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Faces of the Drought | Horn of Africa

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 14:05

Severe drought in the Horn of Africa has more than 12 million people in communities across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The drought is severely and disproportionately impacting women and their rights.

Hinda, Somaliland

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We all live in this small space. It's very hard because there are too many people. There are no men here... only women and children.

Hinda, a 35-year-old mother of three in Somaliland, has been caring for her children alone since her husband left her in search of water and pasture to keep their livestock alive. Women like Hinda are bearing the brunt of the impacts of the drought - facing a triple burden: to survive depsite the lack access to food and water, to care for their families and to evade sexual violence in the process.

Uba, Somaliland

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My name is Uba. I'm 14 years old and I'm now the acting mother and father to my three younger brothers and sisters. It's not easy... But I do my best. I cook for my family. I cook every day... I feel very tired and exhausted.

Uba lives in a displacement camp in Somaliland, 40km south of the Ethiopian border. Her parents left her several months ago to look for food and water to care for their family's goats - their only source of income.

Farhan, Somaliland

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Drought impacts girls more than boys. When a family moves with their livestock – a girl usually drops out of school because she has to stay at home and take care of the family. She has no time to study.

Farhan Ismael is the headteacher of a school in remote Somaliland near the Ethiopian border. 

As many men leave their homes with their livestock in search of pasture and water, the burden of caring for the most vulnerable and for domestic chores has fallen on women and girls. Many girls in Somaliland have dropped out of schools like Farhan's to support their mothers with domestic work and to search for water.

Hellen, Kenya

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I want my daughter to be in school, she’s very clever. I worry about how I will pay her fees [if the drought continues].

Like many mothers in rural communities, Hellen, a young mother living in Oldonyiro, Kenya, is concerned about her daughter's future. 

Consolata, Kenya

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We [the women] have to compete with the elephants to try to get water.

Consolata is one of many women in Oldonyiro, Kenya, taking on extra responsibilities to ensure that their families survive the drought. She often travels up to two hours in search of water. The long distances women and girls are walking to collect water exposes them to increased risk of sexual violence.

ActionAid has supported over 128,600 people to date across Kenya, Somaliland and Ethiopia, with emergency water, food and critical items like women's dignity kits and blankets. Help us to reach more by donating today.