Environmental Conservation-Together for Change

Published September 8, 2015 by Deqa Saleh

Yassin standing next to a rock dam communally constructed through cash for work activitiesYassin standing next to a rock dam communally constructed through cash for work activities

YAASIIN SALAAD JAMA SURVEYS THE ARID LANDSCAPE OF ELBUH SETTLEMENT IN SANAAG REGION.

“It is safer now that it is dry. But this area becomes flooded by runoff water during the rainy seasons and is starting to form a gulley,” he says. With no vegetation cover, it is hard to hear him over the strong gusts of wind typical of the Hagaa season in Somalia.

The 50 year old Elbuh local supports a household of 12 people, nine of whom are his children. He is a pastoralist and has around 60 sheep and goats. However, Yaasiin does not have much in the way of assets or income.
Over the years, Yassin has borne witness to many changes in the country. The scars of conflict are manifested not only in the people but also in the environment.

A beneficiary of the Cash for Work (CfW) intervention under the Social Safety Nets project Phase II (SSNII), Yaasin worked on a rock dam for two months and received USD $110 per month. The rock dam was constructed in order to prevent further gulley erosion.

“I’m glad I was able to take part in the CfW intervention as I was able to get some income in order to make some savings during the lean season. But it has also helped me appreciate the environment more, and given me some skills in order to protect the environment and prevent further environmental degradation.”

From the savings he has made, Yaasiin was able to pay the school fees for three of his children. He was also able to pay off some of his debts.

The CfW intervention forms part of the over-arching Disaster Risk Reduction approach of the SSNII project, by implementing activities that are appropriate seasonally and preventing risks turning into potential disasters. Communities are able to use their resources and material already available to them in conjunction with support received through the intervention.

“I’ve gotten to know some of my community members better and we’ve found that we have a common interest in taking care of our community and our environment. We hope to continue these activities even after the intervention.”

The Social Safety Nets project Phase II is a 27 month project funded by the EU and is implemented by Adeso in Sanaag region of Somaliland/Somalia. Its main goal is to reduce the vulnerability of targeted households to chronic food insecurity through a Disaster Risk Reduction approach.