Enabling Resilient Agro-pastoral Livelihoods

According to the Somalia Food Security Outlook, October 2020 to May 2021, acute food insecurity is expected to remain high in Somalia through May 2021. This situation is perpetuated by varying impacts of localized floods and below-average rainfall, a worsening desert locust infestation in central and parts of southern Somalia, and the economic contraction linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The population facing food consumption gaps is set to increase from 2.1 million as documented in late 2020 to 2.5 by mid-2021 according to the same report.  NAPAD addresses food insecurity through humanitarian aid and by establishing long-term agricultural interventions that protect livelihoods and secure the food security of affected communities.

Along the stretch of the Jubba river sits a 24-acre piece of lush land in Korey village. Amid the scorching sun, mothers are harvesting maize, beans, and fodder for their animals. The farm hosts 50 riverine farmers from Korey village, Dolow district.  Farming is persistently affected by erratic rainfall, Perennial River flooding, high-cost of pumping irrigation water using old diesel engines, poor farming skills, poor quality farm inputs and economic vulnerabilities. 


Ali in his maize field

Standing in the middle of his maize field is 36 years old Ali Mohamud, a father of six children.  It has been 5 months since Ali and the other 49 farmers started farming this piece of land and have been an exciting journey for them.

Early 2020, Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development in collaboration with Terre Des-Hommes (TdH) and  BMZ Germany implemented a building resilience project that aims to improve food security in vulnerable communities like in Korey Village of Dolow District, Somalia.

Korey Shallow Well

‘’ We were very excited when the NAPAD program team came to us with this project that would empower us to advance our farming. It was on condition that we show serious commitment to farming. Before only a small portion of this land was under irrigation. The land was barren and bushy. We cleared, ploughed…‘’ Recalls Ali.

Korey Water Tank

NAPAD partnered with community leaders and the administration to identify the 24 acres of land and the 50 farmers. The land is situated far away from the flooding areas.  The farmers also formed 5 farmers groups for better coordination and monitoring.

Maize farm

NAPAD dug a shallow well near the river and installed a solar-water-pumping system which now enables the farmers to pump water from the river throughout the year without fuel cost and minimal technical problems. The solar pumping system is operated by locals trained by NAPAD.

“Previously, the diesel-powered pump was very expensive to maintain but now, Alhamdulillah! We are very happy and delighted because we can farm at any time of the year and engine worries are not in our discussions.’ said the father of six.

Farmer feeding earthen canals with water

The farmers have integrated agro-forestry with trees being planted along the river basins and in the farms to help prevent soil erosion.  To increase crop production, NAPAD provided farm inputs such as crop seeds as well as training to enhance farmers’ knowledge of farming. 

Farmers receiving farm in puts

“We participated in farmer’s field days and agroforestry training organised by NAPAD. We gained knowledge we didn’t have. We were taught on advanced farming and how to increase farm production and here we are applying the knowledge,” said a proud Ali.

NAPAD agronomist conducting farmer field days

The farmers have turned the farms into flourishing paradise, growing different crop varieties such as onions, tomatoes, maize, cow peas, Sudan grass, and fruits

Onion Farms

 “We immensely thank NAPAD and the donors for their unwavering support. Without them, all this could have not been possible.’’  Ali.

Farmer also harvest fodder for their animals

KITCHEN GARDENS DIVERSIFY DIETS FOR PASTORALISTS IN ABUDWAK

Abudwak, Galmudug state being arid and water scarce, there is a common perception that it is not suitable for farming.  Farming is the least thing discussed in many households in this remote part of the country. That notion is slowly fading away for many households after NAPAD introduced kitchen garden farming for pastoralist communities in Abudwak.

It’s 6.00 am; mama Fatuma is watering her small kitchen garden in her plot, a routine she has religiously observed for the last three months since she was introduced to kitchen gardening by NAPAD. Mama Fatuma’s 10M by 5M kitchen garden looks promising. Within a month of planting her seeds and seedlings, the plants have begun to bear fruits, first Capsicum, Tomatoes, kales, and watermelon. The excited mother of 8 can’t believe her progress and can’t help but admire her work.  Her farm will produce enough vegetables for her family use and sell them in the local market.

Now Abudwak comes to us

MAMA FATUMA
Mama Fatuma in a discussion with NAPAD agronomist

“We no longer travel to Abudwak town to get vegetables. I have plenty in my compound. We get it anytime we want. Now Abudwak comes to us’’, Reports the new farmer.  In addition to growing food for her family, Fatuma can sell some of the vegetables she grows. For example, she sells each capsicum at 10 cents Dollar. “This morning I sold two Kgs of tomatoes and 1kg of capsicum to a grocery in Abduwak town’’ says delighted Fatuma.

NAPAD, in partnership with Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF), is implementing a project that promotes diversification into kitchen gardens by the pastoralist community for a sustainable supply of nutritious fresh vegetables and fruits. Water for this farming is supplied by the village boreholes in Dalsan and Hulkujur villages in Abudwak district.

NAPAD through SHF funding has solarized water pumping in these boreholes, increasing their water output, reducing the cost of pumping the water, and employing sustainable renewable energy to pump the water.  The increased water output ensures that the community has enough water for domestic use, livestock use, and now for their kitchen gardening. “Before the kitchen garden farming, we used to have this belief that farming does well only where rivers flow. We have realized you can farm anywhere when water is available” says Mama Fatuma

Mama Fatuma assesses her capsicums

NAPAD, with the support of the community elders, identified 100 women from Dalsan and Hulkujur villages in Abudwak who were trained in kitchen farming.  The women were provided with farm inputs which include vegetable seeds and farm tools. Fatuma is among 100 beneficiaries of this project.  The approach seeks to diversify sources and quality of food and nutrients for vulnerable persons such as women and children. This is the first time Mama Fatuma and the other women were introduced into farming as this pastoralist community relies more on livestock production for food.

Mama Fatuma’s spinach grown in a gunny sack

Now that these women farmers have registered success in kitchen garden farming, many other women are willing to learn, so that they too can venture and replicate the success story in kitchen garden farming.   Mama Fatuma dreams to have a big farm that will supply the whole of Abudwak town. She appreciates NAPAD and their staff for introducing them to vegetable farming. “We say thank you to NAPAD and the donors for giving us this knowledge we didn’t have. May Allah bless you”.  

YOUTH AND WOMEN IN MANDERA BENEFIT FROM TRAININGS

In 2014, Fatuma Sheikh, a 30-year-old mother of four and a passionate entrepreneur, witnessed the high demand for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) – relatively low-cost products and sold quickly. After seeing this unmet need, Fatuma decided to start her own small business, a small shop.

Fatuma started her business with a $150 investment from her savings but quickly ran into substantial challenges. Like many other micro-retailers lacking formal business training, Fatuma was operating her business based on intuition rather than well-established business management practices. This led to poor financial management consequently leading to losses.

Fatuma’s experience is common across Mandera County, Kenya, where women and youth, in particular, have limited access to formal employment opportunities, and entrepreneurship presents a path toward economic independence. However, like Fatuma, many of these entrepreneurs lack basic business skills and knowledge, which prevents them from maximizing their business’s economic potential. Existing enterprises of women and youth operate with minimal knowledge of business management.

Entrepreneurship training held in Lafey Mandera county for 50 women and youth.

To strengthen households’ livelihoods and resilience against external shocks through diversification of income, NAPAD, together with Terre des homes and Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany) – BMZ, trained 50 women and youth on entrepreneurship skills. The ten-day training took place in Lafey sub-county Mandera County and covered the modules on business management, value addition and marketing  as well financial management  and  knowledge on how to improve  their saving  culture to improve their  business capital.

Fatuma Sheikh, a 30-year-old budding entrepreneur attending the entrepreneurship training.

Before the training, I was just in the business because I wanted to be called a businesswoman. I didn’t know how to run the business professionally. I was doing things I wanted without much consideration. I have now been taught how to balance books, marketing, saving, borrowing, and planning.” Said Fatuma . “With this new knowledge and skills, I look forward to realizing my dream of owning a supermarket.

The women and youth divided into five groups will then be supported through in-kind support to establish profitable, sustainable business enterprises. The five groups were able to select their preferred enterprises and then be supported with all the requirements needed to ensure they would thrive.

Suleiman Hirsi a 26 year old youth who wants to start the entrepreneurship journey attending the training.

26-year-old Suleiman Hirsi attended the training. “I have enjoyed and learned a lot in these ten days. I even identified business opportunities in the area that I can pursue. Our group chose to pursue a car wash business as there is none in the locality at current. NAPAD has promised to support our business idea, and we are very excited to start this entrepreneurship journey.

A class session during the ten-day training.

This training is under the Building Resilience at Community Level Project, contributing to the sustainable strengthening of the livelihood and resilience to droughts in Gedo (Somalia) and Mandera County (Kenya).

GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY 2020: HAND HYGIENE FOR ALL

NAPAD commemorates #GlobalHandwashingday2020.

If there was ever a time when people accepted the importance of handwashing using soap, it has to be 2020. Most especially in Somalia, apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, the region has also grappled with flooding.  According to UNOCHA the floods forced at least 167,000 people into displacement camps with little to no clean water, increasing the risk of AWD/Cholera outbreaks. Since the beginning of this year, the cumulative total number of suspected cholera cases in Somalia has been 5925, including 31 associated deaths, according to the Ministry of Health Somalia. At the same time, COVID-19 infections have been 3,941, with 104 related deaths.

Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent these diseases. The world commemorated the Global Handwashing Day on 15 October 2020, with this year’s theme being Hand hygiene for all, calling for all of society to achieve universal hand hygiene and focusing on the importance of handwashing equity.

As part of the Global Hand Washing Day campaign, NAPAD, NORWEGIAN CHURCH AID, GERMAN FEDERAL FOREIGN OFFICE AND MEDICO INTERNATIONAL focused on increasing community awareness on the importance of handwashing with soap to improve hygiene practices, especially among young children. With support from these partners, NAPAD conducted two handwashing campaigns simultaneously in Abudwak and Dollow Somalia.

Residents of Dayah Village with local language pamphlets on proper hand hygiene
Residents of Dayah Village Dollow Somalia practicing #HforHandwashing commemorating #GlobalHandwashingDay .

In Dollow Somalia, our team conducted hygiene awareness campaigns in Dayah village. The activities facilitated by NAPAD and NORWEGIAN CHURCH AID saw 80 community elders, women groups, religious leaders, and students discuss the importance of hygiene, which all starts by cleaning one’s hands properly to stop the spread of germs and illness and particularly in this COVID-19 pandemic period. Activities included training through modules and demonstrations focused on washing hands, washing them effectively, and the prevention methods of COVID-19. All 80 participants pledged to maintain hygiene practices through handwashing with soap and water. Each participant received a t-shirt, pamphlets on proper hand hygiene, and soap bars, supporting their continued practices on effective handwashing.

Children in Ayatin Primary Abudwak Somalia practicing proper hand washing techniques.

In Abudwak, thanks to GERMAN FEDERAL FOREIGN OFFICE AND MEDICO INTERNATIONAL, the event held at Ayatin Primary attracted approximately 160 attendees—including students, parents, and teachers. The celebration emphasized the importance of handwashing to prevent diseases, the necessity of using soap instead of only water, how everyone’s health can benefit from washing their hands, and the critical times for hand washing, including before and after eating and after visiting the toilet. Additionally, handwashing soap and handwashing facilities were given to the school. The intention was to stretch past raising awareness and promote behavior change—making handwashing less of an unfamiliar, daunting task and more of an essential behavior at critical points of the day, particularly among children. They are the most significant change agents in society.

COMMUNITY PARALEGALS PROMOTING PEACE AND ADVANCING GIRLS’ RIGHTS IN MANDERA KENYA

COVID-19 has unearthed another global epidemic of gender-based violence and child rights violations. The coronavirus lockdowns have exposed that the most intimate spaces of the home are not always safe places and especially to the girl child.

In Mandera County, Kenya, adherence to some traditions like Early Forced Marriage (EFM) has created challenges regarding children’s rights, and primarily girls. Many girls are pulled out of school every year and married off.  They are victims of a tradition in which marriage is done by “restitution” or “exchange.” Mandera Kenya generally consists of patriarchal traditional pastoral communities that view girls purely in terms of the dowry they will bring to the family. Therefore, in times of economic hardships like the one COVID-19 has brought upon, girls are a monetary way out of the difficulties.

Abdinasir Abdiaziz Hassan in a paralegals training conducted by NAPAD, UNDP and AMKENI WAKENYA.

Abdinasir Abdiaziz Hassan grew up witnessing systemic injustices in his community in Rahmu Mandera. As a young man, he discerned the extent of everyday illiteracy and societal trappings that continue to affect access to justice for children, women, persons with disabilities, and other minorities. A trained paralegal courtesy of NAPAD, UNDP KENYA, and AMKENI WAKENYA, Abdinasir operates from the Neboi legal aid center. A resource center from which the paralegals offer legal information and guidance. He shares insights on his work:

Abdinasir at the NEBOI legal Aid Centre constructed under the HAKI KWA WOTE project supported by UNDP and AMKENI WAKENYA

Our office is within the community, at the chiefs’ camp. In one of our community outreaches, we had raised awareness of paralegals’ work in the community. Therefore, the community members identify the Neboi Legal Aid center as a sought-after refuge for all community problems.  

We have witnessed an increased number of early child marriages and gender-based violence during this Corona period when schools have been closed. In the past month, a 16-year-old girl was to be forcefully married off. They began calling me at midnight. I woke up to several messages: “A young schoolgirl is about to be married off, and they have already brought her dowry, what can we do.”

Together with our team of paralegals, teachers, and the area chief, we visited the homestead and had an amicable agreement with both parties to let the girl finish her schooling before any marriage plans. Both parties agreed, and the proposed husband confessed to not knowing the girl was still in school. The teachers promised us that she would ensure the girl stays in school.

Such cases are prevalent, and during this COVID 19 pandemic period, they have intensified with teenage pregnancies also being on the rise. We have received more than 20 cases of teenage pregnancies during this period.

Legal and justice responses to such cases are limited in many places and more-so in marginalized communities. Very few people report such cases to the authorities due to fear of reprisal, lack of knowledge on legal rights, or distrust of the police.

On the other hand, traditional local systems, e.g., the community elders that are more accessible and affordable, are not immune to manipulation by local elites and lean more to the customary laws that are at times harmful. 

Abdinasir conducting a community outreach on Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms.

As community paralegals, we bridge the gap between the community and the authorities, ensuring we maintain peace and protect the minorities’ rights. We utilize rapport and trust to increase access to justice for our communities. Perhaps, most importantly, as paralegals we empower our communities, helping them become aware of their rights and act to advance their interests.

The work of a paralegal is not about any financial reward. On several occasions, we are offered money by perpetrators of injustices, but we always put the victims’ interests first and stand by our policies. We are threatened and ostracized by our families for going against traditions that we deem harmful to our communities, but our quest for justice will not be waned.

SAFETY PACKAGING SAVES LIVES: BEHAVIOUR CHANGE CAMPAIGN FOR FOOD VENDORS IN KISMAYU

Every day hundreds of traders and consumers flock into markets in Kismayu to purchase various commodities, especially food items. Bread and meat are a staple and typical food in Kismayu. Currently, meat and bread in Kismayu and broader Somalia is sold in the market while being openly displayed and unwrapped. The consumers/customers will pick their preferred product and carry it with whichever means they deem fit: including out in the open. The concept of packaging for these two products is practically nonexistent.

Somalia has a high AWD/cholera prevalence recording of 78,560 cases and 1,160 deaths from January to August 2020. Hygienic handling of food plays a vital role in preventing outbreaks of cholera and other hygiene-related diseases.

Awliyo Sankus is a 48-year-old IDP beneficiary of the NAPAD-GIZ KWEEP phase 2.

Awliyo Sankus is a 48-year-old beneficiary of the NAPAD-GIZ KWEEP phase 2, and an IDP living in Fanole IDP camp. She is a camel meat vendor at the Shaqalaha Mini market in Kismayo, where she fends for her entire eight family members.

Kismayu food vendors attending a campaign in food hygiene and safety packaging.

Hygienically packaging food and ensuring food was handled safely, were relatively new skills for Awliyo. In June 2020, she participated in a behavior change campaign funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), working in collaboration with Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD). The campaign sought to address two issues in Kismayu; proper food hygiene and safe packaging. 100 vendors of meat, fish, bread-processing enterprises, and retailed vegetable vendors from the five main Kismayo Villages, attended the two-day campaign.

A trainer facilitating a session on food hygiene and safety packaging

The campaign was Awliyo’s first food hygiene and safety packaging awareness.

It has taught us a lot because we learned hygiene practices on how to store our products in the shops and to ensure we package them accordingly, and with that, we avoid many diseases,” she continues. “Good packaging and maintaining hygiene will also attract more customers to our shops.”

The women also learned simple tips that can have a significant impact on food safety. “We learned that one could spread bacteria to food through touching your nose, mouth, hair, handling garbage and even handling animals and then handling the food,” Awliyo Sankuus said.

Safe packaging protects one’s product/food from physical damage, dust, as well as microbiological and chemical contamination. Proper food packaging should facilitate the transport of the product, prevent disease or loss, and protect it against damage or degradation.

She was thrilled to participate in a food hygiene and safety packaging campaign through behavior change. Awliyo believes that she will now be able to take care of herself and her customers after learning what food hygiene means to human well-being.

I am now an advocate of safety packaging, saves lives,” she excitedly says.