Hassan Mohamed Dhabar, 27, was glad to join the team of workers hired to build a new road in Baidoa, southern Somalia, after staying unemployed in one of the IDP camps for several months:
“I didn’t have a stable job to provide a living for my family, so we just lived off handouts from people. Now in a day I earn between 300,000 to 400,000 shillings ($13-18). It’s more than what we need to spend every day so I will make savings for the family,” Hassan said.
He is one of 437 people hired on a six-month road building project implemented by the South-West state government, funded by Nordic International Support Foundation.
Those employed include young men and women from poor families, IDPs, returned refugees, and members of local labour associations. Hassan has been trained on various skills and techniques involved in road construction that he hopes will help him get other jobs in future.
He was displaced from Deynunay in Bay region after Al-Shabaab banned the making and selling of charcoal that was his livelihood.
He decided to migrate with his family of five children to camps in Baidoa to find food and other support. Saynab Mohamed Adan is one of around 200 women working on the project.
She collects gravel after the men have broken down rocks. She said it is physically demanding and she has never done such work before, but it is better than staying at the camp with nothing to do.
She manages to save $15 of the $20 she earns a day.
When the project ends she hopes to open a small grocery stall with her savings. Saynab and her husband and two children were displaced from Qansax-dheere in 2017 after their herd of 45 goats died in the drought.
They now live in Hanaano IDP camp in Baidoa. As they depended on livestock, Saynab is the first member of the family to get work in the city.
The director of the South-West ministry of public works, reconstruction and housing, Mohamed Sufi Adan, told Radio Ergo that this $700,000 road project has dual benefits for the people in Baidoa, by providing employment and improving roads and access in the city.
He said he hoped this model of providing jobs to ease the unemployment problem would be used for further infrastructural development projects in the city.