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Drought-affected Ethiopian households benefit from FAO cash-transfer project

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 US$80 transfers between December 2019 and January 2020.

Households, with few animals, as well as those headed by women, with children, elderly, disabled and sick persons, were prioritised. They were drawn from Daror, Deghabur, Yoale Woredas districts.

“The cash transfers will help improve food security, restore livelihoods and minimise the need to resort to negative coping mechanisms,” said Fatouma Seid, 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.”

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.