WASH ambassadors contribute to reducing water, sanitation and hygiene challenges in IDP camps

During the 2018 Deyr rainy season, parts of northern Somalia received only 25-50% of average rainfall. Sanaag region has experienced drought for several seasons and is among the regions worst affected by poor rains, with water scarcity, depletion of pasture, widespread food insecurity and livestock mortality. The urban population grew significantly, partly due to the increased number of internally displaced people who lost their pastoral livelihoods during the drought.

Hindisar is a 36-year-old widowed mother of five living in Dayacan neighborhood of Erigavo town. She lost her husband one year ago to sudden onset hypertension. Hindisar lives in desperate circumstances, living in a one-bedroom home made of rough stacked blocks of stone covered by corroded iron sheet with all her five children. Hindisar is among thousands of displaced pastoral families whose only source of income, livestock, was decimated by the drought.

Prior to the drought, the main source of income for Hindisar was the sale of livestock and livestock produce, such as milk and meat. With her 160 sheep and goats, she was able to sustain her family’s basic food, water, shelter and medication needs.

As the drought continues to bite, Hindisar’s livestock died. Her family moved to the town of Erigavo hoping to find water for the remaining livestock, which unfortunately didn’t make it, so that she resorted to roadside trade in order to get daily bread.  The situation for Hindisar took a turn for the worse when her children started to suffer from acute malnutrition and diarrhea-related diseases, which led them to hospital.

We kept moving with our remaining livestock from one place to another searching pasture and water. As the few remaining animals got weaker, we decided to join Dayacan neighborhood in Erigavo town that is inhabited by pastoral drop outs surviving on aid donations

Hindisar, beneficiary of ACTED's hygiene promotion project in Sanaag

In December 2018, Hindisar received some reprieve by becoming a beneficiary in hygiene promotion and distribution of hygiene kits. Hindisar has since become a WASH ambassador for ACTED by sensitizing regularly community members on the importance of hygiene and sanitation and preventable diseases that are widespread in her neighborhood.

I’ll continue transferring the knowledge and experience to my community so that they can be safe from water-borne diseases caused by bad behaviors and practices

Hindisar, beneficiary of ACTED's hygiene promotion project in Sanaag

With funding from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), ACTED has recently concluded implementing in Sanaag region an Integrated WASH, Shelter, CCCM, Protection and information management support project aimed at improving living conditions of drought-affected rural and displaced populations. The project has significantly improved access to safe and affordable water, clean sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices for both displaced and host community households.