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news | June 30, 2014 | Somalia | Emergency

Cash transfers boost family livelihoods in Somalia

In the Bay region of South Central Somalia, ACTED teams have been working to support vulnerable households by improving their food security and livelihoods status. Through cash transfers and Cash for Work activities, 1,100 households have been able to meet their basic food needs. Cash was provided to 330 households and 770 cash for work beneficiaries, enabling them to recover debts, invest in education and in livelihood assets. With the support of UNICEF, an additional 600 households were supported with cash transfers.

It’s a warm Tuesday afternoon in Berdale village, Baidoa district in the Bay region of Somalia. Fatima Hussein gladly welcomes us into her newly constructed ‘Mundul’ – a dominant Somali traditional house made of sticks and grass. Fatima, a thirty-eight year old mother of five children, is married and her husband - the sole provider of the home - is a casual labourer who uses a handcart.

“Most of the time, my husband doesn’t earn enough money for the family because market is very competitive. Everyone is now doing casual labour as a porter and so it is difficult to find a proper transportation job. He sometimes comes home with nothing and we just have to cope with such circumstances”, says Fatima.

In June 2013, after ACTED conducted a needs assessment, Fatima was selected as one of the beneficiaries of a new project. As a result she received seven months of unconditional cash transfers between July and October 2013 which is the duration of the Hagai dry season in Somalia. The cash transfers which are currently seen an alternative to food aid prevented her household from falling back into food crisis. Hence, Fatima and her family were able to receive seven months of predictable unconditional cash transfers.

“Before my family was not able to eat three meals a day and I was not able to send my children to school, but now our financial conditions are better, I have even been able to build a new Mundul house”, Fatima says.

Fatima spent the cash grants she received during the seven months, on purchasing building materials for a new house for her family and spent the remaining cash on buying household assets like mattress, blankets, a bed and utensils.

Fatima is now optimistic about the future. Next, she plans to buy a donkey cart for her husband and also anticipates more predictable cash transfers which will improve her family income generating activities.