Stories and community profiles

Shahido, from Somalia

‘Before, casual labor was our family’s main source of income. My eldest son did most of the work, but the income was barely enough to feed our family.

The new project will improve our livelihood. We’ll sell some of the vegetables to generate income and consume some to provide a good source of nutrients for the whole family.

Through this project, I believe I will be able to expand my business, feed my family, pay school fees for my children and gain knowledge on various methods of farming.’’

Shahido, 40, is the mother of three girls and seven boys. Nine years ago, she fled conflict and food shortages in her hometown of Wajid, in southwest Somalia. She currently lives in the Jazeera camp for internally displaced persons in the town of Luuq, Somalia. Her youngest daughter suffers from severe malnutrition and has been receiving care through the Trócaire nutrition program.

Empowering Somali women through sustainable agriculture

Food insecurity is becoming increasingly severe in Somalia because of an erratic 2020 rainy season, a locust infestation and the COVID-19.

Fortunately, Shahido is well-prepared to face this triple threat, thanks to a food security project launched in April 2020.

The project enabled her to save enough money to buy six goats, which she sold at a profit. She used the money to open a small kiosk where she sells drinks, sweets and other small items.

Shahido also cultivates a 0.15-hectare lot, on which she has planted maize, parsley, spinach cowpeas and green pepper. She also plans to plant fruit trees such as pawpaw and banana, and other vegetables to diversify her production.

How our partner, Trócaire, is helping

With financial support from Development and Peace, Trócaire has leased 15 hectares of land in Luuq, Somalia. This land, along with the agricultural equipment, seeds and agroecology* and permaculture** training that Trócaire provides, has made it possible for 100 women to grow food to feed their families.

* Agroecology is he application of ecological principles to agricultural systems and practices.

** Permacultures are agricultural ecosystems designed to “work with nature” in a sustainable, self-sufficient manner.

The impact of COVID-19 and the role of Trócaire

The COVID-19 pandemic represents an exceptional challenge in Somalia because healthcare services, facilities and personnel are extremely scarce in many parts of the country. Having played a key role in healthcare in Somalia’s Gedo region since 1990, Trócaire is now helping reduce the threat of COVID-19 through appropriate identification, isolation and treatment of cases. With our support, Trócaire has created and equipped four isolation centers to receive and treat people COVID-19, so that their communities are protected. Volunteers are being trained to identify potential cases in camps for internally displaced persons and among host communities and to refer them to appropriate health care.

María Pucha d’Équateur

Thanks to CEDIS, I received all kinds of plants for my allotment garden such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, onions, carrots and beets. Because the harvest coincided with the start of the pandemic, we could continue feeding ourselves without having to go to town to buy supplies.

María Pucha hails from the community of La Pradera in Ecuador.

How our partner, CEDIS, is helping

Organic allotment gardens help feed communities in Ecuador

The Center for Development, Dissemination and Social Research (CEDIS, Centro de Desarrollo, Difusión e Investigación Social) trained 505 families and provided them seedlings to cultivate allotment gardens.

Seeing the project’s success, neighbouring communities have requested that it be expanded. CEDIS now plans to train and equip another 500 families. 

Trade fairs for fair trade

The pandemic had helped Ecuadorians understand just how important peasant agriculture is for keeping the large cities well fed. Yet, instances have come to light of large-scale traders exploiting small-scale farmers by imposing low purchase prices in the countryside to sell the produce at huge markups in the cities.

To get a fairer deal, peasant communities have begun organizing themselves around local trade fairs, where they can exchange produce and negotiate better prices among themselves. CEDIS is working with these communities and local authorities to consolidate these sales spaces and to create robust fair-trade mechanisms.

The impact of COVID-19 and the role of CEDIS

Despite conditions of extreme vulnerability that include a lack of drinking water, inadequate sewage services, malnutrition and poverty, many rural communities have demonstrated the capacity organize themselves to control the spread of COVID-19.

CEDIS has been helping by organizing pandemic awareness and prevention workshops in the communities, ensuring that all participants wear masks, have their temperatures taken and remain safely distant from one another.

At the request of the communities, CEDIS also plans to purchase 25 contactless infrared thermometers, one for each community, to help it monitor for fevers and implement preventive measures.

Indoor water supply

Most rural houses are precarious and lack an indoor water supply. A multipurpose washing platform outside the house is usually used for showering, laundry, dishwashing and cooking.

With Development and Peace’s support, CEDIS will be installing sinks inside select houses. In addition to making cooking more convenient, these sinks will facilitate handwashing, one of the most important preventive measures against COVID-19.