In the village Xudur Cusub in Somalia, the residents are literally paving the way to better access to food. PHOTO: DRC

Access to food requires a proper road

In the village Xudur Cusub, Afgoye in Somalia lack of access to food very literally used to pose a significant challenge. During rainy seasons the village’s only road to the market would get flooded making it inaccessible to the people wanting to sell as well as buy crops and household items. Now, a seemingly small intervention has had a major impact for the community.
 
 

29.01.2018

Fadumo Aden Muhumed, a local community member lives with her family including four young children ages three to nine in Xudur Cusub village in Afgoye in Somalia. Their home is located close to the small local business market. However, during rainy seasons the market used to be empty as the road leading to it would get flooded forcing people to seek elsewhere to sell their food and basic commodities. The 27-year-old mother was forced to walk long distances to access alternative food markets making it hard to feed her family. But with funding from the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Food For Peace programme (FFP), the residents of Xudur Cusub - supported by the Danish Refugee Council - were able to rehabilitate the road making a major difference in the everyday lives of people like Fadumo. 
“I no longer have to worry about walking for a long distance to purchase food and other household goods, when it rains the road to the nearest market does not get flooded and the market is easily accessible,” she said. 
Faduma -Xudur -Cusub -Somalia ToFaduma Aden Muhamed, a local resident of Xudur Cusub, the new road is changing her family's access to food and improving the health of her children. PHOTO: DRC 
As Somalia is slowly recovering from a severe drought, which almost led to a famine, the DRC is actively working to strengthen communities’ resilience to potential emergency situations. The drought had severe negative impacts on people and livestock and resulted in food insecurity, loss of lives and productive assets. It also caused displacement of many people who had to relocate to different areas in search for food and other basic services for survival which put additional strain on host communities.  
Xudur Cusub hosts a large number of internally displaced persons who have fled drought and violent conflict from different areas is Somalia , putting extra strain on the local community. To support the IDPs as well as the villagers, DRC asked the community to discuss and asses their most important needs. They agreed that poor infrastructure did not only present a major challenge in terms of loss of profit for the people who were unable to access and sell their crops at the local market but also forced people to venture out on hours-long journeys to access food and other vital household items. 
As an added value the health of the community’s children has also improved. 
For Fadumo and her family, whose home is located close to the road, the floods regularly caused her children to fall ill from waterborne diseases. Now, she has noticed a significant difference in their health. 
Fadumo is very happy with rehabilitation of the road and said it had had many positive impacts for different households and the community at large by ensuring easy movement of people, animals and vehicles and improving the environment around the market. 
“The whole community is grateful for the support provided by DRC and hope DRC will continue assisting our community in other areas”, said Fadumo.
Xudur Cusub in Somalia - new road
With support from the DRC and funding from USAID, the residents of Xudur Cusub are making a new road. PHOTO: DRC
Matching interventions with community requests
In order to strengthen communities’ resilience to potential emergency situations, DRC with funding from USAID’s Food For Peace programme intervened by introducing Community Matching Grants (CMG) in Afgoye.  This approach is known to be a successful concept of working with communities affected by emergencies and those recovering from shocks. 
The approach engages the affected populations in a participatory process with a view to ensure they feel ownership of the DRC interventions and put in place sustainable mechanisms driven by the affected population. DRC invested in thorough community mobilization in Xudur Cusub village and requested the community to come up with priorities.  Access to the food market was prioritised as a key hindrance by the community due to the poor state of the local road. After deliberations, the community prioritised the rehabilitation of the access road.
DRC disbursed smaller community grants of up to USD 5.000.00 per community that were used to support the maintenance and operations of community assets and other pre-existing infrastructures. The community members selected and prioritized the interventions to be undertaken by these funds – in the case of Xudur Cusub the rehabilitation of the village’s main road.  The community raised USD 1.000.00 themselves, equivalent to approximately 20 per cent of the road rehabilitation budget, whereas DRC provided the remaining USD 5.000.00.