Helping Salad get Back on His Feet Again
Published November 8, 2017 by Abdikarim Ali
For pastoralists, camels sheep and goats are assets and an important source of income. They translate to food, water, access to medicine and provide a financial buffer in hard times. Ahmed Salad owned more than 400 animals consisting of camels, goats, and sheep. That made him a well to do man who was not only able to provide for his family but also help and contribute to assisting the needy members of the community.
The depleting drought reduced the number of his livestock to 60 most of which are in bad bodily conditions which mean they can’t be sold and they are very expensive to maintain as fodder and water price have spiked as the drought was worsening.
“It came to choosing between sustaining my family and saving their lives or keeping the animals alive. Of course, human life is the priority. But still, it was very difficult to find food or water for my family. That’s why we came to Seemade where a number of my relatives live.” Says Ahmed.
“I never imagined that I would see a day when we would ask for food. There were times when whether we ate or not depended on if we received help from humanitarian agencies or distant relatives from aboard” Ahmed, he continued
In Seemade a village in Jariiban district of Mudug region, the 62 years old and his large family of 10 a lived a hard life in poverty. When they didn’t have any food Ahmed’s wife would mix water and sugar and give it to the children to at least give them energy. In addition to the lack of nutrition, the family didn’t have access to clean water as their price was beyond what they could afford.
“We used to walk 65km from here to get at least a Jerry can of water. Cholera broke out which eventually killed one of my grandsons. Life was full of despair and hopelessness” Says Salad looking down and recalling how hard was the drought over the past months.
In January 2017 Adeso started reaching the worst affected and those who lost their livelihoods in the drought in Sanaag and Mudug regions through the USAID/OFDA funded Cash Assistance Project in Somalia. Ahmed’s family was one of the selected households in Mudug to receive some relief that would hopefully loosen the grip of the biting drought. Ahmed started receiving an unconditional cash transfer of $50 at first and $87 after a few months. “I was very happy and could not believe that I would be receiving the payments,” He said recalling how important and lifesaving the cash was for him and his family.
Ahmed was able to use the cash assistance to meet his family’s basic food needs. He also set aside $25 a month for three months to clear the debts he had incurred and send back two of his kids to school. With the help he is receiving, Salad hopes that with the little livestock he has left he might be able to resume his traditional way of life in pastoralism by investing in his livestock again as the raining season is approaching.
Read more about how CAPS is helping the drought affected people in Sanaag region.