Supporting Livestock in Somalia - Halimo Plays her Part

Published February 23, 2016 by Deqa Saleh

Halimo inspecting a herd of goats for diseasesHalimo inspecting a herd of goats for diseases

“Halimo, look at Ada-dhuuh,” says Hawa, one of the local herders.

Halimo takes one of the horns of Hawa's goat, Ada-dhuuh. She pulls him gently towards her by his left horn, away from the rest of the herd so she can take a closer look at him, running a hand over his coat.

“You see, he’s weak. He’s thinner than the rest and Hawa had been saying that he has had diarrhea. He probably has a case of worms.”

Halimo advises local pastoralists on livestock rearing and illness prevention. As there is a severe shortage in veterinary services for pastoralists in much of Somalia, Halimo is able to support some of her neighbors and community members. She is not a vet but is able to contribute in the form of preventative measures, where few vets exist.

Halimo participated in a four month Basic Animal Husbandry skills training under the Social Safety Nets project Phase II (SSNII). The curriculum included information on symptoms of common livestock illnesses, preventative measures, types of drugs, and administration of these drugs.

Halimo grew up in a pastoralist household so she has been around livestock all her life. Her family moved to Elbuh over 10 years ago as they lost some of their livestock in recurrent droughts.  “In Somalia, our people mostly get their income from livestock. The training I received under SSNII has made it possible for me to help my community and my family’s livestock, however meager.” Halimo lives with her widowed mother, five siblings and two other relatives. She usually looks after their 15 sheep and goats, while her mother runs a small teashop.

As part of their interventions, the SSNII project encourages livelihood restoration through provision of skills and livelihood cash grants. This double pronged approach increases the sources of income of beneficiaries by allowing them to strengthen their livelihoods and have alternative livelihood approaches.

“I am due to receive a livelihood cash grant of USD $650 from the project,” says the 21 year old. “I will be using this money to set up a small pharmacy with qualified partners to sell modern animal drugs. Often we see drugs that have expired in Somalia and the people who sell them have no idea of the symptoms or illnesses from which livestock suffer. I am hoping with these skills that I will be able to work with the Ministry of Livestock and graduate to be a Community Animal Health Worker.”

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.