Cash Transfers: Surviving to Thriving

Published January 31, 2018 by CAPS project team

Hawo Mohamed, Dan village, Sool region-Photo October 2018


Hawo Mohamed Abdi remembers happy days before the drought. “We didn’t have cash but we had our livestock which was our money. We were able to use this for anything our family needed. We didn’t worry about where our next meal was coming from or who to ask help from,” she reminisces.

When the drought hit in Sool region, the family slowly but gradually became poor. The drought claimed almost all their animals; 85 goats, 25 sheep, and their two pack camels- the latter being a crucial loss as it was their means of transportation and fetching water and meant that they didn’t need to spend  additional money on this. With the loss of their livestock, the family lost its ability to make a living and being self-sufficient became difficult. Left with only 12 goats, they went to the nearest village, named Dan in Bocame district, to look for help and hopefully job opportunities.

Even though the rural community of Dan village welcomed those who arrived due to drought, they were not prepared for the number of families that arrived. So far almost 500 pastoral families have arrived in the village because of the drought hoping for humanitarian assistance, and to rely on the generosity of the community or find a job to get out of a dire situation. However, that was hardly the case. Hawa’s family, and those who shared their plight, found themselves in yet another desperate and life-threatening condition, in a daily fight for their survival.


Hawa started taking on a lot of debt which she could not afford to repay in order to buy clean water and food for her family. By the time she became a beneficiary for Adeso’s Cash Assistance Program for Somalia (CAPS), she was knee-deep in debt, and had little to survive on.

Hawa’s will to see her family survive the drought, was only exceeded by her determination to get them back on their feet again. Never forgetting their self-reliance before the drought, the cash transfer from Adeso was more than a relief to the family. Besides helping them access their essential needs such as food and water, the cash transfer presented a chance out of debt and poverty.

Since their previous pastoral way of life could no longer sustain her family, starting a small business no matter how small, sounded only right to Hawa thanks to the cash transfer. “I was able to clear my debt to the local shops who now allow me to buy on credit. I want to have a long term plan out of poverty,” said Hawa.

After saving for a few months, the mother of four opened a small teashop. Hawa’s relatives, who couldn’t contribute financially, were generous enough to give away chairs, small tables, and kitchen utensils to help her set up her teashop. She then stocked up on food items such as sugar, pasta, flour, rice, and tea leaves. Hawa’s tea shop, serves food and tea to both the residents and pastoralists who stop by to eat.

Hawa’s small venture now covers her family’s needs as well as pays for her children’s school fees. Thanks to Cash Assistance Project (CAPS) funded by USAID/OFDA the family is well on its way from surviving to thriving.