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Seeds of change: Zainab builds her business

In recent years in the arid lands of Dur Dur Ad Catchment, the harsh effects of climate change have taken a toll on local businesses. Zainab Harbi, recalls the struggles caused by erratic rainfall patterns. 

"I used to sell local farm produce for years, but climate-related issues forced us to source goods from neighbouring Ethiopia," she laments. 

Zainab, who is a dedicated entrepreneur from Dilla saw her wealth slipping away due to dwindling agricultural production affected by unreliable rains, made worse by land degradation caused by flash floods.  

But the situation began to turn around under SDF’s Sustainable Land Management Project. Using a GESI (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion) approach, women were given the means to revitalize their livelihoods for themselves. 

Zainab, leading the "Al-amin" group decided to invest in the grains business. Using seed money from the Project, the group purchased grains like sorghum, chickpeas, maize, barley, and wheat, which they sold on from their store. 

"We then reinvested our earnings to restock and sell once more. The repeated success means we can plan to expand our business further," Zainab states proudly.


A key to building up a business was the training that Zainab and twenty other women's groups in the area received in financial management and marketing strategies.

The impact of this initiative has been transformative for these women entrepreneurs. Amina Aden, another member of the group, used her profits to venture into cattle farming and restock her kiosk with new products. 

"The support we received from the Project not only boosted our businesses but also allowed us to contribute to the local economy through taxes," Amina says with a smile.

Through the Project’s resilience-building activities and with access to capital, these women have defied the odds and emerged as successful business owners in Dur Dur Ad Catchment. Their stories serve as a testament to empowerment and community support in catalysing change. 

As Zainab puts it, "SDF came at a time when we needed it the most, and now we are thriving because of it."

The initial funds provided to these women's groups will serve as a revolving fund, from which all other members of the women's groups are expected to benefit in the future.