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Women's Empowerment

Meet Halima, one of the many powerful and resilient women on the frontline of the climate crisis in Somalia

Women - as farmers, fishmongers, mothers, and providers - are bearing the brunt of the world’s climate crisis. UN figures show that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women.

Halima showing us beans from her kitchen garden in Somalia Photo Credit: Trócaire Halima showing us beans from her kitchen garden in Somalia Photo Credit: Trócaire

Halima (48), a mother of nine, lives in Jazira Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Luuqin southwestern Somalia. She has become a nomad in her own country after drought killed her livestock forcing her family to move 40km from their home in Yurkud village in search of food, shelter and work.

Climate change has made life harder for women in Somalia and climate projections suggest worse is to come. Mean annual temperatures are forecast to increase by around three degrees across the country by the end of the century.

“When we moved to the camp my family had no income and we were struggling to meet basic needs. We could not afford three meals a day and most of my children were malnourished.”

Internal migration in Somalia is primarily linked to extreme weather-related climate change events, conflict, and violence. Approximately 593,000 have been displaced in Somalia this year alone.

Halima was selected to take part in a new resilience food production project, implemented by Trócaire in partnership with the Centre for Research and Integrated Development (CERID).

Through this pilot programme, Halima is now being supported and empowered to reduce the devastating impacts of climate change and to create more sustainable ways of living through farming.

Halima has been given access to farmland, training on agroecological food production techniques and alternative income options. She has also joined a community savings group.

“In the first year of the project, I planted tomatoes, squash, green pepper, cowpeas, sorghum and maize. I learned about good agricultural practice and was given a plot of land to plant on. For the first two seasons, I made $310, (€263), which I used primarily for family basic needs, and to purchase two goats. Legumes and cereals were harvested and sold as fodder to generate income.”

“Currently, I have 15 goats all acquired through the support of CERID and Trócaire. I bought six with money from selling crops from my farm. Since then, they have given birth to another six.”

Halima’s daughter, Qali Hassan (17), is also helping lift the family from poverty after graduating from a course at the Agricultural Training Centre which trains teenagers on agri-business and entrepreneurship. The programme is also implemented by Trócaire in partnership with CERID.

Qali and her mother have now started a kitchen garden where they grow vegetables to feed the family. This is a win-win as it helps provide much needed income, and food.

“I harvest lettuce and other vegetables every morning and prepare breakfast for my children. I also give some of the daily harvest to my neighbours,” Halima adds.

Halima’s daughter is applying her newfound skills to improving the irrigation system, soil fertility and pest control.

Thanks to the transformation in their lives Halima has also been able to send her bed-ridden mother for surgery for her failing eyesight.

“My mother is now independent again. Now she can go anywhere she wishes without anybody’s guidance,” Halima says.

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