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As a result of drought, Somalia is experiencing a wave of change in the diversity of menus that families are having on their tables. What most Somalis would have easily dismissed as fodder for their livestock is now finding its way comfortably to the dinner table. Probably, you are also mistaken to think that those doing this are at a loss on their rich pastoralist menu that has been decimated by drought but this is not the case. Families in Awdal region for example have discovered what it means to diversify their diets with produce from greenhouses that were established under the ADRA implemented Emergency Water and Livelihood Support Program (EWLSP 034) that ended over seven months ago.
The EWLSP project was implemented by ADRA with funding from USAID/OFDA in Awdal and Gebiley regions of Somaliland. The greenhouse initiative has seen hundreds of women from various women and farmer groups embark on the action that has not only unified them but also empowered them with the ability to provide and sustain the livelihoods of their families. Produce from the greenhouses are now owned by the groups that were established and provided with implements and seeds donated by ADRA but are now managed and tended to by the women groups.
Should you visit one of the greenhouses, you will notice that the women are very enthusiastic to tend to the variety of plants in their gardens especially with the immense support from the skilled staff at ADRA. In the gardens, the plants grown range from spinach, kales, okra, cow peas, green grams, brinjals, pepper, capsicum, tomatoes, onions, pawpaw, lime and many more. The women devote their time to what they have so passionately embraced that other women groups are establishing similar ventures on their own. Women have also been trained on how to prepare meals from the vegetables in their kitchen gardens besides being able to sell the surplus items for some extra income.
Gebiley and Baki women groups are just but some of the many women groups in Awdal region that have benefited from the EWLSP’s initiative with several hundreds of local women diversifying their livelihoods with each boasting a steady income from the greenhouses. ADRA is currently implementing a similar USAID/OFDA funded intervention in the region and will aim to build on the successes of the EWLSP project.