FEEDING THE HUNGER FOR EDUCATION IN GEDO REGION SOMALIA

Belet -Hawa located along the border in Gedo Region shares a long insecure border line with Kenya and Ethiopia. Cyclic drought, armed conflict, limited services and severe food insecurity are key recurrent problems experienced in the district. Children have been the ones to bear the brunt of food insecurity as they are prone to malnourishment. As the children struggle to concentrate in class, their schooling suffers, leading to high levels of truancy.

To improve the health and learning capacity of 7,177 children enrolled in 22 schools, Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) implemented a school feeding program supported by World Food Programme (WFP). The target schools are vulnerable community schools with no access to such crucially needed support. The children are provided with two nutritious hot meals daily.

Students of Baletamin Primary School queue for their hot lunch

A frenzy of excitement is heard in the dusty yard of Baletamin Primary school. Small eager hands stretch out in queues as they wait to be served. Not being sure of what they will have for dinner, lunchtime for these children means they get an opportunity to access food rich in nutrients which meets the dietary demands. The head teacher tells us that most children in the school are from vulnerable households and therefore heavily reliant on such programs that contribute significantly to their daily nutrients requirements.

A teacher serving a student a hot meal portion.

“The school feeding program has contributed significantly to pupils’ retention and enrolment compared to schools not supported by the program. The school has seen an increase in enrolment and improved individual academic performance, as the children now observe high levels of attentiveness and has reduced absenteeism due to illness associated with malnutrition. “says the school head teacher.

This daily meal provision at the school has provided parents with a strong incentive to send their children to attend classroom sessions and access quality education service. Food for their children is one less thing parents have to worry about.

Amina, a parent of four students at the school, says, “Looking for nutritious food for ten children is not easy, many times we survive on only one meal a day. My family and I have been relying on food aids, which sustains us for only a short period; however, the school feeding program introduced by NAPAD has motivated me to send and ensure that my children remain in school. After all, the future belongs to them. If I fail to prepare them, then the vicious cycle of poverty will never end. We are truly grateful to NAPAD for coming to our aid.”

EMPOWERING YOUTH IN GEDO – SOMALIA TO TACKLE POVERTY THROUGH BUSINESS VENTURES

Youth unemployment is one of the most critical socio-economic and political problems facing Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa. Young people face hostile economic environments where job markets dry up, and there are limited options. Due to the perennial droughts, conflicts, and perpetual insecurity in the area, the people of this region suffered the loss of their livelihoods and constant poverty, which was compounded by a lack of meaningful employment to assist them in regaining economically.

Meet Mohamed Hassan Dahir, a 35-year-old resident of Garbaharey district from the Shabeel Village host community

Mohammed Dahir a beneficiary of the program loading goods for a customer into the Rickshaw.

After my father died, I had to drop out of school and take care of my family. I used to do manual work like offloading and loading to feed my family. At times I worked as a casual laborer in the construction sites. Income-generating activities are limited for unskilled workers like myself. The meager earnings I get from the casual jobs are barely enough to sustain my family household of 10 members,” Says Mohammed

The solution to unemployment lies in young people’s minds, who only need to be empowered to turn their ideas into the next big thing, creating new sustainable jobs with every enterprise.

To address this need NAPAD with funding from Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Terre d’ hermes (TDH), conducted business training for five existing youth and women groups to empower them to handle and run sustainable businesses that can help their household members and the community. The training was conducted in Garbaharey, and the groups provided in-kind support of their preferences in the form of Auto-rickshaws, refreshment distribution stock, and solar charging fridges.

We got the training on managing the business, and my group received an auto-rickshaw (TUKTUK) as business support. All the members of the group operate the auto-rickshaw and we distribute the profits amongst ourselves,” says Mohammed. “The cost per person sharing is based on the distance the customer is going. Within the town, we charge between $1 to $1.5. In a day we get approximately $5 to $8. The profit I get I use to take care of my family expenses. My entire family and I are so grateful to NAPAD,” He continues.

Mohammed transporting a customer on the Rickshaw the group received from the project.

The distribution of the in-kind support was organized in a public forum represented by the beneficiaries, elders, and local authorities. The leaders appreciated the efforts put in by NAPAD and thanked the donors for the intervention.

I have never considered myself an entrepreneur. It is thanks to NAPAD that I have changed the way I see myself. As unskilled workers we now have a steady income and do not rely on aid,” says Mohammed. “The only challenge is that the beneficiaries are many in a group and therefore the profit is small in regards to the number of the members,” He continues. 

Mohammed recommends that an additional tuk-tuk be provided to increase the group’s income.

LIVESTOCK FOR LIVELIHOODS: Increasing Household Income for Pastoralists in Gedo Somalia

Sahara Adan having her goat treated in Deka village Gedo

Deka Village, Elwak district in Gedo Somalia has been the home of 38-year-old Sahara Adan Dhicis for the past 8 years. A widow and the sole breadwinner for her 8 children, Sahara relies on her small herd as the only source of income for her household. For residents of Deka village, wealth has always been measured by the size of one’s herd, their livestock is a crucial source of food (milk) and a mobile bank that can be converted into cash for health expenses, school fees, etc.

A herd of goats in Deka village

For years drought and animal ailments have been the worst mishaps that could manifest to this community. “It was so distressing, watching as our animals die and there was nothing we could do about the diseases. We could barely get any milk for the children,“ Sahara reflects. Diseases not only claimed the lives of animals but also undermined their productivity, resulting in less milk and meat and also lowering their market prices.

“When our livestock got sick we would give them medicine by guessing the diseases they were suffering from and most times it would worsen the condition because we would give them wrong treatment or misuse the drug quantity, “Says Sahara

Lack of animal health services in the region has crippled the efforts of increasing productivity of pastoralists livestock and more so for the vulnerable households such as IDPs. To intervene in this dire situation,  NAPAD together with the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) and Medico International has trained and equipped 15 Community Health Workers with skills to diagnose and treat livestock diseases. The project seeks to reduce livestock morbidity, thereby improving productivity for household consumption and household income. This intervention has seen 450 households being provided with veterinary care of 28,000 animals.

Animal treatment activity with trained Community Health Workers

My children now drink more milk.

Sahara adan

“My animals were treated during the free treatment drive in our village. The animals were given treatment for worms, pneumonia, and parasites. Our animals are now healthy and thriving despite it being the rainy season when diseases are quite rampant. My children now drink more milk,” says a beaming Sahara. “I thank NAPAD for the support they have given our community”.