Fadumo Awii Salah lives in the village of Fadhigab in Somaliland with her ten children. Somaliland is an independent state in the “Horn of Africa” near Ethiopia and Somalia. Fadumo’s village is in a very dry area of the country that is currently experiencing drought.
In fact, the region has had six consecutive seasons of drought which has led to a scarcity of water, depleted grazing land for animals, the death of livestock, and widespread hunger.
Like most of her neighbours, Fadumo’s family’s main source of income is from the herd of goats and sheep that she owns. The drought has been devastating to them. The lack of water and grazing land has caused animals to die. Those that survived are sickly and sell for a low-price in the markets. This results in lower income for families like Fadumo’s and makes it harder for them to purchase food.
This past dry season, Fadumo participated in a cash-for-work program. She and her neighbors worked for 6 months to build a small dam that stores water when it rains. The villagers will be able to benefit from this dam in the future by using the stored water for their families and livestock during future dry seasons.
In exchange for their work on this community project, Fadumo and her neighbors received payment via a fund transfer to their mobile phones. The families could use the cash on their phones to pay the village merchants directly (also via their phones) or get some of the money in cash from them. Fadumo is using her payment to buy food for her family and to pay for school fees for her children.
She said that she was very happy to do this work. It came at a time of year when she normally doesn’t have much income. If she hadn’t received the cash transfer, she would have been forced to sell some of her goats in order to provide food for her family.
In addition to cash-for-work, World Renew and World Concern are also training and providing start up kits to 32 Community-Based Animal Health Volunteers.
These men and women are trained to recognize, treat, and prevent some common diseases that the community’s goats and sheep contract. This will help maintain the health of people’s herds well into the future.
The third component of the project is to train eight village committees on Natural Resource Management. These men and women are working together to improve the production of fodder (or pasture) for their animals, and manage water sources.
In total, the project is assisting 750 families in eight villages.