Securing Livelihoods of IDP Women: Amino’s Story

Amino Abdullahi an IDP in Kismayu and beneficiary of the KWEEP project.

Amino Abdullahi Abdi, 46, is an Internally Displaced Person from Bu’ale, Middle Juba now living in the Port town of Kismayo in Southern Somalia. As a newly wedded young girl, Amino owned a small shop in Bu’ale that used to sell household essentials like tealeaves, salt, washing powder, and spices. The money she made from her little shop supplemented her husband’s income which allowed them to live a comfortable life. The conflict brought about by local militia prompted Amino and her family to leave home in search of safety.  

When we left, I only carried our clothes with us” Amino sadly recalls. “I left all my life back home in Bu’ale

Life was difficult when they settled at an IDP camp in Kismayo. The family of six could barely afford food, and her husband succumbed to a short illness. Amino did odd jobs like washing clothes to be able to support her family. Being the sole breadwinner, she started several ventures, including selling peanuts and a grocery store in the streets of Kismaayo. All her attempts to sustain her small projects were futile due to the little profits and insufficient capital.

I tried borrowing money for capital from the local village lenders, but repayment of this small loan was difficult as I often had to choose between repaying the debt and feeding my children from my earnings,” recalls Amino

It was during this period that Amino enrolled as a beneficiary of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) funded Kismayo Women Economic Empowerment Project (KWEEP). The 12-month project centered on the development of business capacities of IDPs, returnees and local community women through business skills training, value addition of business products, promotion of a saving culture by individuals and in groups, linkages for business credit from local Micro Finance Institutions (MFI) and recovery of the business stock of vulnerable women in business from Midnimo, Fanoole and Galbeed IDP camps of Kismaayo.

Through the KWEEP project, Amino joined a 10 Member Group that conducted Voluntary Saving and lending (VSL) among its members. The VSL groups encouraged savings and offered easy access to small loans to invest in the development of their small businesses. The VSL group now has opened a bank account with Amal bank. The group is also a safe space where these women can conduct group income initiatives. 

Through KWEEP business startup support, Amino has also benefitted from a fridge and a stock of groceries (Bagash) for expansion of her business. “I have now diversified my business and now sell ice-cream and ice itself which is one of the most sought-after commodities in Kismaayo. I also sell various groceries in the village and now get triple the profits I used to get. “Amino fondly reports. Amino is confident that she will be able to grow her business. “I plan to expand my business and I am not worried about funds because I know I will get a loan from my Ayuto/VSL group.” 

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”.

PROMOTING HYGIENE AND SANITATION IN SOMALIA’S RURAL COMMUNITIES ADMIST CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC

To reduce water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)-related diseases in IDP camps and Host communities in Somalia, NAPAD continues to support community behavioral change through participatory hygiene promotion campaigns and establishment of water storage and sanitation facilities such as latrines in at risk communities.

NAPAD staff and community hygiene promoters facilitating CLTS training.

In March 2020, Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) in partnership Medico International with funding from German Federal Foreign Office intensified hygiene and sanitation awareness campaigns in Abduwak district, Somalia. Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) triggering exercises, mobilized 240 Households in Herale, Inagabille, Dalsan and Labogalle to disseminate hygiene information that would encourage communities to eliminate open defecation through self-appraisal and analysis of open defecation and take action to become open defecation free. These sanitation and hygiene interventions are especially important in mitigating outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWDs) and more importantly mitigate COVID-19 transmission in the community.

CLTS facilitators and community members conduct transect walk in Inagabille village

As of 11th of May, confirmed COVID 19 cases in Africa are 69,707 with 2,399 deaths reported. Currently, Somalia has reported 1205 active cases and 53 deaths. The increase in cases is largely due to community transmission largely perpetuated by lack of hygiene facilities and little or no information on proper hand washing for disease control. World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that if the virus transmission is not slowed down rapidly, the patient surge and increasing demand for health care will overwhelm the Somali’s fragile health system. Key to this prevention of transmission as recommended by WHO is the promotion of maintenance of general hygiene among community members.

A hygiene promoter instructing Dalsan community members on proper hand-washing technique
Community members in Dalsan practicing proper hand-washing technique

In helping build Somalia’s Education, Health and Sanitation sector, NAPAD has also constructed Berkerds and Latrines fitted with hand-washing stations such as those at Amana Health Centre in Robday and Yamyam primary school. These facilities will ensure the most vulnerable, who include women and children have access to clean water.

Yamyam Primary School access clean water from the newly constructed Berkard.

The provision of safe water, sanitation and adequate hygiene (WASH) is essential to protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks. This will also build communities that are environmentally healthy and resilient in terms of managing environmental risks associated with sanitation and hygiene.

HEALTHY HERD BOOSTS IDP INCOME IN SOUTHERN SOMALIA

As one traverses Abduwak district, one cannot help but notice its vast plain lands with spacey grasslands and shrubs doted by hundreds of livestock; camels, cows, donkeys sheep and goats. Recurrent drought in the pasts five years with subsequent deterioration of pastures and prevalence of livestock diseases resulted to loss of thousands of livestock severely affecting the livelihoods of the pastoralist communities in the district.  Competition for scarce resources has led sporadic clan conflicts that have exacerbated the vulnerability of the residents.

Abdul is one of the residents of the district who lost hundreds of livestock during the 2017/2018 famine. Whilst remarkably resilient, Abdul has a sense of loss;

“My sheep and Goats died from a strange disease and drought. I only remained with 30 animals which could barely produce any milk.I was unable to sell them at the market,” Says Abdul.

Abdul holds up his sheep to receive a vaccine.

Abdul like many other residents of the district rely entirely on the livestock for their livelihood. With the loss of over 80% of their stock and reduced market prices the pastoralist can hardly feed their families. The communities are spending all their income on food, water and other non-food essentials. This leaves barely any income left for treatment and care of their livestock. Families in this area are already bearing the brunt of the negative economic impact, a fact reflected in the high levels of household indebtedness which is also severely constraining food access. Continuous support of pastoralist households must build resilience against climate-related shocks by providing timely veterinary and feeding assistance for their animals.

 “For years I have struggled to feed the ten members of my family from the meagre income I earned from my small herd. Without technical skills or training, I was ill-equipped to grow the herd or improve their health to fetch better prices in the market, no matter how badly I wanted to improve my livestock production capacity.” Abdul narrates.

NAPAD in partnership with Medico International through funding from German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), supported the treatment of over 20, 800 animals for 2200 households in four remote villages in the district.  Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) were identified and received a pre-treatment refresher training from the NAPAD Animal Health Officer. The 5-day training covered all relevant topics on symptoms of diseases, treatment, handling of animals. The trained CAHWs together with NAPAD animal health officer treated and dewormed ailing animals from the vulnerable households.  Common diseases treated include sheep and goat pox (SGP) and Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD). The CAWH also instructed livestock owners on good livestock production practices such as hoof trimming, regular deworming with the intent to improve animal productivity. 

NAPAD’s Animal health Officer during the vaccination and treatment drive.

My livestock now produce additional litres of milk compared to production amounts before the program. Increased production has allowed me to provide milk for my children and also sell the extra milk and use the money for food, health services, and school fees.” Says Abdul

AN OASIS OF HOPE IN HAMARE

Mr. Billow Adow in his farm.
Mr. Billow Adow in his farm.

Billow Adow, a small-scale farmer from Hamare practices farming on a quarter an acre piece of land. This has enabled him to not only cater for his children’s education but also take care of his nuclear family. However, due to the unpredictability of the Gu’rains that farmers are heavily reliant on, returns from his piece of land have not been forthcoming. The dwindling profits from his farming and the inability to now take care of his family and his children’s education have Billow reliant on cash transfers from well-wishers and humanitarian organizations.

Farming was no longer a reliable source of income, and I was struggling to pay school fees and feed my family.”

Billow adow

“I have been a farmer all my life, like my father before me. But much has changed since I was as a child. The rains that once were regular have become unpredictable, and severe droughts are becoming more frequent. Farming was no longer a reliable source of income, and I was struggling to pay school fees and feed my family. I used to plant maize once a year. If there was rain, the harvest was good. If there wasn’t, the harvest was poor. But with the changes in climate, I could hardly grow enough maize to meet my family’s needs.” Recalls Billow

In order to help farmers in Hamare increase their resilience to climate change and improve their income, NAPAD in partnership with Terre des homes (TDH) started a solar irrigation project that targeted 300 farmers. These direct and indirect target groups were among the hardest hit by the previous severe drought that ravaged most parts of the country. The project also involved construction of shallow wells close to the river and elevated water tanks that can hold a maximum of 60000 liters. Water is pumped from the wells to the elevated tanks using solar energy via PVC pipes then to the farms. These has enabled areas further from the river to also benefit from the project.

Mr.Billow’s onion yield

This is a very extraordinary yield, something that I have never experienced before. With the money, I am now able to provide for my family’s’ basic need

billow adow

Mr. Billow has since diversified his farming, he now practices mixed farming. Last season, Billow harvested 50 bags of onions which he sold for Birr 600 per bag translating to a total of 30000 Birr (USD 780). “This is a very extraordinary yield, something that I have never experienced before. With the money, I am now able to provide for my family’s’ basic needs while also putting aside some money as savings for my children’s education. I also bought goats; I have 12 goats now,” he says proudly. He is now able to smile instead of frowning upon the skies for their unpredictability.

Farmers are able not only to diversify the crops they grow but also increase the number of planting seasons. This has built the communities resilience to the shock brought about by adverse climate change. There is now a glimmer of hope in restoring the community’s confidence in agriculture as a stable source of livelihood and as a promoter of self-reliance. This is thanks to the solar irrigation system that also allows them to have a steady supply of food and income for their families. The system indeed has been akin to an oasis of hope that the farmers can always count on to cushion them from drought and poverty

Durable Solutions: Hybrid water Solar System Powers Mandera Borehole One Year On

In the scorching sun of Kenya’s North Eastern County, Mandera, Arabia Borehole stack in Arabia Village breaks the dreariness of the vast brown arid land.  A group of herders congregate at the main water point surrounded by clusters of animals as they water in unison and rhythm. It has been more than a year now that herders from the larger Arabia ward are watering their livestock without a hitch. Mohamed Hassan, a herder hailing from Lethi village recalls how the situation was like before the installation of the hybrid solar water pumping system.

”There are times when we would travel tens of Kilometers to the borehole from our villages, only to be told the diesel engine isn’t functioning. We had to wait for a technical person from Mandera to fix which would take days. As a result, we were forced to trek 20KM to 30KM in search of water to other villages such as Omar Jilow which is 30km from Arabia,” says Mohamed.

One and a half years ago, NAPAD in partnership with Medico International (MI) installed a hybrid solar water pumping system at the borehole. Before installation of the solar water pump in October 2018, the borehole used a diesel powered generator, consuming up to 80 litres of diesel per day, each litre costing 100 shillings. Now that the solar water pumping system is in use, the diesel consumption and engine maintenance has reduced by half, with the engine consuming only 30 litres a day.

“The solar water pump has helped us save a lot of fuel as we have to alternate energies unlike before…”

Abdi

”We use the solar during the day from 9am to 4.30 pm then at night, we switch the engine on. The solar water pump has helped us save a lot of fuel as we have to alternate energies unlike before,” says Abdi Weli the borehole operator.

The use of the solar has helped the engine rest before it resuming its function after sunset. According to the borehole operator, the constant engine breakdown was as a result of the constant use, hence shortening the life span of the engine.

The drinking water fee has also reduced by almost half since the installation of the Solar. Prior to the solar installation, a 20 litre jerrican of water costed 5 shillings while now the price reduced to 3 shillings. This has provided respite for the herders who in the past paid exorbitant fees in order to access the borehole water daily. Currently, more than 15,000 herds of livestock access Arabia borehole for water on daily basis.

Not far from Mohamed are group of women fetching water for domestic use.  Donkey carts, jerricans and drums owned by herders line up in an open water kiosk waiting for their turn to be filled. Just like the herders, the women are feeling sense of relief since installation of the solar. The price of water has reduced half and water fetching is not limited during the day only unlike previous times.

“We can come here any time to fetch water. Whether we come during the day, evening or night, we access the borehole and fetch water…”

Fatuma

”We can come here any time to fetch water. Whether we come during the day, evening or night, we access the borehole and fetch water,” says Fatuma Ahmed, resident of Busbus village.

As a result of readily available water, the borehole management expanded water access by extending water pipes to 10 nearby homes with the intention of increasing revenue for the borehole. The initiative helped managed mothers received water in the comfort of their homes without struggle.

”I no longer trek in the scorching sun. I access the water tap away from my home. Without NAPAD and its partner, this would have not been possible. Thank you one thousand times,” remarks Halima Saidia, a beneficiary of the project.