Somaliland: A story of drought, loan and women empowerment.

“My life was in a desperate situation before the loan program was introduced.”

Nimco Ali Mohamed lives in Bandar Aman, a small village located in Somaliland. The region is prone to recurrent droughts which have dramatic effects on people’s lives and livelihoods. The scarcity of resource often creates conflicts.

“Life was particularly difficult during droughts, when animals die in large numbers and food becomes scarce. We used to eat only one meal for the whole day.”

Working with a local partner, Oxfam put in place Village Savings and Loan Associations: groups of villagers like Nimco received loans that they collectively manage. Nimco, along with 6 other members received $300.

“When I received the money, I immediately purchased 10 sheep at $30 each. After some time, the sheeps were ready to be sold at a higher price and I sold each at $60. I was able to repay the loan so that other members in the group can also benefit. At the end of every month, I used to pay back $20 until I cleared it”.

“Without this money, we would not have survived because we would have had to sell the few livestock left making our livelihood situation more desperate.”

This loan program did more than helping Nimco’s family through the hardship of drought.

“I am feeling more empowered, more confident to take decisions on how the money will be used in my household.”

Photo: Amal Nagib / Oxfam