Farming- a better livelihood option for me, the story of Zahra Adan

Monday 10 June 2019



Farming- a better livelihood option for me

Zahra Adan Abdulle was a business woman. Her tea stall in Mindigalle village was doing well but was not giving her sufficient income to meet the needs of her family. She decided to close the tea shop and look for alternative source of income. Zahra decided to farm a plot of land on the banks of a seasonal river at the outskirts of her village. For a while the income  from her farm was more than enough to provide for her family, at least until 2017 when drought hit most parts of Somalia. The drought destroyed her crops causing a huge decrease in her yields and ultimately her income. It was difficult for her to continue without any support.

“Water is our biggest challenge,” says Zahra, sitting under the shade of a lemon tree in her farm. “ Now the water is too shallow. We need water pumps to pump the water to our farms, otherwise we don’t get water,” she adds.  

Zahra, who has been farming for over 10 years now, says she decided to try her hand in farming after she was convinced that could provide security to their livelihood. She says, “In a good rainy season, we cultivate all types of crops.  As they say, everything you put efforts into the result will be satisfying. I tried to put all my efforts into this land.’’

Zahra was is one of the beneficiaries of the European Union (EU) Restore project where Save the Children is supporting 120 families affected by the recurring droughts in Somalia. The project provides agricultural tools and seeds and other inputs.  

The aim of the project is to contribute to the sustainability and improvement of food security and livelihoods whilst building resilience among vulnerable households and their communities in Somaliland and Puntland. The project is aimed at Strengthening community-based drought mitigation and preparedness measures, improve natural resource management and encourage diversification of livelihoods and assets. The project also has child grants which targets 200 households in Sanaag, Nugal, and Bari regions of Puntland.  

“The reason we were selected for this programme is because  we were really affected by the drought.  We needed extra support to help us get farming tools and seeds so as to improve our productivity,” says Zahra.

“The money I received from Save the Children, I used for the basic necessities of the family as well as repairing the water pumps, hire casual labors for preparing the land for farming and pay school fees.”

Save the Children Food Security and Livelihoods Programme Manager in Puntland, Sulieman Abdi explained that many farmers, like Zahra, are at risk of losing their source of income due to crop failure caused by droughts and water shortage. “This support will help farmers get irrigation tools, like water pumps and seeds,’’ Suleiman said.


Like Zahra, Fatima Ahmed, a mother of six children, also started farming after she lost all her  livestock to drought . She moved and settled in Mindigale village and started a small farm at the banks of the seasonal river.

 “I decided to engage in farming because I want to have a stable source of income after I lost all my livestock due to droughts. I could not go back to that lifestyle again,” she says.

“I used to have 200 goats in the village before I become a farmer. I believe farming is better and will improve my livelihoods.

There are over 30 other farmers who live near the village, and many of these families face similar challenges, but Fatima Ahmed believe the support of Save the Children will help many of these farmers sustain their  farms and  invest more.

“Hopefully, we will send lemons, peppers, tomatoes and many other crops to the  nearby markets when we receive better tools and farming inputs.  We hope our yields will increase,” she concludes.