19/12/2012 – The devastating drought of 2011, which led to declaration of famine in five regions of Somalia, crippled the livelihoods of many, including that of a 30-year old mother of two, Madino Mohamed. Madino and her family, lost all their livestock due to lack of water and pasture in Lower Shabbele. As food, water, and basic services became increasingly scarce, she left for Mogadishu’s congested camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) in search of help.
Action Against Hunger (ACF) is one of the agencies funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), assisting IDPs in Mogadishu. Between July and October 2012, ACF gave three rounds of cash grants with ECHO funding. Madino’s was one of the 6,450 benefiting families drawn from five most vulnerable districts of Mogadishu. Each family received a total of $360 in three payments over a period of four months.
Madino and her family arrived in Mogadishu with nothing. Her young child was ailing, they had no source of food or money to pay for their basic needs. Armed with the cash grant, Madino was able to buy food, water, and pay for medicines and clothes for her family. The grant empowered Madino and her husband to make choices based on the family’s priorities. “Before the cash distribution, my husband and I roamed around the camp looking for manual work. It was very difficult to find work; many times we had to beg for food from neighbours.”
On top of the cash grants, ACF is treating malnourished children in its two stabilisation centres and five outpatient therapeutic centres in Hodan, Waberi, Forlanini, Dharkenley and Wardigley districts of Mogadishu. These centres allow destitute families access to free treatment and health information. Madino’s three-month child was treated for malnutrition in one of the centres.
In order to ensure that benefiting families have the ability to restore their livelihoods in their areas of origin, the Somalia Cash Consortium, of which ACF is a member, is working with the Return Consortium to determine beneficiaries’ return intentions, as well as the support they require to do so. This will ensure adequate assistance is provided for families like Madino’s.
Madino says she would want to return to her village in Lower Shabelle, but will require help to re-establish her livelihood back home. “If I get some seeds and farm tools; and maybe some cash to start a small business, I will be able to support my family.”
ECHO provided ACF with funding of €2.9 million for the period between July 2011 and September 2012. Part of this funding has been used for cash grants and nutritional services among vulnerable IDPs in Mogadishu.
By Hodhan Ismail, Reporting and Communications Officer
ACF International, Somalia Coordination Office