Mobile Money Transfer is transforming lives in Somalia

Published July 13, 2017 by Noor Abdi Maalim

Bishaaro paying for the items she purchased using her mobile phone July 2017


Raising grandchildren can be a challenge for the financially stable. But for someone who is raising six children below the poverty line, the challenge is tremendously compounded. Especially in the absence of parents. Sixty-year-old Bisharo is the sole caregiver for her six grandchildren.

To provide their basic needs is a struggle that Bisharo endures every day. Her lack of livelihood skills, assets and enough steady income makes it difficult for her to make ends meet in the rural village of Fanole in Afmadow district of Lower Juba region. 

Out of her three school aged grandchildren, Bisharo could only afford to send one to school. With competing priorities and meager resources at hand, education seemed a luxury that the family couldn’t afford.  “With an inadequate amount that my daughter sends every month I was barely able to provide three meals a day, let alone sending the children to School.” explained Bisharo.

Fanole village where Bisharo lives was one of the most vulnerable villages that Adeso’s EU funded Social Safety Net Project (SSNP) project targeted. The project aims to address the food security crisis and build the resilience of the people to withstand and mitigate emerging shocks and to have a sustainable income and better lives

The project is currently helping 3000 people in Afmadow and Dhooble districts of the Lower Jubba region of South Central Somalia through unconditional cash transfer. Bisharo being one those who were assisted through cash distribution has been receiving $40 on monthly basis over a period of six months.

The cash assistance has turned Bisharo and her grandchildren’s lives for the better. Bisharo receives the money on her mobile phone through electronic transfer. This saves her the time she used to travel to the cash distribution site and back and reduces the inconvenience encountered when retailers run out of small denominations. In addition to the risk associated with walking around with cash.

“It's really hard carrying cash around, especially Somali shillings. They are bulky and can make you an easy target for robbers and burglars. I don't have to worry about that now that the money is sent to my mobile phone.” She said.

Thanks to the project Bisharo can take care of her family and she is saving to start a durable source of income. Bisahro will continue to receive cash every month over the next ten months, during this time she hopes she will have started her small shop which she can run from home.

For now, she is grateful the children are getting enough food so they can continue to attend school and concentrate on their education.