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.” 

GUSHING TAPS AND DASHING SMILES: Clean Water Improves Children’s Hygiene in Abduwak

Yamyam Primary School in Abduwak District Somalia.

Thorn trees stretch in a stubborn thicket for hundreds of miles in every direction of Abduwak District, Somalia. The region is characterized by hot and dry weather most of the year except for some unreliable torrential rains which fall in April and October. Amidst the hot blowing wind and the fog of red sand, Yamyam Primary School is a beacon of optimism in the desolate arid area. Yamyam primary school is a community school located in an IDP camp in Abudwak district, with a population of 130 students and 4 teachers. The school, however, faces a myriad of challenges.

Access to safe and clean water has been one of the biggest challenges for this school. Intermittent supply of piped water from the village borehole led to poor hygiene practices among the school population which exposed the students to water-borne diseases. This meant there was increased school absenteeism due to these diseases, while other pupils come to school late because they had to look for water before coming to school. If teachers became sick, classes were canceled for all students” Recalls school Principal Siciido Mohamed Abdi

Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) in collaboration with Medico International (MI) and German Humanitarian Assistance (GFFO) supported the school in the construction of a 5000L berkad (water reservoir) and the rehabilitation of twin gender-segregated pit Latrines.

A water reservoir constructed in Yamyam Primary to ensure a constant supply of water.

We used to buy water from nearby places to provide for the students which was difficult and expensive for the school. Things have changed because we now have a berkad full of water. The water is clean and safe for human consumption. We fill the berkad with water from the tap and it provides enough water for the school community, which has brought more convenience to the school routine, “admits Siciido.

NAPAD staff worked together with the school staff to ensure that the necessary conditions were created so that girls and female teachers would be able to go to school without interruption. This included the rehabilitation of gender-separated latrines and washing facilities in the school. The latrines have lockable doors from inside to provide privacy and security for the students. Also, a crucial aspect of the project was ensuring the sanitation facilities are inclusive to facilitate accessibility by people living with disabilities to guarantee that this group of people will be able to use the facilities as independently and safely as possible.

The newly rehabilitated latrines

Many of the female students have dropped out of school over the years due to shame and distress especially when there is no clean water at school to wash and dry themselves or to go to the toilet at all without disturbance. I believe that this is a new dawn for the education of our girls as they can now come to school and learn comfortably,” Says Siciido.

“I believe that this is a new dawn for the education of our girls as they can now come to school and learn comfortably”

Siccido Mohammed

Hand washing is now habitual and has enhanced hygiene practices among the pupils reducing diseases and increasing class attendance rates. Water gushing out of the taps has given the children nothing but dashing smiles and bright healthy futures.

Students of Yamyam primary using the new taps: This will promote hygiene in the school