How Women Entrepreneurs Are Building Resilience.

The security situation in Somalia is still unstable after years of conflict between government forces and various non-state armed groups. To make matters worse, in 2017 the country was hit by its worst drought in 20 years – a disaster from which it is still recovering. As a result, millions of people have been displaced in southern and central areas of Somalia. In total, 2.6 million Somalis are currently displaced within the country, according to the UN-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network. Often, their livelihoods have been destroyed and they find themselves dependent on humanitarian assistance for survival.

Hawo Buyo, 38, is a mother of ten children and lives in the Baidoa camp for displaced people in southern Somalia. She and her family have been forced to flee twice. “We moved to this settlement in Baidoa because we were displaced by conflict in Mogadishu and severe droughts later in Dhuxuley,” she explains.

To help families deal with shocks and stresses more effectively, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is participating in a support programme called Building Resilient Communities in Somalia (BRCiS). Part of this programme is an “income generation” initiative, whereby women in the Baidoa and Dollow districts receive business management training and funding to help them diversify their businesses. Markets have been constructed in both districts to provide an outlet for this new business activity. The women involved are all heads of their families, and each runs a small business which serves as their main source of income. The training and support they receive increase their earning potential and make them less vulnerable to adverse events such as droughts.

Fadumo Sharif, 29, lives in the Qansaxley settlement for displaced people in Dollow, near the border with Ethiopia. “Our livelihood previously depended on collecting and selling firewood. It was a very difficult job and I could not provide three meals a day for my family,” she explains. However, all this changed when she was selected to take part in the income generation project.

“We were trained in business management and received grants of USD 500 to invest in our businesses,” Fadumo continues. “I decided to invest in a new business that would be more profitable than wood collection. I built a kiosk and started a small shop. Things have changed for the better. My children are able to go to school. The food shortage problem is solved and we are able to pay the water bills…..

Source: Norwegian Refugee Council