|Itís worth the investment|
Asia Mohamed* goes about her business with a deep sense of satisfaction; her journey leading to the cash for work project that has changed her life has been a particularly long one, filled with many difficulties. She is a single mother of three and lives in Barire, Awdhegle District.
Prior to the cash for work project, Asia had no regular source of income, and with a family to support she found herself in desperate circumstances. Providing the basic needs for her family was daunting.
“Before this cash for work, our access to daily food was limited to 1 time in 12 hours and we used to miss at times even that 1 meal, but now we take 2 full meals and refreshments,” explains Asia.
Over the past two years, Asia relied on income generated from selling firewood she collected many kilometres away. But the earnings were meagre. The family would go without food whenever she fell sick and could not carry the firewood. She was the laughing stock of the neighbourhood. Asha could not borrow money or food from her neighbours, who did not trust that she could pay it back.
“The type of food we used to eat before the project was limited to maize. Now we have access to different foods, including rice and pasta,” she says.
When the rehabilitation of the 19-kilometre Governo primary canal began in Barire, Asia joined the cash for work project. She saved USD 90 and, together with two other women in the project, invested the money in a hawking business.
“I earn 2 dollars a day from the hawking business. This business is also not very strenuous. My physical health has improved since leaving the hard work of collecting firewood from far away with very low returns,” she explains.
The rehabilitation of the canal has improved livelihoods for the target population. The cash for work undertaken over 60 days has directly benefitted more than 1,000 people, including internally displaced persons, women-headed families and subsistence farmers. The majority can now access better food, water and shelter.
The canal’s rehabilitation, which was implemented under UNDP’s Employment Generation for Early Recovery Project, has also improved production for over 300 small-scale farmers. Irrigation systems have improved, a 5-kilometre stretch of flood-prone land has been fortified, and a number of small businesses have been started from the farmers’ savings.
The Employment Generation for Early Recovery Project seeks to create income and jobs for vulnerable groups such as women, youth, and IDPs and their host communities in South Central Somalia.
*name has been changed