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Typenonprofit organization
PurposeHumanitarian and development work
HeadquartersNairobi, Kenya
Region served
Horn of Africa, East Africa

Adeso, formerly known as Horn Relief, is a non-governmental organization founded in 1991 by Fatima Jibrell. The organization started at the grassroots level, working in one town in Somalia, Badhan, working with women, youth and pastoralism. It has now grown into an international organization working in three countries - Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan - with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.


In 1991, Fatima Jibrell founded the Horn of Africa Relief and Development Organization in Connecticut, USA, in response to the devastation of the Somali civil war and the devastation of her homeland, Somalia, its land and its people. Over time, the organization grew, and in 1998, then simply known as Horn Relief, it began its flagship Pastoral Youth Leadership Program in the Sanaag region of Somalia, known then as the Buran Rural Institute. The first class had 41 boys and 24 girls.

In 2001, Adeso (still known as Horn Relief) held its first Camel Caravan in Somalia, where twenty young people walked for three weeks with nomadic pastoralists to learn about the environment, animal and human health, and peacemaking.

In 2002, in response to Fatima Jibrell’s advocacy work, the Puntland Government banned the export of charcoal in the region. In recognition of her leadership in creating a social and environmental movement in Somalia, Adeso’s founder won the international Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa.[1] That brought greater international attention to development and environmental issues in Somalia.

In 2003, the organization implemented the first large-scale cash transfer program in Somalia,[2] and its Deputy Director at the time, Degan Ali, developed the first cash-transfer training curriculum to educate internal staff and partner agencies.

In 2006, Fatima Jibrell retired as Executive Director, and was succeeded by Degan Ali. The following year, Fatima Jibrell won the National Geographic/Buffet Award for Leadership in African Conservation,[3] and the organization publishes a cash transfer implementation manual.[4]

In 2010, Adeso started its first country program in Kenya, and in 2011 it opened its first country program outside of the Horn of Africa, in South Sudan.

In 2012, the organization changed its name from Horn Relief to Adeso, to reflect its expansion outside of the Horn of Africa, and its emphasis on development rather than simply relief work.

In 2014, Somali-American actor Barkhad Abdi joined Adeso as a voluntary Goodwill Ambassador, to help give back to his country of birth through visibility and outreach.[5]

Adeso’s work[edit]

The organization’s work can be categorized in four ways:

Developing skills for life and work[edit]

Through formal and informal education and skills training Adeso gives young people and adults the skills and knowledge they need to lead more productive and self-sufficient lives. Adeso collaborates with key people from local communities to co-create training programs that meet the specific skill requirements of each community. This might mean boosting literacy among adults or it could mean helping students to transition to formal schools. Training programs however go beyond schools and also include:

  • Helping vulnerable people improve their livelihood or gain a new livelihood altogether;
  • Promoting disaster risk reduction strategies at the community level;
  • Encouraging good hygiene and sanitation practices to improve community health;
  • Promoting sustainable natural resource management to better protect livelihoods like pastoralism;
  • Building the capacity of the humanitarian community to deliver cash transfer programs.

Providing humanitarian aid[edit]

Adeso’s responses include emergency cash-based interventions, water trucking, distribution of non-food items, and the rehabilitation of water sources – often crucial as most emergencies are drought-related.

Reinvigorating the economy[edit]

Adeso works to strengthen local economies and protect communities from future shocks. Adeso looks at the skills that are required in new local economies before designing the training programs to equip local people with these skills. Sometimes, this can be as simple – but as crucial – as supporting initiatives that teach basic literacy and numeracy skills. Adeso also assists by for example helping farmers bolster their production or helping entrepreneurs establish new jobs.

Influencing policy[edit]

Adeso advocates on behalf of the communities they work with, giving them a voice on a local and international stage, and ensuring their interests and concerns are considered at the highest level.

Adeso's Offices[edit]

Adeso has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and is recognized as a charity in the UK, Kenya and the United States. According to its 2012 Annual Report, the organization has nine field offices: four in Kenya, three in Somalia, and an additional two in South Sudan. There are approximately 45 staff in the Nairobi office and nearly 250 staff in field offices. The 2012 revenues for Adeso were $25 million.[6]


External links[edit]