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Somalia: Cash for work revives food security

14 Sep 2022

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Several pastoralists have lost their livestock. Credit: OCHA/Mursal Ali

Sahra Jamac is a mother of four girls and four boys. She lives with her husband in Biyo-Cade – a remote desert settlement in Eyl district, in Somalia’s Nugaal region.

Some 180 families – nearly 1,000 people – live in Biyo-Cade, most of whom are pastoralists who lost their livestock to the current drought. But many were in need long before this drought began; they were severely affected during the 2017 drought and never fully recovered.

Many people in Biyo-Cade have come from other areas in search of water and food, just like Sahra and her family.

She said: “This drought is devastating and shocking compared to the previous droughts that we have lived through. This is the first time I have lost all my livestock.”

Across Nugaal, many pastoral communities have lost their livelihood and access to sufficient food and water. Local authorities and humanitarians have been at the forefront in responding to the crisis with the few available resources.

Humanitarian organizations such as Himilo Organization for Development (HOD) are implementing life-sustaining projects in Biyo-Cade to help reduce the drought’s impact on the communities. HOD’s activities are funded through the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF).

Sahra and her family are among 130 families who were assessed as vulnerable and have received a three-month cash transfer of US$80 from HOD.

According to partners in the area, more still needs to be done to avert the drought’s impact, but the cash transfers continue to play a critical role in reducing vulnerability, offering crisis-affected people a maximum degree of flexibility, dignity and efficiency commensurate with their diverse needs.

Sahra said: ‘’I was struggling to feed my children, but now with a monthly stipend I can afford to buy food for them and help them to go to school. It is not a lot, but we are able to access what we need at the time.”

In addition to the cash assistance, HOD has provided the community with water-trucking support since February, with each family receiving about 45 litres of water per week. As there is a critical water shortage across Somalia, including the Nugaal region, this support has been a lifeline for many families in the area.