Kevin Mackey, Chief of Party SomReP, visited the DANIDA- supported Market Stalls in Kabassa IDP in Dollow, Somalia to meet with Village Savings and Loan Associations members to listen how access to capital is empowering them to build their businesses. Ido Salat Hussein recounted how she arrived in Dollow at the height of the 2010/2011 famine with her eight children. A veteran entrepreneur, she quickly established herself as a banana seller, laying out her shawl daily and selling to people passing back-and-forth between Dollow town and Kabassa IDP settlement. At night, Ido and other vendors, gathered their goods and trekked back to their modest makeshift shelters in informal settlements surrounding the town.
In 2014, with support from DANIDA, DRC improved the urban resilience for displacement-affected people through the construction of the market stalls, providing vendors like Ido a safe place to sell and store their goods. Mrs. Hussein shows off her wares, detailing how she has expanded her product range which now includes bulk grains, personal items and much, much more.
Mrs. Hussein recounts how the SomReP-developed Village Savings and Loan platform which was introduced in 2016 has provided her a means to further diversify the business. Through the revolving loan fund, Ido is piloting ghee sales. Ghee is selling well and she is hopeful to pay off her debt soon. Recalling where she has come from since 2010, Mrs. Hussein remarks on her personal transformation, noting how she is the “father of her family now”, putting food in cooking pot and paying the children’s school fees.
Building resilience for displacement-affected households like Ido’s takes multiple investments and time: constructing assets where businesses can take root, facilitating the development of community-led savings and loan facilities to grow those businesses, and training entrepreneurs to successfully manage their affairs- takes reliable long-term funding. In the next phase, SomReP and partners will build upon these successes, linking VSLA to formal banking mechanisms, providing evermore sustainable financing to determined business women like Ido