Cash Assistance: A New Lease on Life
Published February 9, 2017 by Farhiyo Abdikadir
As a pastoral drop-out who had lost everything due to conflict and drought, the future looked uncertain for Abdirahman Abdi Issak and his family. Abdirahman is responsible for his wife, 5 children and his elderly mother, who recently turned 90, in Hagardawatag village in Dhobley district. But it was almost impossible for him to do so after he had lost all of his livestock to the drought, and moved to Dhobley district to seek an alternative livelihood, with no skills or asset to work with.
Then a turning point. Abdirahman was chosen by his community as a beneficiary under the Cash Assistance and Recovery Support Phase II Project (CARSPII) USAID/FFP funded initiative in October 2015. He received four cycles of a monthly cash payment of USD 50. With that cash and a little help from his relatives Abdirahman started a small business. He opened a small kiosk where he sells different food and non-food items such as sugar, soup, tea, oil, batteries, milk, and also offers mobile charging services as he has one of the few electricity sources in the village.
“After we lost everything, the help we got from the project was another chance at life for me and my family. But I also knew that this was a way to jumpstart my livelihood rather than rely on a regular handout. That’s why in the last 3 months of the cash payments I was getting, I decided to start the business to support my family and make sure we didn’t go back to the way we used to live,” says Abdirahman.
Abdirahman started small. “The money was not enough for me to start a bigger business than a kiosk. So I had to look into something that I could afford and sustain. In the kiosk, I sell items that are in demand and would move quickly.” He explains.
Abdirahman dreams of one day expanding his business and is looking forward to introducing new items that will respond to wider community demands. But for now, he is putting all his effort in sustaining this kiosk and to begin saving for bigger opportunities.
Abdirahman is now able to make an average monthly profit of about USD 120. This means being able to provide food and basic needs for his family. “Initiatives like this one show you that there are other options in life and you are able to live a life with dignity. Now, I am able to feed my children and plan for their future. We are able to begin relying on ourselves” says Abdirahman.
Today, in the current drought which caused mass death of livestock and impoverished many pastoralists across the country. Abdirahman is one of the lucky ones who with his small venture thanks to the project has survived the drought and recovered from destitution and food insecurity.