A Little Help Can Go a Long Way

Published May 8, 2017 by Noor Abdi Maalim

Hawo in her stall in Farjano village, Lower Juba March 2017

DROUGHT AND FAMINE DO NOT DISCRIMINATE. THEY ROB PASTORAL FAMILIES OF THEIR LIVELIHOOD, SECURITY, AND HOPE.  AND HAWO MOGE’S FAMILY IS NO DIFFERENT; THEY LOST ALL OF THEIR LIVESTOCK AND WERE LEFT WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER. ONLY A FEW MONTHS LATER HAWO WAS FACED WITH A HEARTBREAKING TRAGEDY, HER FIRST BORN BABY DIED OF STARVATION.

“I’d gone days without eating anything, therefore, I could not produce breast milk to feed him and one day he died on my lap.” She says as she recounts how she lost her baby to the 2011 famine in Somalia.

After the family exhausted all of their coping mechanisms, they thought their best chance of survival was to move and resettle in Farjano village in the Afmadow district of Lower Juba. When Hawo and her husband moved to Farjano they were determined not to lose another child because of hunger and they started fresh.

“My husband and I have struggled to make ends meet ever since” she explained.

Six years later, as a depleting drought and a looming famine threatens the lives of millions. Hawo recalls how difficult it was, losing everything. She holds back her tears, as she narrates the loss of her child, but Hawo’s story has a silver lining.  Thanks to the support she received from Adeso’s Social Safety Net’ project (SSNP), her family was prepared to withstand the next drought when it arrived. 

Hawo’s family is considered one of the most vulnerable in the village which qualified her to receive assistance from the project. Along with 3000 other vulnerable households, they get monthly unconditional cash transfer to allow them to address their basic needs. Today Hawo has five children and is the only breadwinner in the family, and she feels she can provide her children's needs.

When Hawo learned about the project she decided to make a lasting source of income for her family out of this temporary support.  With the first two payments she received, an amount of 80 USD and an additional 80 USD she borrowed from her mother, Hawo set up a small stall from which she sells fruit, vegetables and other non-food items. 

“If it wasn’t for the help of the project, I don’t think we would have survived this drought” she says, “from what I sell I can buy food, water and other essential needs. It’s even better when Adeso distributes the cash because people buy things, I can also collect the small retail debts from my customers” she explains.

Hawo hopes to expand her business and become a big retail grocery in one day to secure the future of her children and never be helpless again.

Adeso launched the EU funded ‘Social Safety Net’ project (SSNP) in December 2015 to address the escalating food security crisis that was encroaching upon communities. The aim of the project is to build household and community level resilience to drought and other hazards in Lower Juba Region. In addition to that the project seeks to improve household income, assets and community risk mitigation capacity, as well as improved capacity for local authorities and institutional bodies working to improve Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), resilience, and social protection policies. Farjano village is one of 9 target villages where the project operates now.

Hawo was able to survive the drought thanks to the early interventions put in place by Adeso.  To learn what you can do to help even more people like Hawo survive this devastating drought please join our campaign efforts.