Shamso is Overcoming Barriers to Feed Her Children

Published June 6, 2017 by Noor Abdi Maalim

Shamso standing in her farm in Wamo village, Afmadow district, Lower Juba, Somalia 

 

Shamso Muktar Muhumed is a mother of five and since her husband passed away four years ago, the breadwinner of her family.  When Shamso lost her husband the responsibility of providing for their children and attending to their basic needs became solely hers. 

In the possession of a small plot of land and the need to feed her children, she was motivated to explore living off the land, making her one of the few female farmers in Wamo village, Afmadow.

“It only made sense to put that land to use and start planting our own food. I started planting maize and beans at first,” Shamso says reflecting on her early beginnings.

Shamso’s new venture was not one without challenges “It was hard getting good quality seeds and tools. I had to work long hours, getting up at dawn and working hard to plant, get rid of weeds and water the crops. Some people in the village thought I should focus on my children and housework instead of farming. I persisted because there was no one else to support us,” says Shamso.  

At first, the harvest was not good. The crop yield and quality of the harvest were low. “In those days, it was very difficult to make a living from the farm. I didn’t have enough resources to really invest in all the things I needed. We lived from hand to mouth and didn’t know where the next meal was coming from but I was determined to make it work” explains Shamso. 

Early 2016, Shamso became a beneficiary of the Cash Assistance and Recovery Support Phase II project (CARSPII), a USAID-FFP funded project that promoted food security and maintaining livelihoods of poor households through cash assistance and livelihood inputs. Under the project, she received unconditional cash transfers for a period of six months as well as agricultural training, good quality seeds, and farming tools. This has made a huge improvement in her farm yield. In August 2016 she harvested 14 sacks of maize and 5 sacks of beans (each sack containing 50kg). Shamso also saved some of the harvests for their household consumption.

As her harvest improved, Shamso started expanding her farming space and planting different crops. This meant more work and longer hours. Luckily, she could afford to hire casual laborers to help her with the workload. Today, Shamso has become a good example of a self-made farmer in her village and is often asked for farming advice. Many now dream of becoming a farmer like her.

“So much has changed with the support I received from Adeso. I’ve still had to work hard but with good seeds and appropriate tools I am able to spend more time with my children. I expect a good yield whe the harvesting time comes” she says with a smile.