Restoring lives and livelihoods through EU Restore Project
In Somalia, persistent droughts are becoming a recurring phenomenon, and often lead to depleted income of the pastoralist households. Like many other families, Ahmed moved from his home in Sanaag to a remote village, Awsane, in search of food, water and relief assistance. We met Ahmed at a local school in the village talking to children from similar families who migrated because of the harsh drought conditions on the importance of hygiene and only drinking clean water. “It is important for us to educate our children and community on the importance of good hygiene and sanitation in the village.’’ He said.
Somalia’s Drought Crisis has put villagers in distress ascribing to water scarcity and reduction of rainfall which has resulted in crop failure and mass death in livestock. In smaller villages where 70% of the population survives off livestock and 15% farming, Ahmed says, the economy has been destroyed and getting enough meal has become tough. In some places, the price of water has increased by 300% leading many people to use contaminated water sources. The community is put at high risk of waterborne diarrheal diseases, and cholera and the lack of access to medical facilities has exposed many people to life-threatening conditions.
Save the Children, under the EU Restore project, is working towards strengthening the rehabilitation of drought mitigation to ensure a sustainable solution and trained Ahmed and 40 other members in his village to create Community Action Plan for their village. The villagers, through this plan, will able to identify basic needs and priorities for their villages.
“The effects of the drought are now reducing, but the need is still there. Through the support of Save the Children, we have identified the community’s needs and priorities which we hope will restore us back to where we were before the drought.’’ Save the Children, through the EU Restore project is providing USD 40 a month to households with children to ensure they get access to basic services including health and education.
Like Ahmed, Ifrax Abdi Mohammed, 27 years old, also came to Awsane village with her six children, aged between nine and 10 months old. She lost her husband in the civil war. Due to her situation, she occasionally receives money from her mother in-law to help buy food for her children. Explaining how she managed to provide for her children before this program, she explained “On a good month I would make USD 40 but still I could not afford to send all my children to school nor did we have enough to eat every day. After the drought things only got worse and with food prices on the rise I was forced to choose which one of my children could eat. You can only imagine how tough that was.”
Ifrax has been receiving assistance for the past few months and says she is now able to buy her children school books and pens and she can cover the school fees. The proud mother of six now feels more independent and is no longer relying on external sources of income to put her children through school. She thanks God that she is no longer faced with the dilemma of having to choose which one of her children will eat.
The EU Restore project aims at contributing 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 child grants component of the project will target over 200 households in Sanaag, Nugal, and Bari regions of Puntland.