Somalia: Displaced Women Grow Hope in Kitchen Gardens

Somalia: Displaced Women Grow Hope in Kitchen Gardens

Somalia: Displaced Women Grow Hope in Kitchen Gardens

Somalia: Displaced Women Grow Hope in Kitchen Gardens

In a displacement camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, Mama Safiyo Muhumed Farah starts each day early by tending to her garden. She is one of 1.3 million people who have been displaced within Somalia by recent climate crises – such as drought and floods – and conflict. Hundreds of thousands of displaced individuals struggle daily to access basic needs. Amidst many challenges, Mama Safiyo’s garden has become a beacon of hope and a source of nourishment for her family.

When Mama Safiyo’s nine-month-old grandchild showed signs of malnutrition, she rushed the little girl to a healthcare facility run by Action Against Hunger to receive emergency treatment. At the Garasbaley Health Center, Mama Safiyo learned about our nutrition program in her community and decided to participate once her grandchild was released. The program teaches the community about the power of nutrition and provides people with opportunities to rebuild their livelihoods.

Mama Safiyo learned about healthy diets and feeding practices for her seven children and grandchildren and attended support groups, where she was taught how to grow nutritious vegetables. Inspired by these lessons, Mama Safiyo started her own kitchen garden in a small open space next to her home. In just a few months, she grew her first harvest from her garden, which included plenty of nutritious crops for her children and grandchildren to eat.

“The look of my children has improved,” she says. “This small space has given me enough, and I didn’t know much about this before.”

The struggles for those living in Somalia’s displacement camps are not limited to nutrition and health. In the nearby Samadeeq Displacement Camp, women used to walk more than a mile to draw water from a well, a trek that is both dangerous and time-consuming. Action Against Hunger stepped in to provide emergency support to these women and their families by partnering with a private company to develop a solar-powered water source.

The community well harnesses solar energy to provide portable and safe drinking water to families in the Himilo Displacement Camp. Before, the community drew well water with the help of gasoline, which cost an average of over $150 per month. Now, the sun powers the pump for free.

“Women now draw water every time they want,” says Ali Issack Ahmed, a member of the water committee who helps to manage and maintain the well and has seen how it has improved access to clean water. “The water burden has been reduced, and now there’s no cost of fuel.”

Both the water and gardening initiatives were part of the Humanitarian Assistance and Resilience Building in Somalia (HARBS Project), funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth&Development Office and the US Agency for International Development. The HARBS project is helping to meet urgent needs in disaster-prone communities of Somalia, especially by promoting water, sanitation, and health services.

In three months, hundreds of people, most of them women, received training and tools to start kitchen gardens at their homes. Home gardening provides a sustainable source of fresh produce, even in a crisis.

The HARBS project supports food growers and other producers to help meet community nutritional needs and to provide humanitarian assistance. Our teams improve access to clean water for drought-affected communities, teach about health, nutrition, and hygiene, prevent malnutrition and other illnesses, and treat malnutrition.

Through the HARBS Project, Action Against Hunger has reached more than 10,462 families across five districts. In the face of multiple crises, our teams continue to work side by side with communities in Somalia to inspire hope and build resilience.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Action Against Hunger.