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Livelihoods for refugee and host communities

Photo: Farm Africa / Abdiwali Mohamed Photo: Farm Africa / Abdiwali Mohamed

The Problem

In Ethiopia’s arid Somali region, people rely on livestock and food aid to make ends meet. Regular droughts have seen grasslands shrink and water sources disappear. Livestock keepers lose 37% of their herd every time severe drought hits.

The region hosts thousands of Somalian refugees fleeing conflict and food insecurity, which places additional pressure on the area’s dwindling natural resources and creates friction between refugee and host communities.

Poor access to veterinary services and animal feed stop livestock keepers from protecting their herds during climate extremes. Limited business opportunities trap refugee and host communities alike in poverty.

What are we doing?

This project is equipping groups dependent on aid with the knowledge, resources and access to markets they need to become self-sufficient. The project brings 1,000 refugees and 1,000 Ethiopian hosts together to address common challenges: environmental degradation, climate change and poverty.

Regreening grasslands

This project is breathing life back into the degraded grasslands that the livestock-dependent population rely upon. This project will:

  • Strengthen local governance systems for grassland management, allowing communities to address over-grazing concerns
  • Train communities to manage pastures and herds during hot weather spells
  • Conduct research into sustainable grazing levels
  • Build irrigation canals and reservoirs to revitalise degraded lands

Resilient farming systems

The Ethiopian Government has provided host and refugee communities with access to previously unused land. To turn areas from dryland into productive farmland, Farm Africa is designing and installing a solar-powered irrigation system.

Project staff will train groups dependent on aid and livestock in how to grow maize and other crops for their own consumption, as well as cash crops, like onions.

Finance and business

Farmers currently rely on low-input, low-output subsistence agriculture. Farm Africa will connect farmers to agribusinesses that supply the seed, irrigation equipment and spare parts needed to kick-start commercial production.

When drought endangers livestock, herders are unable to sell their animals or buy the supplies they need to keep them alive. This project will set up local livestock trading and animal health services businesses to plug this gap.

We will establish Village Saving and Loan Associations, where farmers unite to save and make funds available to invest in each other’s businesses.

Who we are working with

Farm Africa is working with Mercy Corps as part of a broader Sida-funded project run by The World Food Programme, which seeks to build vulnerable communities’ resilience to climate, social and economic shocks.

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