DRC is helping refugees diversify their diet through kitchen gardensSmall scale farming helps refugee families diversify their diet as well as giving them a source of income. DRC are providing the knowledge, necessary equipment and seeds.
Halimo Ali Abdi is 36 years old and from Galguduud, Somalia. She is living in Ali Addeh refugee camp with her husband and eight children; four boys and four girls. Halimo is a beneficiary of Danish Refugee Council’s training on starting a kitchen garden. Her house sits at the edge of the vast refugee camp, which hosts around 12,000 refugees some of whom have called this place their home since 1991.
Halimo fled her home town in Galguduud, Somalia, in 2009 after attacks by al Shabaab militants targeting her village increased and life became unbearable. She explains that life in the camp has been difficult as there are few livelihood opportunities, which the refugees can benefit from. But now her life has changed thanks to DRC, who provides her with vegetable seeds that have enabled her to start her own kitchen garden.
“For a very long time we have depended on the rations, but now my family occasionally enjoys eating water melons right from here,” says Halimo.
Learning to grow greens in the scorching heat
Halimo is one of the refugees who DRC have provided with seeds (tomato, green pepper and eggplant), agricultural farm equipments; such as a rake, spade and drip irrigation kits, to enable them to start their kitchen gardens. The refugees have also received training on how to take care of their gardens and best practices of small scale farming such as using drip irrigation to water their plants because the area in Ali Addeh is very dry and scorching hot making it difficult for barely any farming to take place.
“I am very happy with my garden. It used to be very difficult to get green vegetables. But now I have just finished harvesting water melons,” says Halimo as she gestures towards her garden.
Danish Refugee Council’s intentions are that kitchen gardens, like Halimo’s, can help diversify refugees’ diet as the given food rations only consists of cereals and cooking oil. With vegetables from the gardens, refugee families are able to maintain a diversified diet as well as providing them with a source of income from selling vegetables at the local market.