Monthly Archives: December 2017

Refugee benefit from farming of traditional vegetables

The young man is ecstatic after a bumper harvest of vegetables and believes there are prospects for a better one.  It is proof that refugees can successfully farm, and as a result, better their lives.

Paul Kiza is among of 300 farmers being trained on drip irrigation in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana County. The farmers are engaged in farming of more than ten types of vegetables.

The 25-year-old man is a member of Umoja ni Nguvu, Utengano ni Udhaifu group that has planted traditional vegetables such as terere (amaranth) and eggplant. The group has 27 members.

Kiza, 25, says in May they sold vegetables and made Ksh40, 000 (about US$404) profit. These include amaranth, cow peas and cassava leaves and okra. He comes from North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and has lived in Kakuma Refugee Camp for eight years.

The father of two says there is a ready market for vegetables, adding that irrigation will ensure they have sufficient water. “In the past our crops would dry due to inadequate rainfall, but we cannot plant all year-round.”

Peter Cheptumo, a project officer with AAH Kenya, says the new technology is aimed at improving production for the farmers. The setup has a solar pump that is used to propel water from a shallow well; then it flows through gravity to the farms that are owned by groups.

“We are supporting the refugees to farm in groups in order to benefit from economies of scale. It is about transforming their farming into an agri-business enterprise,” Cheptumo says.

He adds that the project is working with 17 groups that have a total of 300 farmers. The farming enterprise is part of Kakuma Refugee Assistance Programme (KRAP). The initiative, undertaken by AAH Kenya and funded by UNHCR, aims to enhance self-reliance and sustainable livelihoods of 4,080 refugees in Kakuma Camp, Turkana County.

This is through the development of such models that will address resilience, safety net and consumption; skills enhancement, employment opportunities and enterprise development.

Ethiopian refugees self-reliance

Dita Mama Madera is an Ethiopian refugee from Bale. He came to Hargeisa, Somaliland in 2004. Madera has a wife and two children; a girl aged five and a son aged 21. He has been keen on starting a business in the local community and being self-reliant, but was cautious that this would deny him the opportunity to access privileges from UNHCR.

But that changed at the end of last year when Madera participated in a three-day business skills training, with a six-week follow-up on developing business plans offered by AAH Somalia through the support of UNHCR. Through the training, he acquired skills in business start-up and ways of raising capital.

Although Madera is yet to start his business, he has secured a job to take care of his family and accumulate saving to start his business. He gets between USD 5 to 8 daily.  “Three dollars (US) goes to feeding the family and I save two dollars (US),” he says.

Madera is proud of his effort and the future can only get brighter. “I am not receiving any subsistence from UNHCR and has been doing manual jobs in town to feed my family,” he says. He says his family will not be dependent on handouts. “I have lost a lot of time waiting for food.  I have to make a decision on the direction my life will take.”

Madera is confident that he is ready to own a business thanks to his newly acquired skills.  “I have learnt a lot on savings and keeping good records,” say Madera, 50.

Woman supporting ten siblings

Nasra Mustafa Hussein, 25, is an Ethiopian Refugee living in Hero-awr, Hargeisa in Somaliland. She came from Gondar Ambagorgi region of Ethiopia in 2007 with her family. Nasra’s mother who was the sole bread winner is bedridden and partially paralysed due to sickness while her father is blind.

As the first-born of the family, she took over the responsibility of fending for her parents and 10 siblings. Nasra who attended three-day training on business development and self-reliance of the refugee community offered by AAH Somalia.

Nasra, being among the refugees recognised by UNHCR, benefited from the subsistence allowances and other essential services given by the organisation. She was introduced to AAH Somalia by a protection officer based at UNHCR.

“Everyone needs a decent life and independence. I cannot continue relying on hand outs throughout my life,” she says.

She is glad to have attended the training. She is a beautician; there is a good market for her to capitalise on in Hargeisa. “This training has offered me the opportunity to unlock my understanding of self-reliance and targeted investment which will give returns on capital invested,” she says.

Nasra says the skills she has been equipped with will enable her to invest wisely and improve in book-keeping. “I will save some money that will enable me have a sense of dignity and at least feel that I can also be a proud owner of a business just like my peers.”

Currently, she works part-time at a friend’s salon and makes about of USD 225 monthly.

Woman improves her business after training

Mali Mohamed, 24, is a refugee from Eritrea and has been living in Hargeisa. She is a single mother of one and lives in Adna Hospital area. She has been running her own business since 2012 after receiving seed capital of USD 900 from UNHCR.

Mali operates a hair dressing shop and has been paying her bills from the proceeds of the business. She is able to cater her house rent, food and other expenses, including the rent of the premise where she operates her business. AAH Somalia has trained her on business management and business plan development.

The three-day training offered by AAH Somalia in Hargeisa in 2014 helped her understand book-keeping.  “Before the training, I used to business disorderly without calculating my profits and expenses which  sometimes made me run into losses,” she says. She adds: “Now I can do that with a lot of ease. I can easily manage my business through calculation of the profits, rate of restocking, saving and even diversify my business once it grows.”

Mali says what she learnt has increased her zeal to expand the business.

“Currently after deducting all the expenses, I remain with USD 100 and this is not enough for me to expand my business and take care of my child. I believe with support of some capital, I will enhance my business,” she says.

Teacher seeking independence

Rihana Abdullahi Yussuf, 21, is an Ethiopian refugee living in Masala in the neighborhood of Hargeisa, Somaliland. The mother of one came from Harar in 2006 with her family. “My brother and I teach at the refugee school. We earn USD 380, while our family gets USD 80 as subsistence allowance. We use the money to pay bills and sustain ourselves.”

Rihana is among the refugee committee members who were elected in 2014 to represent the voice of their own. She has  undergone training that were offered to refugees by AAH Somalia.

“I need a decent, dignified life and independence. Since we (refugees) came here we were depending on handouts except for the time I was teaching. The money that I earn as a teacher give me some independence. I also benefited from the training on business development,” she says, adding, “I could not believe the ease with which I was able to identify what I really wanted and how I wanted this to be.”

Rihana says once she secures some capital, she will be able to carry out her business professionally, and make it grow. “The savings will help me in planning for the future of my children. “I look forward to a day when I will be self-reliant and no longer depend on people.”