Cash grants are saving lives in drought-stricken Somalia

The drought in Somalia has caused the displacement of many people who have relocated to different areas in search for food and other basic services in order to survive.

Many families have also been separated in different areas as they have tried to find places where they can get food in order to survive. 

The drought in Baidoa has displaced over 100,000 families. This affects both the displaced and host communities, because they receive displaced relatives and thus carries a bigger burden in order to feed both their own families and the displaced relatived, they have taken in.

The Danish Refugee Council, with funding from DFID, has taken the initiative to identify and help the most vulnerable host community members who has accommodated displaced people. 

Muslimo Manuur Aliyow, a 62-year-old woman and a mother of 9, are living in Waberi section of Baidoa town. Muslimo is supported by two of her children, one sells bananas while the other works at a construction company that builds houses where he earns a maximum of USD5.00 per day.

Muslimo lives with her children and eleven grandchildren and also hosts two of her close relatives who were displaced from Buur Eyle which is 70 kilometers from Baidoa.

“Through the hard work of my children, we are getting something at the end of the day not knowing how tomorrow will unfold,” Muslimo says in a low voice full of hopelessness.

“I took in my relatives and welcomed them even though I did not have enough space and food for all of us,” she adds.

Through the support of the village section, Muslimo was among the first beneficiaries identified for the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) support.

“After closely monitoring and assessing the situation on the ground, we found out that Muslimo was one the most vulnerable people because she was hosting members displaced members of her family,” Maalim Mohamud, the section head of Waberi, said during the beneficiary registration session.

Muslimo and other UCT beneficiaries receive cash grants in three parts, which enables them to buy food and other life saving nessecities.

“It is a good back-up because we have been struggling to manage with the little we had. By getting this unconditional cash support, at least we have the chance to get enough food for the entire family,“ Muslimo says.  

Muslimo is grateful that DRC, with funding from DFID, intervened with this initiative that has assisted many families in Baidoa and encourages DRC and DFID to continue supporting all displaced families. She says:

“We live in an environment where the poorest families reside and extending such support at a time like this will enable the affected households to meet daily household needs.”   

Helping across borders

The UN warns that the on-going growing hunger can develop into the biggest humanitarian disaster since its establishment in 1945. Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen and Nigeria have been described as 'the four famines’, but the extensive drought does not know of borders. Countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and parts of Uganda are also severely affected. The extensive drought leaves as many as 20 million lives hanging in a balance making rapid assistance and access to food and water a matter of life and death.

The Danish Refugee Council is present in all of the affected countries and work across borders to help as many people as possible.