23-04-2020 | di COOPI
Somalia. Livestock marketing transforming communities: a story of Markabo Maxamed Farax.
Markabo Maxamed Farax, aged 50, is mother of 7 children (2 males and 5 females) and she is a member of the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) in Dollow town – Gedo region, Somalia. The Association was established under the project “Enhancing resilience in Somalia”, financed by the Australia Department for Foreign Assistance and Trade and implemented by COOPI through the Somali Resilience Programme (SomReP).
Having lived a life of opulence, she was thrust into a new unenviable dual role of father and mother for her children when her husband passed away due to a short illness and the height of 2017’s drought. Thanks to a friend she got in contact with a person living on the other side of the border in Ethiopia who provided her livestock to sell in Dollow town. Thanks to this activity, she was able to get a small profit (5$ per goat).
She says: “Those were difficult times. My husband was the breadwinner in our household. When he passed away, I started by selling the livestock we had to provide food for the family. I noticed my marketing skills from this experience and, after settling my expenses, I borrowed money from a relative to purchase three goats from a source in Dolo town in Ethiopia. I was able to make a monthly income of $80-$120, which is not enough for a family of 8 living in Dollow, a major town in the region. As a result, I could not afford to educate my children or even settle debts as my focus was ensuring food”.
In 2017, the 4th phase of the SOMREP project was launched and Dollow was among the targeted locations. The idea was to set up a Livestock Marketing Association and to make it a point of livestock trade. Markabo was selected as one of the beneficiaries. She took part in trainings on livestock marketing, village saving and loans association (VSLA) methodology and Business Development Skills. Moreover, she became a member of the local VSLA group, and she was able to borrow loans from the revolving loan fund facility. As an example, she borrowed a loan of $500 to increase her livestock stocks to sell them in the market.
“COOPI helped me to improve my marketing knowledge and skills. Now I believe I am an established businesswoman. The RLF (revolving loan fund) facility opened the doors to access capital to expand my livestock. Now, I mostly deal in shoats as I can sell them faster than any other animal. Thanks to my increased skills I am now able to negotiate for better prices and make better profits” she says.
She adds: “On each animal I make between $10-$12, which is a lot better than what I was making before. In a good month I can make around $350. This has enabled me to pay back the RLF loan within the 6-month payback period. I have also been able to save $50 in the VSLA group. The monthly income has been enough to cater for our needs. I have been able to return the younger children in primary school and I expect to make enough money to enroll the older ones into a vocational training institution in the coming months, IN SHA ALLAH. I am also impressed with the number of women in our society getting into male-dominated professions such as the LMA and becoming breadwinners for their families. The future looks bright for women and gender equality in our community.”
“Thank you COOPI, SOMREP and DFAT,” she appreciates.