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news | May 13, 2016 | Kenya | Emergency

Restoration of hope to female-headed IDP households in Kenya

ACTED Kenya: Amina selling food stuff at her kiosk in the IDP camp in March 2016 in El wak, Mandera County

Inter-communal conflicts in Northern Kenya have plagued the arid and semi-arid lands for decades. Consequently, these areas have seen frequent movement of IDPs from their villages to neighboring counties in search of livelihoods and peace.

Mandera is a county that has experienced inter-communal conflicts with the most notable incident being the conflict experienced in early March 2013. Mandera hosts IDPs from neighbouring counties such as Wajir. Mandera South has therefore become a hub for IDPs, who have no stable source of income and depend largely on the assistance provided by the county government of Mandera as well as NGOs. ACTED identified this group as the most vulnerable in Mandera, which is one of ACTED intervention counties in Kenya. With French Embassy funding, ACTED intervened to improve food access to 500 IDP HH through conditional and unconditional cash transfers; a project implemented from July 2015 to April 2016.

A new start for Habiba and Amina

Habiba and Amina were some of the beneficiaries of the recently concluded project. Habiba is a fifty-year old mother of 9 with a terminally ill husband. She lives with her family in an IDP camp in Elwak town. Habiba’s family was displaced from Wajir County in October 2012 following tribal clashes that left her with no source of livelihood or livelihood assets. On the other hand, Amina is also in her fifties, a mother of 10 children and hosts an elderly relative as well. Habiba benefited from ACTED unconditional cash transfer program, while Amina benefited from the conditional cash transfers.

With the money she received, Habiba and Amina boosted their monthly contribution to the Women Merry-go-round group (popularly known as “Ayuuta”) which they had joined previously to help them save for their children’s school fees and food. Previously, they struggled to make a monthly contribution of 200 Kenyan shilling (KSh) (USD 2) to the group. Following ACTED’s project, Habiba and Amina boosted their savings to KSh 500 (USD 5) per month each. Habiba has since started another small business in the IDP camp, selling food stuff such as oil, flour, spaghetti, rice, and beans. Through this ACTED project, Habiba confesses to being able to save more, afford to feed her children at least twice in day, and take care of her ailing husband. She looks forward to saving enough money to open her kiosk in the IDP camp as she sells from her house. Amina on the other hand, has increased the stock in her kiosk and now sells tea, pasta, rice, tea leaves, sugar, salt, beans. Amina can now afford to pay school fees for her three children who are in secondary school. Amina also highlights that she can now pay her debts in good time and is able to compete with other traders in the IDP camp.

Habiba says, “I will remain grateful to ACTED for the assistance accorded to me during my time of need. I appreciate that ACTED took time to understand my needs and help me set realistic goals in achieving my dream; to feed and clothe my family. Now I have hope that the future can only be bright with hard work and focus.”

ACTED Kenya: Habiba in her house with some of the members of her group displaying their stock for sale, in March 2016

As an exit strategy, ACTED will donate a donkey cart to Habiba and Amina’s women group. The donkey cart will help ferry goods for sale to and fro in the IDP camp, saving time and ensuring efficiency in business. One of the activities that this women group plans to engage in is transportation and sale of water within the IDP camp. This will further boost their savings, encourage peaceful co-existence, and provide an alternative source of livelihood to women living in the IDP camp, as well as increase access to water, which remains a scarce and equally dire commodity in IDP camps.

“Thanks to ACTED team, I have a plan to save more and expanding my food stock further. I hope to see my children progress well in school and graduate so that they can fend for themselves. Education is power and I am grateful to ACTED for helping me invest in the education of my children.” explained Amina.