Situation Report
Halima is receiving the food assistance. Photo: RAHO NGO
Halima is receiving the food assistance. Photo: RAHO NGO

Investing in resilience for drought-prone communities

A Swiss Development Cooperation-funded resilience programme targeting nearly 22,000 people intended to enhance community’s resistance to shocks was launched in Baidoa by South West State authorities and partners. The basic objective of the programme is to minimize the adverse effects of drought on the production of crops and livestock and productivity of land, water and human resources thereby ultimately leading to the drought proofing of the affected areas. The program aims at improving the overall capacity of households to implement effective disaster risk management and positive coping strategies to mitigate the immediate effect of exposure to shock by improving the socio-economic condition of the resource poor and disadvantaged sections of the communities. The programme is implemented by Somali Resilience programme (SomRep) Consortium. Members of SomReP include Action Against Hunger (AAH), Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), CARE Somalia, Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI), Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Oxfam Somalia and World Vision Somalia.

South West State Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Honorable Abdinaser Abdi Arush, who spoke at the launch of the event in Baidoa stated the need to build community resilience to withstand climatic shocks by fighting poverty which remains to be a key barrier to people’s recovery.

Agencies implementing this programme will empower producers to overcome existing constraints of limited skills and agricultural inputs, unfair trading practices, limited agronomic capacity, transaction cost, and infrastructure barriers such as limited irrigation and water. To boost productivity of existing livelihoods, the programme will increase access to drought-tolerant inputs, veterinary services and improved animal feed. Improved productivity will create new opportunities with enterprises which spring up as a result of valued added to an agricultural product. The programme is expected to generate income from agricultural value chains beyond production, and prepare women and youth with capacities to take up new strategies by equipping them with skills, networks and strategies through savings groups, vocational training, business and life skills training.

Somalia is one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world. The long-standing insecurity and protracted humanitarian crises have hindered resilience-building efforts, leaving the population highly vulnerable to shocks, particularly women and girls, older people, people with different types of disabilities and single-headed households. The overlap of conflict and climatic disasters has repeatedly displaced hundreds of thousands of people in recent years, with vulnerable groups disproportionately affected.

Loss of employment and the struggle to meet needs during the COVID-19 pandemic - the story of Halima

Halima Hassan Ahmed 43, is a head of household of her family of eight children in Mogadishu. Farming was her only source of income for the past 30 years before she fled Lower Shabelle in 2018 due to recurrent droughts displacing thousands of families. Together with her eight children she lives in Elberde IDP settlement in Mogadishu’s Kahda district in Banadir region. For the past three years, Halima has worked as a casual laborer earning US$3 a day to support her family’s daily basic needs. This stopped in March when the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Mogadishu. Nowhere to go, she resorted to send her children to beg. Movement restrictions imposed by authorities made their situation worse. “I had to remain in the IDP site in the first few months of the pandemic because I could not go to the city to wash clothes for the families living in the town. They feared contracting the virus. This is because IDP settlements are seen COVID-19 hotspots.” She added.

The plight of families, including Halima’s family, was reported to a RAHO NGO and Halima was among 60 selected beneficiaries for food distribution. Her family received a complete food package composed of 25 kg of rice, 25 kg of wheat flour, 10 kg of pasta, 3 liters of vegetable oil and 2.5kg of powder milk.