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news | May 09, 2017 | Somalia | Emergency

Durable solutions for female-headed displaced households in camps

After the collapse of the Central Government of Somalia in 1991, the city of Kismayo became the centre of recurrent conflicts because of its territorial ownership and control over resources. High unemployment rates and the unpredictable climatic conditions have contributed to lack of livelihood sources, weakened resilience and coping mechanisms of internally displaced persons and host communities in Kismayo. ACTED, through the Social-life and Agricultural Development Organization (SADO), has been implementing cash transfer projects with support from the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) to help boost livelihoods of the most vulnerable communities in the camps hosting internally displaced persons. This has helped the communities to boost their livelihood activities and restore dignity among them.

Hani, a beneficiary of the project, is a 42-year old single mother living with her six children in Alleqabe camp, Kismayo. Before the project started, she had been living in utter poverty trying to bring up her children in the harsh environment of the camp. The responsibility of providing care for her family fell disproportionately on her, increasing her vulnerability. To earn a living, she started washing clothes for community members, a job that earned her 1.5 dollars in a day, too little to satisfy her growing family needs.

Hani’s first born son was very helpful around the home and supplemented his mother’s small earnings by taking care of the household basic needs. He took up a job as a charcoal burner to support his mother and siblings. His job was however cut short after a ban was imposed on the charcoal business. This increased the family’s vulnerability to shocks exposing them to greater risks of food insecurity which could lead to high levels of malnutrition.

Hani was among the 250 beneficiaries selected for the cash-for-work project that is providing lifesaving and life sustaining assistance to internally displaced people in Kismayo by improving their access to food, while restoring key communal assets like feeder roads, latrines and strategic water points. The rehabilitated communal assets provide better access to markets and water sources for the community. ACTED, through the cash based project gives the cash-for-work beneficiaries 120 dollars a month to help restore their livelihoods and dignity. The project came with opportunities that completely changed her life and other beneficiaries for the better.

Through money earned from her cash-for-work activities, she has been able to provide a better life for her big family. She joined a merry-go round and used the lump sum cash to open and restock her kiosk. She also used the cash earned to pay for her children’s school fees and provide medical support for the family. Her life has improved greatly; she now has the capacity to sustain her growing family.

“I want to thank the donor, Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) and ACTED for bringing this project to us. It has really saved us from hardships, ACTED should continue offering such kind of assistance to many vulnerable families and increase their efforts to create sustainability in the communities, “said Hani with a smile on her face.