Saving to be more Resilient

Published June 19, 2018 by Muna Ali

Farhiya checking her stock at the shop, with her son standing next to her


The smell of dust and fresh produce hit you as you enter Farhiya Abdi’s small shop. Her youngest plays next to her as she inspects her stock. After her husband’s death, suddenly being a single parent and managing a business was difficult. With hard work, determination, and a well-managed modest financial assistance she worked her way to self-reliance.

Farhiya’s journey to self-reliance started with next to nothing. Selling vegetables from a small table at the roadside in Dhobley meant she could provide some food for her children, however small. With the small income she made, she had to choose between schooling and food for her kids. Her children’s survival was more important and she pulled them out of school.

In September 2016, Farhiya and her family’s situation improved as she became a beneficiary of a Social Safety Nets Program (SSNP), a resilience project that Adeso is implementing in the Lower Juba region of Somalia, including Dhobley. Farhiya has been receiving a predictable payment of USD 40 to cover her family’s basic needs over a month at a time. So far, she has received 10 payments. The predictability of the transfers has also helped Farhiya better plan for and invest in longer-term goals. As soon as she received her first payment, Farhiya joined a local savings group. After a few months, she started buying the assets she needed to start her own shop, one item at a time.

“I saved part of the cash I received with a local savings and loan group. After a few months I bought a refrigerator to sell ice and locally-made Ice-cream from my home to the families in my area,” says Farhiya proudly.

Next, she was able to rent a space to have her shop. She then stocked the shop with food and nonfood items including raw food, vegetable, and household utensils. “I am no longer selling small amounts, I import 10 bags of 25kg potatoes and tomatoes every month. In addition to other high demand goods,” says Farhiya

As her business is thriving, Farhiya was able to put her elder sons back in school. She also moved from the rental house they lived into a small one-room house that she built gradually with help from her relatives. “Moving out of the rental house helps me save some money. I am now planning to build two more bedrooms soon” Farhiya says.

SSNP is an EU funded project that is implemented by the STREAM Consortium (a partnership between Adeso, ACTED and SADO) in Lower Juba, South Central Somalia. The project is helping provide a sustainable opportunity for resilience building for communities chronically affected by food insecurity and humanitarian crises in Lower Juba. Targeted communities have been benefiting through the delivery of predictable and regular cash transfers to vulnerable households, alongside investment in diverse livelihood bases and the provision of support and community-led preparedness, early warning and timely response systems.