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USAID support enhances Borena pastoralists’ resilience and livelihoods

Newly rehabilitated micro dam enables more than 15,000 pastoral households to cope with droughts better by making water available for humans and livestock throughout the year

Haro Bake, Borena Zone, Ethiopia, November 3, 2015 – The community in Haro Bake today celebrated the opening of a rehabilitated micro dam that will increase its reservoir capacity by 502,800 cubic meters. The micro dam, rehabilitated with the support of the United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will enhance the community’s resilience and improve the nutritional status of families by saving the lives of thousands of livestock and increasing the amount of milk and meat obtained from them. The additional water harvested from the micro dam will enhance the ability of more than 15,000 households in the Borena rangelands and surrounding area to cope with failed rains and drought. The dam will also improve peace and security in the area by reducing conflict over dwindling water resources.

The micro dam has served pastoralists and agro-pastoralists for about 43 years. But over time, the amount of water harvested diminished, putting the lives of tens of thousands of livestock at risk. The shortage of water resulted in loss of livestock and conflict over access to water. The USAID-funded project expanded the reservoir area, built a new spillway and upgraded another spillway. SOS Sahel Ethiopia implemented the rehabilitation project with technical support from CARE Ethiopia and Mercy Corps.

According to one Dulacha council leader, “The rehabilitation of the micro dam achieved three import gifts to the community: The water point, the Bake livestock market and the Bake town. The latter two are gifts of the dam.”

Under Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global food security and hunger initiative, USAID, through its Pastoralists Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion activity, works to transform the drylands in the Afar, Oromia and Somali regions, and the lives of people through improved natural resources management, better nutrition, more jobs, and increased income for milk and meat producers. The activity empowers communities to collectively design and engage in targeted natural resources enhancement initiatives and establish effective systems to manage pastures and water points.

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