Adeso’s approach to economic development and livelihoods diversification is rooted in a belief that market-based, grassroots, and community-owned programming is the most appropriate method to achieve sustainable and contextually relevant solutions to challenges of economic development, resilience, and disaster risk reduction.

We work to strengthen local economies, by helping communities diversify their livelihood options, improve natural resource management, and adapt to a changing climate.

Livestock for Life

Livestock – especially goats, cattle, and camels – can provide innumerable benefits to nutrition, food security, and livelihoods for vulnerable rural people. In addition to being a source of meat, livestock produce milk and manure, which can be used by the household or sold. Livestock also reproduce and their young can be sold, providing a source of emergency income.

In Somalia, where pastoralist communities lost their livestock during the 2011 drought, we distributed camels to families, to restore livelihoods and improve food security. The distribution also helped boost these households’ self-esteem and social status, as camels are highly valued in Somali culture.

Seeds of Progress

East African smallholder farmers often struggle to produce a good yield from their land, even when soils are healthy and water is plentiful. Often this is because they lack high-quality seeds, good tools, and training in agricultural practices. And when they do produce crops, often, they cannot sell them due to poor transport links and lack of storage.

We distribute tools and seeds to farmers in Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan, to help improve their food production. Results can be profound for the families that participate in these programs. It can mean the difference between life and death, or between self-efficiency and dependence on aid. Farmers are now achieving better harvests, and many of them are able to sell their surplus produce to generate income for their families.

Produce to Market

In Kenya, we help producers and traders diversify livelihoods and stimulate trade by helping producers conserve grasses and produce and store hay to sell later in the season, when demand and market prices can be higher. To foster trade, we arrange an exchange visit between producers and buyers. Our efforts succeed in diversifying the livelihood of vulnerable communities, who can now sell the hay made from grass that previously went to waste.

Supporting Local Value Chains

In collaboration with the Jubaland Ministry of Education and Higher Learning, Adeso’s Enhancing Youth Employment Project (EYE) facilitated enhanced economic opportunities and peacebuilding by reducing community vulnerability to conflict and climate-related instability. This included targeted investments in value chain additions and market linkages in productive sectors of both Bardhere and Afmadow, establishing a sesame processing plant, and providing 20 solar-powered deep freezers and fridges for milk cooling to women’s groups.

Economic development programming in Somalia is effective and sustainable when its interventions are designed around principles of market sensitivity and sustainability. Through facilitating market-linkages, value chain additions and market-relevant skills development, Adeso is leveraging local economic capacity to create a self-reinforcing process wherein Somali communities are equipped with the financial knowledge, productive tools, market demand, and technical skills to take ownership of development and livelihoods diversification for the short, medium and long term.