Cash scheme rekindles hope in Somalia's drought-hit regions

Apr 2016

Cash-for-work interventions implemented by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization are providing an income lifeline to communities affected by the ongoing drought in northern Somalia. While putting much needed cash in people’s pockets to buy food, the work is empowering communities to rebuild vital infrastructure with their own hands.

The timing of the current drought in parts of Somaliland and Puntland is especially bad for farmers and herders. In the worst affected areas, communities have not seen normal rains for two full years, crops have largely failed and livestock are increasingly weak and at risk of disease and death. According to FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), abnormal migration has been reported from drought-affected areas of Bari and Sanaag regions.

Cash-for-work is a key priority of FAO's drought response. Thanks to funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), thousands of families are participating in cash-for-work interventions. While providing immediate cash relief, the work rebuilds infrastructure needed to restore livelihoods while improving wateravailability, access and use. For example, each rehabilitated water catchment can store enough water for more than 2,000 animals for three months. FAO has launched a USD 17-million response plan to help more than 1 million people in Somaliland and Puntland affected by the current drought.