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”.

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

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.