Hawo Mohamed, a 52-year-old mother of six, lives with her family in Deynille IDP camp, Banadir region. This was after leaving their home in Deymay Village, Kurtunwarey district, Lower Shabelle Region due to the current drought in Somalia. Hers is one of many families struggling to survive in these harsh conditions. The compounding impacts of the drought, conflicts, and other external factors in the region are worsening an already dire humanitarian situation. Local commodity prices also remain at an all-time high out of reach for many, making life even more challenging for these vulnerable households.
Following the failure of the 2021 deyr rains and 2022 gu rains, Somalia witnessed an alarming increase in acute malnutrition and mortality levels, driven by severe hunger and exacerbated by cholera and malaria outbreaks. According to a FEWSNET report in February 2023, at least 6.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance to prevent hunger and mitigate the further erosion of their livelihoods. Families are taking desperate measures to survive, with millions of people leaving their homes in search of food, water, health care, shelter, and alternative livelihoods. This has increased the risk of inter-communal conflict and heightened pressure on already limited basic services.
To provide access to life-saving relief food among the drought-affected households in Kahda and Deynile IDP camps, and in particular among households with moderately malnourished children under five, pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, and those with disabilities, Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) in partnership with Medico International (MI) implemented a food aid program in the two IDP camps.
Each of the 155 most vulnerable households selected including Hawo, received food vouchers valued at $122 USD. These vouchers were redeemed monthly at selected local retail shops for a period of three months. This way, they did not have to travel long distances to find food, saving them time and energy they could devote to other important tasks, like taking care of their families. By also working with local retail shops, the initiative also supported the local economy, creating a ripple effect of positive change.
“Praise be to Allah, I was blessed to be one of those who received a food voucher, and with it, I was able to redeem 25 kilograms of rice, 25 kilograms of wheat flour, 10 kilograms of beans, and 5 liters of cooking oil.” Hawo expressed her appreciation as she recounted how this program had made a tangible difference in her life and that of her children
Hawo reported that before receiving the food aid, she could only provide one meal a day for her children, but now, she was able to provide a balanced diet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She added that her children’s health had also improved over the three months and that she was also able to share some of the food she received with her loved ones.
Hawo expressed her sincere gratitude towards NAPAD and its partners for providing timely assistance to her family and other vulnerable households residing in the IDP camps. She was grateful for the food voucher program that had helped them meet some of their basic needs. Given the uncertain weather conditions, Hawo requested if the program could be extended to support them while they awaited the onset of the rainy season.