Abdikarim Ali, NRC BRCiS Communication and advocacy coordinator
Eylo people are a small marginalized community who live in the outskirts of Xudur town. They practice hunting and gathering. Because of their practice of hunting with dogs, they are known as Eylo i.e. ‘people who hunt with dogs’. However, Somalis look down on this hunting practice and ‘Eyle’ is considered a derogatory name rooted in culture.
At the start of the second phase of BRCiS (Building resilience Communities in Somalia) program, Action Against Hunger (member of BRCiS consortium) engaged communities in Xudur through People’s First Impact Methodology (P-FIM) approach including Eylo community. During the PFIM process, five members (2 women and 3 men) from Eylo community were invited to participate, discuss and interact with the mainstream community during community action plan development. This provided them an opportunity to identify the important transformations in their lives and what these are referenced to and reveals the wider dynamics and challenges within the life of a community especially the marginalized.
However, in the process of integrating them into community meetings, ACF BRCiS staff faced challenges and resistance from the majority of community members to accommodate them citing that they felt uncomfortable around them due to their way of life. ACF BRCiS staff however held consultative meetings with the local authority, community resilience committees (CRC) and community elders and advocated for their inclusion which saw them integrated in the larger community despite being regarded as minority. They finally got integrated and are contributing to community to certain extent.
The PFIM process gave the Eylo people a platform to have a voice and to be listened to by the fellow community members hence being part of the community initiatives which have an impact in their daily lives. With the help of CRCs, ACF managed to establish a taskforce committee for conflict resolution and reintegration of the Eylo community. For now, 5 members (2 women and 3 men). Community Resilience Committee including members of the Eylo community during PFIM process engagement session are in the Community Resilience Committee) to speak for Eylo communities for the issues that matter to their lives.
Due to this, they spend most of their time moving from one area to another. “With the help of the local authority and staff at Action Against Hunger, we are slowly reintegrating into the community”, says Hussein Mohamed a member of the Eylo community. Currently, the Eylo community have resettled in Fajer-feylohow and will be taking part the resilience projects under BRCiS. Thanks to the continuous support and generous funds from UK government (FCDO office).
Currently, 126 households from the Eylo community benefit from BRCiS ACF health and nutrition, water and sanitation, food security and livelihood activities in Hudur district. Out of the 126, 84 households benefitted from two cycles of unconditional cash transfer earlier in this year. The 126 households under BRCiS also continue to receive routine health and nutrition services from BRCiS supported health centres. P-FIM methodology has been the key driving force to capture the voice of the marginalized and integrating the Eylo’s into the wider community was an integral step for BRCiS ACF team. It has provided a starting point for the Eylo community voices to be counted in their community just like other mainstream communities and additionally provided them with an opportunity to be aware of the upcoming durable development activities carried out under BRCiS ACF in the future.
This has been successful as a result of the collaboration between ACF, local authority and community resilience building committee and it is worth noting that whenever the existing community structures are strengthened, there will be an opportunity and a platform to reach wider beneficiaries who are marginalized and promote inclusivity into resilience programs.
BRCiS (Building Resilience Building in Somalia) is a humanitarian consortium funded by UK government led by NRC that takes a bottom-up approach to supporting Somali communities in developing their capacity to resist and absorb minor shocks without undermining their ability to move out of poverty. Its primary mandate is to help marginalized and vulnerable communities in building their own resilience. Among resilience building approaches used include P-FIM (People First Impact Method) used to give voice to the most vulnerable and marginalized community members during community action plan development.