Drought-affected households in Ethiopia benefit from FAO cash-transfer project

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has provided 4 500 drought-affected pastoral households in the Somali region of Ethiopia with unconditional cash transfers to meet their immediate needs and invest in productive activities. Each beneficiary household received 80 USD transfers between December 2019 and January 2020. Households with few animals, as well as those headed by women, and with children, the elderly, and disabled, and sick persons were prioritized. They were drawn from Daror, Deghabur, Yoale Woredas (districts).

“Ultimately, the cash transfers will help improve food security, restore livelihoods, and minimize the need to resort to negative coping mechanisms,” said Fatouma Seid, the FAO Representative in Ethiopia. Implemented in collaboration with the Somali regional government, Save the Children and Somali Microfinance Institution, the cash transfer intervention is part of the “Early Action” that FAO launched in 2019 to safeguard the livelihoods of vulnerable pastoral and agro-pastoral communities.

Pastoral communities were affected by below-average Belg rainfall in 2019, compounded by the impact of consecutive droughts in the previous years, as well as conflict-induced internal displacements. These circumstances resulted in deteriorating animal body conditions, increased disease outbreaks, poor livestock market value, livestock death, and reduced milk yields.

Relief to cash-strapped communities

The cash transfers have enabled the beneficiaries to purchase the goods and services they need most. Aisha Muhammed 60, who lost ten goats during the drought in 2019, was relieved to get the cash. “In December 2019, I purchased essential household items such as soap, sugar, and vaseline for my grandchildren. Now I am going to buy food. I will also buy two kids to boost my herd,” she said.

Amina Abdi 37, said, “Before I received the cash, we had run out of food and were having one meal per day on average. I closed my restaurant because I used all the capital to buy food. Now I have bought enough rice to last the lean period, and I am going to re-open my restaurant”, she said. The “Early Action” is supporting 151 000 households in Afar, Oromia, Somali and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' regional states with livestock treatment services, supplementary animal feed and seed for food and forage production.

The Programme is funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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