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

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

Farmers In Mandera Explore Agroforestry For Climate Change Adaptation

Aresa village is located in the arid northern region of Kenya’s Mandera County. According to the 2018 Taskforce Report on Forest Resources Management and Logging Activities in Kenya, Mandera County has a forest cover of 3.04% which is below Kenya’s estimated of 7.4%. It is also has less than the Kenya’s national constitutional requirement of a minimum forest cover of 10%.

Despite the droughty climate, a riverine community near River Dawa, the major water source in the County have taken up farming. Majority of the community are pastoralists but due to changes and unpredictable weather patterns, they have opted for farming as alternative source of livelihood.

As a means to help farmers adapt to the erratic nature of weather patterns and unfavourable farming conditions, NAPAD in partnership with terre des hommes (tdh) and BMZ is implementing a 2-year program aimed at building resilience at community level through strengthening livelihoods and promoting alternative income sources.

Through the project, 50 farmers have explored small-scale agroforestry as a means to adapt to climate change. By training and establishing of tree and fruit nurseries, the farmers have been offered an alternative livelihood source as well as promote tree forest cover.  

“Before the training, trees were trees for us regardless of their importance. Now that we are trained, we are able to differentiate the types of trees, their purposes and benefits”

Maalim Ibrahim Nageeye
Tree distribution to farmers in Aresa, Mandera. Planting trees with crops is an adaptation strategy to combat climate change

“Before the training, trees were trees for us regardless of their importance. Now that we are trained, we are able to differentiate the types of trees, their purposes and benefits. We were taught tree planting, how to handle the tree seedlings during early stages, how to water and when to water. Now we are able to identify, its purpose and usefulness,” says Maalim Ibrahim Nageeye, a resident of Aresa village and one of the beneficiaries trained on Tree Nursery Establishment, Management and Agroforestry.

The trees and fruits are planted along the river bank and within the demonstration farms have greatly minimized soil erosion. Currently, the Aresa tree nursery has a total of over 1,500 tree seedlings and is run by a nursery management committee comprising of 7 members elected by the beneficiaries themselves.