(ERGO) – Fardowsa Yussuf Abdi, an internally displaced single mother, is delighted to have a regular job guaranteed for two years that is enabling her to provide for her four children– and is also keeping her village clean.
Since arriving two years ago in Daa’if village, 25 km from the southern Somali port city of Kismayo, she was depending on food handouts from neighbours to feed her children.
In April, her family life turned around when she was given a cleaning job paying a monthly salary of $120 under a two-year project aimed at cleaning up the local environment and supporting vulnerable women through work.
She is among 80 IDP women breadwinners in Gobweyn, Qam-Qam, Istanbul, Daa’if, Haji wayne, Bula-garas, Safi and Bula-gudud villages north of Kismayo employed by the project being implemented by local organisation WASDA, with support from AVSI and the Italian Agency for Development and Cooperation.
These villages outside Kismayo are inhabited by a mix of local people and displaced families, who have set up clusters of huts forming unofficial IDP camps that lack basic hygiene and sanitation facilities.
Fardowsa, who left Jamame in Lower Juba region following flooding, had been unable even to afford to buy milk for her one-year-old, who was born after she was divorced. Her ex-husband has not provided any support. However, Fardowsa has now enrolled her first born son in Luglow primary school.
“I am now able to provide for my children,” she told Radio Ergo. “I buy 12.5 kgs each of rice, sugar, and flour and spaghetti and vegetables using my salary every month. I am also able to buy water daily.”
Jihan Ahmed Diriye also got a job cleaning in Gobweyn village, which she told Radio Ergo has enabled her to provide three meals a day for her children.
“Personally, this job has helped me pay my debts and buy food for my children. Before I took the job life was full of worry. You can understand the pain when a parent can’t afford even to buy milk for their children,” said Jihan, whose husband is disabled.
She works in a team of nine women sweeping up garbage from the village, and taking it in wheelbarrows to burn in a trash hole on the village outskirts.
She has enrolled three of her four children in a free primary school in the village. It is the first regular income she has had since being displaced from Jilib in Middle Juba region three years ago.
Under the initiative, WASDA has also built 120 toilets with handwashing areas. Most are for use by IDPs in Gobweyn, Bula-gudud, Daa’if, Bula-Garas, Haji wayne and Safi, whilst 10 were built in local schools and health centres.
Abdirashid Ali Ahmed, the WASDA project coordinator, told Radio Ergo there were no toilets in the villages before, which was causing a health hazard. He said there was garbage everywhere and there had been no awareness raising around the dangers this could cause for the residents.