Solar Energy Improves Food Security of Pastoralists in Abudwak

Dalsan, a village roughly 20km from Abudwak town, hosts 400 households who rely on a diesel-powered generator. The high cost of running the generator and regularly breakdown forced the Dalsan community to turn to unsafe water sources such as water ponds.

“Getting water was our main challenge, and when the generator broke down, which was the norm, we would buy water from the town at exorbitant prices. Those who could not afford to buy water resorted to fetching water from the dirty ponds”, reports Abdi Hassan Ali, a father of 7 children and the community leader of Dalsan Village.

Solar panels installed to power water pumping at the Dalsan Borehole.

It’s under these conditions that Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) with funding from Somali Humanitarian Fund (SHF) intervened in Dalsan village with a project whose objective was improving food security by providing a hybrid solar water pumping system that would increase water for livestock use as well as diversification into vegetable production through kitchen gardening.

Now this solar has closed that gap and made access to water easier with fewer worries about fuel costs, and whether or not the generator will break down. The solar pumps the water, and we fill the elevated tank, and it’s sufficient”, Reports Abdi Hassan Ali.


The solar-powered water pumping system has increased the output of water from the borehole by 50%. With this increase, NAPAD conducted a 3-day training for 50 women-headed households on kitchen gardening. The project then provided farm inputs in the form of various vegetable seeds and farming equipment to support them start their Kitchen-gardens.

NAPAD agronomist monitor kitchen gardens

“We are grateful for the kitchen garden, with no shortage of water I can engage in other productive activities for the betterment of family and give time to my kitchen garden”, says Zainab, a resident of Dalsan Village and a mother of 5 where she now grows Kale, spinach, capsicum, hot pepper and watermelon, and she plans to expand the garden to cater for local market demand

BRINGING HOPE IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC

Since March 2020, when Somalia recorded its first COVID-19 case, NAPAD has supported the COVID-19 response in its areas of operation through awareness creation and provision of hygiene kits. Our staff are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, staying optimistic, and confident in the face of uncertainty. For the field staff, working from home is a privilege they could not undertake as the communities they serve still need immediate humanitarian interventions.

Abdiweli Hassan, one of NAPAD’s project managers’, shares his experience working in the field amid a pandemic.

Abdiweli Hassan, NAPAD’s Women Economic Empowerment Project Manager, demonstrating proper handwashing techniques.

I am Abdiweli Hassan, Women Economic Empowerment Project Manager in Kismayo, Somalia. I describe myself as a change agent dedicated to helping the less fortunate develop the capacity to transform their lives and their communities.

My work is driven by the fact that I can protect human dignity by providing basic needs to the most vulnerable people. I get a lot of satisfaction when I see people smile as they receive the basic things they used to have in their homes, but are deprived of in their current situation.

News of the COVID19 pandemic in Kismayu came as a big shock with a blend of emotions of mostly anxiety, confusion, and panic. I was mainly scared for the community I was working with as this was a foreign concept, and we were ill-prepared. For many of us, a pandemic was something we had never experienced in all our lives. There was barely any knowledge about the virus in the area. News of the disease immediately affected every sector of the community, from public movement, gatherings, travel, occupations, and even trust between people.

As a project, we immediately halted all types of engagements for the first week after the pandemic announcement in Kismayo. It was even a challenge to access any personal protective equipment (PPE). We then gradually planned how we would conduct our operations within the pandemic, ensuring we protect ourselves and our beneficiaries. We procured facemasks, sanitizers, soaps, and developed social distancing mechanisms for our training and offices. We then conducted several community awareness campaigns through local languages and sensitized the community on prevention measures. We also procured handwashing stations that would be used for our trainings and community engagements.

Once we felt confident that we had put up the required safety measures, we resumed our trainings (though now mini style meetings of 15 participants) while maintaining the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID 19 guidelines. The community received all the changes positively and willingly adopted the regular hand washing and wearing of facemasks as a new culture. This willingness to adapt motivates me to do more for the community.

One of the most inspiring moments during this pandemic was when one of the groups we had trained on shampoo and soap, making donated liquid handwashing soap to our beneficiaries during our training. It was a very motivating day for me that verified the resilience of these communities that despite the innumerable challenges they face, they still had a sense of togetherness.

By protecting ourselves, we are being our brothers’ keepers and protecting them, too; and this is the only way we will fight this disease.

Abdiweli Hassan

My advice to the community and other frontline workers is that we should first protect ourselves, ensuring we wash our hands regularly, wear facemasks, and maintain social distancing. By protecting ourselves, we are being our brothers’ keepers and protecting them, too; and this is the only way we will fight this disease.

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”.

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

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.

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