Resilient households coping up with recurrent drought situations in Somalia

My name is Said Aw Ali Said. I have two families consisting of 18 people. I have been living in the Sanaag region in Somalia since my childhood. This village (Buq-hayle) did not exist when I was young, it was established about 10 years ago. The total population of the village is estimated to be around 80 people, but there are many more living in the village’s outskirts. The livelihood of the community mostly depends on livestock. In addition, we have some rain-fed farms from which we occasionally harvest.

This present drought has been going on for three consecutive years and its impact is at its climax now. The current drought has caused the Buq hayle community to lose their livestock, mostly cattle, sheep and goats. As a family, we possessed 100 sheep and goats but we lost 50 of them to the drought.

When thinking about how best I could become resilient and adapt to such cyclic droughts, I came up with a plan for efficiently managing my resources so that my livestock could survive the drought. I developed a plan based on the four climatic seasons – Jiilaal, Gu’, Xagaa and Deyr (Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, respectively). Part of my plan was to cultivate fodder for the livestock. My family and I began to grow fodder for the livestock and store it until there was no sufficient pasture to graze. Our livestock would then survive on the stored fodder during times of drought. We have been doing this practice for the last two years and the initial idea of preparing for droughts and other shocks to mitigate against its adverse effects was inspired by CARE’s STORRE project.

CARE has worked with the Buq hayle community for nearly two years supporting us on the protection of the environment and rehabilitation of rangelands. It has also trained us and organized awareness raising workshops to enable us to build our resilience and prepare for droughts and other hazards, and mitigate their impact on the lives of both human beings and livestock.

I’m happy to proudly say that my enduring livestock have enough fodder. Now my other priority is to construct water catchment (berkad) for storing rainwater. The stored water will serve as for both drinking and irrigation purposes.

“As an elder, I’m committed to serve for the development of my community and contribute to ideas that can help them survive during hardships.”

Said Aw Ali