areas of Somalia, we are witnessing and experiencing an unprecedented level of aggression against humanitarian work in Jowhar, a situation that should cause a great deal of concern not only to the aid community but primarily to Somali communities,” said Hannan Sulieman, Acting UNICEF Representative to Somalia.

Highly valuable nutritional supplies meant to be distributed to 40,000 of the most vulnerable children under three years old to prevent malnutrition were looted by the militiamen, UNICEF said.

The aid agency said that its nutrition and sanitation projects risked total collapse if the Jowhar UNICEF compound remained occupied and inaccessible to UNICEF staff.

To this date, UNICEF said its compound remains occupied by militiamen and inaccessible to the UN agency’s staff.

Somehow, this unacceptable and irresponsible action must be stopped.  The lives of Somali children and women are at great risk.  The world needs to be informed of what is going on and insist that something be done.

Unfortunately, there was no available video of Clay’s trip to Somalia.  Clay did two wonderful short videos while he was there.  The first was an informational piece on netting for beds.  The other video was about the Tap Project. Both of those videos are available on this site.  Look under videos and then UNICEF.

Instead of repeating one of those videos, we are featuring a wonderful montage by SueReu that is about Clay and Somalia.



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10 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Somalia

  1. Thank you for reminding us about the people of Somalia. I remember very well when Clay Aiken started talking about his trip there and found it sad that the media didn’t report on it (they are kind of a vile group of people, but that’s another comment for another story).

  2. Clay has gone to some very dangerous places for UNICEF. I saw the article about the UNICEF camp being occupied yesterday on Twitter.

  3. It is so nice to see that montage again. I used to have that one in my bookmarks and watched it many times. I so remember when he went there…but, of course, it never got any press in the Media that I remember. It is a sad thing to realize what is happening still to this day in Africa. So good to know that we have Clay and many other good people who go to these places to help as Unicef Ambassadors. Kudo’s to them..and proud of them too.

  4. SueRue..what a lovely montage..thanks for reminding us about all the hardships in Somalia. This was a dangerous place to visit…but Clay went…Clay said he wanted to make a difference…and has kept true to his word….He truly is special!!!


  5. It’s very sad what the people of Somalia endure on a daily basis. Thank God for Unicef and other humanitarian organizations that are trying to make a difference and help these people. I am so proud of Clay and the work he does to aid Unicef in bringing awareness and aid to the situation in Somalia, and to other nations where aid is needed. .

  6. What a beautiful article and video. And what an Incredible man!!!

    Hope we can post pics here. I have this one from Clay’s Unicef trip and I made it quite small, so everyone can see. I love this man!



  7. Thank you for the article and montage. Beautiful!!

    Clay is also very eloquent. Not only can he sing the phonebook, he can speak on any topic. Makes it easy to understand and gets the message across, without a script. *sigh* how can one singer possess all this – what a treasure. Clay, light the way!

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