From IDP to farmer


Ahmed Gacaney returned to his village in the Jowhar district from an IDP camp in Bosasso  when his family informed him of a UNDP cash for work project in the area. Under this project, communities from Maandhere and Burfule villages rehabilitated four canals for a total of 15 kilometers and started farming plots of land that had been left to waste since the 90’s.

Ahmed, together with 360 other people, mainly IDPs, widowed women, women leading households, and unemployed young people, worked for 90 days to rehabilitate the canals and clear the land.  Each household was given one hectare of land, 25 kg of seeds, as well as training on crop production. They received each eight chicken to sustain their families during the work.

Mandere and Burfule villages are two mainstay of the regional economy in terms of agricultural production: the community traditionally grows mainly maize, sesame, sorghum, rice, cowpea, tomatoes and watermelon. However, an unemployment rate of 56 percent, combined with the migration of skilled laborers, the influx of IDPs, poor rainfall, persistent hyperinflation and high input costs have severely deteriorated the livelihood of the rural population.

The 90 days of employment, and salary were only what kick started Ahmed’s motivation:  his maize is now mature and he is preparing another plot of land for growing sesame and watermelon. He is hoping to remain in his home village and sustain his family with his new farming activity: “I used to sleep in a hut (in the camp in Bosasso) that was made of plastic sheets and sticks and my living condition was hand to mouth. But now I hope, I will store maize and cowpeas” said Ahmed. Ahmed has prepared another plot of land for farming, where he hopes to grow sesame and watermelon.

This initiative is part of UNDP’s Area-Based Early Recovery project. It is funded by BCPR.