A little hard work goes a long way

Published December 28, 2015 by Abdirizak Hidig

dhSilt covered Dhilaalo dam before rehabilitation by community members.©Adeso/Abdirizak Hidig

56-year old Hussein Mohamed, nicknamed Toox Yare, who lives in Dhilaalo Village, was among residents that recently took part in the rehabilitation of the nearby water canal. 

Dhilaalo village, which is located in a primary browsing and grazing zone in Puntland, Somalia, has been the mainstay for pastoralists and nomads for many years, supporting a variety of livestock. Despite being very productive, this pastoral zone has been experiencing severe water shortages during dry periods as the area mainly relies on surface water dams and natural ponds.

Existing water dams and ponds are either too small to provide the needed water supply or are in desperate need of rehabilitation. The water table is very low, sometimes as deep as 350m, making water extraction very difficult. 

Recently, though, residents of the village became involved in Cash for Work activities (CfW) that led to the rehabilitation of the Dhilaalo canal’s main pond. The canal, which was covered by a thick layer of silt, was partly destroyed. With Adeso's support, community members de-silted and cleared off the canal, and rehabilitated its damaged sites.

Prior to the rehabilitation efforts, rain water failed to reach the pond and water flowed out to the adjacent dry rivers, preventing the pond from harvesting much of the flood water.

According to Toox Yare, communities have benefited from the pond a great deal. Enough rainwater was harvested during the last in preceding rainy season (Gu’) and the pond was full to its capacity. That meant that residents had enough water for their livestock throughout the last dry season, whereas before it used to dry up by the middle of the dry season. 

"Every day more than 500 camels, 500 sheep, 1000 goats and more than 200 households use the pond to quench their thirst," explains Toox Yare.

tooxMr. Toox Yare standing in front of the rehabilitated dam. ©Adeso/Abdirizak Hidig

“Life has changed since Adeso started the rehabilitation of Dhilaalo water canal, diverting flood water to the main community pond. Before the rehabilitation, the pond wasn’t getting sufficient water – as the unmanaged rain water diverted from the canal, and always ended up in the dry rivers nearby. The pastoralist communities are very pleased to see the positive transformation which would have been unthinkable before this project,” says Toox yare gladly.  “Dhilaalo pastoralists and villagers are ready to work with Adeso to turn around degraded rangeland resources in the area,” he Toox Yare.

The rehabilitation of the Dhilaalo water pond is an example of how simple CfW activities can change livelihoods and improve food security. This testifies to the strides that the `Your Environment is Your Life` project has been making in bringing back hope to pastoralist communities. The CfW activities have also brought positive socio-economic benefits through the salaries given to community members participating in the CfW activities.