Youth Engagement In Economic Activities- A Boost To Stabilization In Middle Shabelle Region

 

Research and development site in Middle Shabelle

Middle Shabelle is named after the Shabelle River which passes 150 kilometers through the region. It borders Galgaduud to the North, Hiraan to the West, Lower Shabelle and Banadir region to the South and the Indian Ocean to the East. Agriculture is the region’s main source of livelihood and income but the sector is constrained by insecurity, insufficient infrastructure, and poor management of natural resources. Prolonged conflict and instability in the region has resulted in the absence of basic economic opportunities and a lack of social services. As a result, there is high unemployment amongst the youth who remain vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion.

In an effort to bring about stabilization in the region, the Stability Fund partnered with Center for Education and Development (CED), a Somali organization to implement a Community and Youth Based Economic Recovery and Stabilization (CYBERS) project. The project targeted 7 villages in Jowhar and 6 villages in Balcad district. The program supported over 1,000 youths to access tractors, improve their skills in agriculture and farming, and boost their incomes by rehabilitating community assets to improve agricultural productivity and market access.

Asli at her farm ready to take her produce to the Market.jpg

Asli at her farm ready to take her produce to the Market 

Asli Ahmed Omar, is a 19 years old Somali farmer at Moyko village, Jowhar district. She is one of the farmers who completed the training.  After the land preparation, Asli cultivated her one hector farm and later harvested her maize crop. In an interview during her harvest, she discussed the impact of the project, ”having the land was not enough for me to earn income, with access to seeds, farming tools and training, I am happy to have a good yield”. Asli now sells her harvest at a nearby market. “I’m now a self-employed farmer, I will save some of the money in preparation for the next harvesting period”.
 

CED also partnered with Somali Green Initiatives & Technology (SOMGIT) a private company, to facilitate technical training for Asli and other young Somali farmers in Middle Shabelle to increase agricultural productivity and farmer incomes.  An innovative lease-to-own drip irrigation scheme enables SOMGIT to provide drip irrigation kits to farmers through a sharia compliant loan which will be repaid from crop harvest revenues. SOMGIT will also hand over three tractors to each of the three Agricultural Cooperatives in Middle Shabelle. The tractors are instrumental in preparing the land for planting.

 SOMGIT will train an additional ten cooperative members from different locations on tractor management and maintenance, agricultural best practices and borehole management, with the aim of transferring technology to local farmers. In an effort to provide support to development of new enterprises through skills development and grants for business, CED carried out training of youth in agro-processing, focusing on the major fruits, vegetables and cereals produced.

In a continued effort to enhance stability in the region, the Stability Fund is now supporting the ongoing state formation process in Jowhar launched on 13th January 2016.