27-10-2020 | di COOPI
Somalia. Multi-purpose cash support helping Sharifo to feed their children
Sharifo Mahammad Sheikh is a 48-year-old widow and a mother of eight children (five daughters and three sons). She belongs to the 922 vulnerable households identified and targeted under the “Coordinated Implementation of Multipurpose Cash Assistance to Support Somali Households Affected by Crisis” program in Somalia. COOPI is a member of the Somali cash consortium partnering with ACTED, Danish Refugee Council, Impact Initiatives, Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children and Concern Worldwide as the lead agency implementing this European Civili Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) founded project.
In Somalia, combined effects of recurrent droughts, recent flash floods, locust infestation, insecurity due to on-going political instability, the COVID-19 pandemic and displacements of people have had a negative impact on the economic stability and livelihoods, leading to a continuing humanitarian situation. Following the displacement trends, a lot of people have moved from drought affected areas in the rural villages to urban centres to seek for humanitarian assistance. Baidoa district is among the worst affected areas in Somalia, and this has caused an influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and an increase of camp sites in the town.
Sharifo is one of them. “We faced difficulties and challenges over the years, particularly drought, insecurity posed by AS militia and now COVID-19. Movement restriction, restrained access to food, water, medication and even markets were immensely impacted. My family moved here from Midow village in January hoping to receive humanitarian assistance and seek casual labour employment opportunities. Unfortunately, I ended up losing my livelihood income and forced into debts to put food on the table. My condition was extremely stressful & overwhelming”, she says.
Coherent with the vulnerability and selection criteria, COOPI gave priority for the unconditional cash support to households that included female headed IDP with orphans, pregnant and lactating women-headed households, people living with disabilities, those with depleted assets & have no source of income, the elderly, and households with a chronically-ill members. Sharifo was very happy to be included to this program:
“My family situation has improved over the past few months. Most importantly, I managed to repay my debts with the cash I received besides providing food for my family. I came to this camp owing people from my village almost $ 95, which kept me worrying every day and I am happy to have settled the debts now with the first three rounds of the cash transfer received. There is nothing better than having financial freedom and living stress-free”, she states.
The Multipurpose Cash transfer has been the lifeline to Sharifo and her neighbors in the camp. Monthly cash assistance of $ 60 delivered through mobile money transfer system translated into a diverse and nutritious diet for their children, allowing families the flexibility to also decide how to leverage the use of remaining money. Targeted households had already received four-months of unconditional cash support and remaining with two more rounds in the coming months.
“This intervention has completely changed my life. I am really grateful to ECHO and COOPI for the timely support to my family and our community. Without the intervention, I would not have been where I am,” an appreciative Sharifo concludes.