Helping Families Survive the Drought, a Cash Transfer At a Time

Published June 28, 2017 by Suad Hassan

Deqa after she purchased food for her family June 2017


For pastoralists in Somalia losing their livestock, means losing their entire assets and livelihood income. Goats, sheep, and camels usually provide them with meat and milk.  And when they need to buy food, water, and other essentials, they sell them for cash.

Thirty-year-old Deqa Mohamed Eid says that the drought has robbed her family of everything. Two hundred sheep and goats, and 2 pack camels which comfortably supported their lives for years were ravaged by a biting drought.

The protracted drought have affected around 6.7 million people in Somalia who are in dire need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The majority of them women and children. People have been displaced from their homes after they have lost their assets, their access to credit and depleted their coping mechanisms. Most of the displaced sought refuge in IDP camps while others joined their extended families in other districts and villages.

When their livestock perished, Deqa and her family were forced to leave in search for assistance. Today, they live in Argeegta Valley, once a fertile grazing destination that sustained the livestock of approximately 500 families. The valley, 120 km from Durduri village in Sanaag region northern Somalia is currently bare and pastureless as a result of the drought. And it hosts Deqa, her 6 children, and husband alongside hundreds of pastoral families who share their predicament.

The Drought started in mid-2015 in some parts of Sanaag. In late 2016, Deqa’s family lost 150 sheep and goats and the 2 pack camels. The remaining 50 were not sellable as they were in bad bodily conditions and the family was left with nothing to survive on.

“By 2017 my family has exhausted all its survival options and we set out to seek help and moved near Durduri village where water access was better. However, buying food was still a huge problem. It became difficult for us to access credit or take loan from other community members.” Deqa explained.

“I was very stressed due to lack of food for my children, I was trying my best to get some food for kids, at least one meal a day. Something to keep them alive.” She continued.

Fortunately, in April, with support from Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) Adeso has rolled out a Somalia Emergency Response Project (SERP). Through unconditional cash transfer Adeso has assisted 210 drought affected people in Durduri Village including Deqa’s family. The project aims at providing live-saving assistance to the drought-affected communities in Sanaag and Mudug regions.

Overall, Adeso has assisted 3,500 people in both regions through the distribution of unconditional cash transfer. The selected beneficiaries from the most vulnerable drought-affected families will continue to receive this cash assistance for 3 months. In order to help them get access to food and water their direly need.

“When I first received the money on my mobile phone 10:00 am in the morning. My children were hungry and hadn’t eaten anything for a whole day.  I immediately traveled to Badhan, a town 50 Km from Durduri village to purchase food and other non-food essential items for the family.  She described.


Read more about how Adeso is helping the drought-stricken people in Somalia here.