Saturday, January 19, 2013

Welcome to 2013- Post in a Post

Happy New Year! After a much needed break, I am back. Before the first post of 2013, I want to thank all the readers. This year I inevitably made a resolutions on such resolution was to blog more. I promise it is going to happen even though I am overextended. The post below is a success story I wrote for work. Looking forward to your comments.

Eldahir Village Farmer and Adeso Beneficiary Thrives

Residents in the small village of Eldahir, located on the border of the Bari/Sanaag region of Somalia and comprised of approximately 570 households, have in the past faced numerous, and often enormous, hardships. During Somalia’s civil war, a large part of Eldahir’s population fled, as along with many others from surrounding communities. These IDPs moved to reside in South Somalia where they shared what resources were available, such as livestock and land.
One such resident, Abdirashid Said Mohamed, decided to return to his home village in 1992 to begin a new life. After some time, he settled down, married, and his wife had 6 children. Just as he was starting to rebuild his life, a severe drought began to plague the communities of Sool, Sanaag and Bari regions, lasting from 2002-2005. Saudi Arabia imposed a livestock import ban[1] from 2000-2009 on Somalia which also affected the positive livelihood coping mechanisms of the entire population. Trade, business, agriculture, and labor markets were severely disrupted. At this time, Said Mohamed was struggling to support his wife and 6 children on the meager wages he earned from construction labor. Unskilled labor, such as basic construction work in Eldahir village was unreliable and unsustainable for a large family.
Eldahir village consists primarily of poor agro-pastoralists. Prior to the Sanaag Emergency Response Project II (SERP II) run by Adeso, community members like Abdirashid Said Mohamed had farmland that went unused, as residents lacked the skills and capital to farm successfully. SERP provided a six month training course on farming methods and provided agricultural inputs, such as seeds and tools, for the village. As part of the project, Adeso also conducted an assessment of the ecological zones in Goles, Gebi Valley, and the coastal area. From there, it was determined that each zone required different varieties of agriculture that catered to its climate in order for the land to thrive. As such, Adeso selected, with the assistance of the community, one village per ecological zone to each accommodate 10 demonstration plots (DEMO). The community committees and Adeso jointly created the selection criteria and members were identified, agreed upon, and selected for training to run the DEMO plots in each village. Eldahir village was chosen and 10 DEMO plots were initiated. Said Mohamed was one of the community members identified by Eladhir village committee to run one DEMO plot.
“During the SERP project I had the golden opportunity of receiving trainings, particularly on demonstration plots for the testing of seeds which contributed to improving my income and  the lives of my family,” remarked Said Mohamed who completed the SERP training and harvested his family’s demo plot for the first time, drastically changing their income.
Prior to the SERP intervention, Said Mohamed noted that his family was only eating one meal per day. Within 6 months of farming his demo plot, Said Mohamed was able to make 66,700,000 Som. Shillings, equivalent to $2,223 USD at the time, from selling produce from 3 harvests in the nearby market. His family’s food intake increased from one daily meal to two-three, due to the increase in income from selling produce from the family’s plot.
In addition to increasing the family’s food intake, Said Mohamed used some money ($1,223 USD) to cover farm expenses, household items, and pay the school expenses for 4 of his children, who were previously unable to attend school. In addition, the family was able to save approximately $1,000 USD as a result of the project.
Said Mohamed continued to work his family’s plot and share his newly gained knowledge with other farmers in the community. Eventually, he increased his farmland from one hectare to two and a half hectares and anticipated a further increase in the amount of produce from the harvest.
In early 2012, the Somali Shilling experienced significant depreciation against the US dollar thereby forcing Said Mohamed to use some of the families’ savings to continue farming operations. Entire communities are now suffering from this phenomenon. Many of the basic commodities used in Somalia are imported from surrounding countries and traders from this region use US dollars as a uniform currency to facilitate transactions.  Due to this depreciation, the price of basic commodities is now considerably inflated.  Adeso has recognized the vulnerability of the population to food insecurity and has developed an intervention to address the growing needs of the region.  The Livelihoods Emergency Assistance Project of Somalia (LEAPS) began in October 2012 as a continuation of SERP II.

[1] Holleman, C. (2002). The Socio-economic Implications of the Livestock Ban in Somaliland. FEWS NET IQC Famine Early Warning System Network/Somalia. USAID Retrieved from:

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