Unconditional Cash Saves Mohamoudís Life
Published October 1, 2018 by Muna Ali
It was early 2017, and the failure of six consecutive rainy seasons had cost Mohamoud Qare his livelihood as a livestock herder and left him sick and malnourished. Mohamoud lives alone in a one room shelter made of tree branches and covered with old cloths in the coastal town of Elayo. His five adult children are scattered across Somalia, each fending for themselves. Mohamoud having to take care of himself depended on his livestock and fishing for a living, which provided just enough to get by when the fish catch is good.
Before the drought, Mohamoud had 80 goats and sheep. None of his animals survived beyond the second year of the drought, leaving him with nothing to support him. As the drought conditions worsened and without enough food to sustain him, Mohamoud fell ill in early 2017. His body was getting weaker, and his eye eyesight poorer. He was no longer able to go to the sea to fish, which was the only income source he had at this point.
“I couldn’t work to feed myself. Others who helped me for a while were also getting affected by the drought too. This meant that there was a little for families to survive on and much less to go around,” explained Mohamoud.
Sick and weak from malnutrition, Mohamoud’s life was hanging in the balance. Until he became an Adeso beneficiary under the Cash Assistance Project for Somalia/Somaliland coastal communities Project (CAPS). The project supported the drought affected communities in Sanaag and Mudug regions. The project reached 7,410 households (51,870 people) through unconditional cash transfers to help the drought affected families meet their basic food and non-food needs. Mohamoud received an amount of $80 a month and in total received 9 payments. When he received his first payment, he was in a very critical situation.
“I got the money when I needed it most. I was very sick and I didn’t have anything to buy food with, let alone to go see a doctor,” recalls Mohamoud. “The money helped me buy food and also travel to Bosaso* to see a doctor. Thankfully, I was able to pay the doctor and buy my medication with the money I received. This money saved my life,” he continues with a smile.
Thanks to the cash transfers, Mohamoud survived both the drought and illness. Today, he is back on his feet and he started fishing again. As the drought subsides gradually in some parts of the country and people get a bit of a relief, Mohamoud hopes to be able to save enough money or get a loan to buy a goat to resume his livestock herding and take care of himself again.
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*Bosaso: is a coastal city in the northeastern Bari region of Somalia