Simply air lifting in aid or fixed mindset aid workers, in the style of the old NGO aid model is no answer...we just create aid dependency and weaken confidence and self-respect; by undermining local economies, cultural bonds and knowledge.
Somali farmers benefit from al-Shabab reforms
al-Shabab are instituting self-sufficiency projects to keep NGO's out of the somalia. I am not condoning the bad things that al-Shabab (as an organisation) has done; we should however listen to legitimate criticism of what happens when NGO's supply food and other aid in the wrong way, helping to destroy local economies, rather than helping make them more resilient.
"By not taxing farmers for their land but for what they produce, Boru said al-Shabab is encouraging more people to farm - which means more tax income from the increased produce. And by providing rent-free premises for restaurateurs who serve only locally sourced food, the group is maintaining the demand for local food and safeguarding their coffers, he added.
Al-Shabab's decision to ban aid organisations could also help minimise risks to the armed group's security. "Making the residents self-sufficient reduces the opportunity for relief aid - a 'honey trap' for intelligence gathering by the Western aid agencies."
Regardless of al-Shabab's motives for banning NGOs and building canals, many locals have welcomed the developments. "Before, I was a beggar. Now what I produce with my two hands in my farm is sold in the markets of Mogadishu. God sent us al-Shabab to chase [out] the NGOs," said Qarawi, the sesame farmer
It's a strange world...
Just as conflicts can arise in different ways than we might expect - it is also true that solutions to conflicts can start to arise in suprising ways - perhaps via water engineering and self-sufficiency initiatives in this case.