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

IMPROVED NUTRITION FOR CHILDREN OF IDPS IN SOUTH CENTRAL SOMALIA

The humanitarian situation in Somalia continues to be characterized by high levels of food insecurity, malnutrition, especially among women, children, persons living with disabilities, and the elderly. More so among 2.6 internally displaced persons and their vulnerable host communities in peri-urban and urban areas of the country. NAPAD humanitarian organization in partnership with Medico international(MI) through the funding of Germany Federal Foreign office (GFFO) is implementing a project that protects the livelihoods of vulnerable communities and promotes diversification to poultry rearing for improved nutrition of women of childbearing age and their children in South Central Somalia. This is with the aim of fulfilling Zero Hunger Global Commitment

Masbal Mohamed Cigal aged 30 years is a single mother with 6 children living in Baligesh IDP camp in Abudwak district. She is among the people affected and displaced by the subsequent droughts and clan conflicts in the region and lost the little herd she had. Masbal normally earns a few coins daily by doing menial works such as cleaning clothes and cooking food in other people’s houses. Masbal is one of the 450 households in Abudwak and Dollow Districts who received four hens and a roster each to kickstart poultry rearing in their homesteads. The beneficiaries were also trained for 3 days on poultry rearing and treatment and nutritional benefits of consumption of poultry products for children, women, and other vulnerable members in their households.

“Before attending the poultry rearing training I knew nothing about chicken I used to think it just ordinary birds that don’t have any benefit to human beings. However, at the end of the training, I realized that poultry is very important in improving the nutrition status of malnourished children and pregnant women” said Masbal.

Masbal’s chicken brood has increased and she is now taking care of newly hatched chicks. Her chicken is also laying an average of 15 eggs per week. Some are prepared for household consumption through boiling, frying, or boiling of mixing with flour when preparing canjeera (a common Somali breakfast dish). The surplus earns her extra income.

“I normally sell the excess eggs to my neighbors and sometimes at the market, selling at 0.25 dollar per egg, generating me come income to buy other food commodities for the family.”

masbal

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

NAPAD’S Poultry Program Sets Precedence For Improved Nutrition Among Vulnerable Communities

For the first time in their history, communities in Abudwak District received poultry in an effort to boost their nutrition and health. In a groundbreaking exercise, Nomadic Assistance for peace and Development (NAPAD) in partnership with Medico International (MI) and German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) conducted mass poultry distribution to over 400 vulnerable households in the Somalia’s Central, Galgadud and Gedo regions.

NAPAD staff distrubutes chickens to beneficiaries in Dolow District

NAPAD through its partners has been conducting initiatives in Abudwak and Dolow Districts to empower communities on improved nutrition against the backdrop of malnutrition. Drastic weather shifts have caused many vulnerable families to increasingly become food insecure, hence the program aims at improving food security and nutrition. In addition, the program encourages egg consumption at household level while demystifying the myths associated with poultry among the pastoralist.

Through the project, NAPAD and its partners identified 250 people in Abudwaq Districts and 200 beneficiaries in Dolow District from IDP and host communities for chicken rearing training. After the training, the beneficiaries were set to receive poultry for their own rearing.

“We have never reared chicks and this is the first organization that has offered us chicks. We shall take good care of the chicken until they give us eggs. We hope to be great poultry farmers in future”

A beneficiary of the poultry distribution in Abudwak District

“We are very grateful for the three-day poultry training on importance of rearing chicks and its product. We have never reared chicks and this is the first organization that has offered us chicks. We shall take good care of the chicken until they give us eggs. We hope to be great poultry farmers in future,” said one of the beneficiaries.

NAPAD staff during a poultry rearing training of 250 households in Abudwak District

The poultry distribution in Abudwak where each household received 4 chickens and 2 cocks was also replicated in Dolow. With the demand for egg consumption high and willingness of community members to part with 0.2$ per egg, the projects is an opportunity for the women to tap into selling eggs as a source of income.

Community members in Dolow take part in building a chicken coop

After distribution of the chickens, beneficiaries will receive extension services from the NAPAD livestock officer. This will enable NAPAD to learn how the chickens are adopting to the village life and whether they are any challenges they are encountering. Being the first humanitarian aid organization to distribute poultry in Abudwak District, NAPAD hopes to document and share best practices and lessons learnt on the  poultry program for food security and improved nutrition.