UgbadYoung Ugbad Abdi Dirie in her village

By Abdikadir Askar

Whenever one visits the Daroor District on the border of Ethiopia and Somaliland, you cannot help but admire the zeal and determination portrayed by the youth of Wabaado village.

During our visit, we met Ugbad Abdi Dirie, a twenty one year old phenomenal girl who has been brought up in a pastoralist family that keeps camels and sheep.  This young spirit is such an inspiration to her people and has always demonstrated leadership in her village to the extent she ended up being selected to represent them during a training on animal health. “I have always felt capable and comfortable to represent my people and they always look up to me as their daughter and sister that can speak on their behalf,” says Ugbad.

Khadar Mohamed Farah is a father aged thirty seven years living with his family in the same village. He has thirty seven camels and about a hundred sheep.  He describes the animal health situation in Wabaado as adverse before any interventions.  “I used to soak my livestock in a cattle dip to treat my animals from common traditional diseases but every time this was done, a great deal of harm was inflicted on my livestock.   The treated water would remain stagnant in the dip for so many days and if other animals go through it and they are sickh your livestock would also get infected by new diseases.”

The intervention – fighting animal diseases

Woman tendersAhmed Dhaqane, the Ogaden Welfare and Development Association (OWDA), Livelihood Officer gives more details about the animal health training and says, “It was conducted at Daroor district for a week and attracted about fifteen interested pastoralists who came from Abokor, Rabaso, Wabaado cado, Goosayga and Burcoduuray villages.”

“The aim of the refresher exercise was to build the capacity of the Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) and explain more about animal diseases as well as the symptoms.  Also, we undertook vaccination campaigns during disease outbreaks and at the end of the training, each CAHWs were awarded with certificates of participation and given animal health tool kits.”

Million Ali, the Livelihood Technical Team Leader based in Jigjiga, says, “OWDA was training CAHWs in this area, and Ugbad was one of the participants. The primary objective of the exercise was to reach the communities that primarily depend on livestock to tackle animal health issues.”

“The refresher training was successful and the CAHWs have already started giving services to the community. Even though people here in Waabaado village are pastoralists, the CAHWs provide counselling services to the community on how to treat livestock and protect their animals from diseases.”

Ugbad showing her certificateWith the new skills and knowledge acquired from the training, Ugbad has tirelessly helped her society to transform the animal health situation in her village.  “The livestock that used to die easily in our village are no doing so. I provide animal health services including first aid and free vaccinations.  This has greatly reduced disease outbreaks. My health services to my people are free of charge and I voluntarily work with them to save animals from diseases of all kinds.”

Ugbad believes that knowledge is something we all need. She has learned a lot and would like to double her efforts.  In future, she looks forward to participating in more trainings and is appealing to Oxfam together with OWDA to keep calling them for more of the trainings concerning animal health.

“I urge my community to work closely with me on animal health and inform me about any cases of disease outbreaks.”

Khadan Mohamed, a mother of three in Waabaado, talks about Ugbad, saying She is our leader in animal health.  I have got a number of livestock which always need her generous services. I am particularly thankful to Ugbad who always takes care of my animals.”

Khadan sees a great change in the animal’s health as a result of Ugbad’s efforts and her voluntary services in Wabaado: “Above all, I am especially encouraged about today’s situation regarding the health of my dozen camels and one hundred and fifty sheep