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Cosob’s business success puts food on the table
Photo: NRC Puntland/Ali Saleban Jama

Norwegian Refugee Council
Saturday, April 06, 2013

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After participating in a livelihood building project for displaced in Bossaso in Puntland, Cosob Eash (30) has successfully opened her own shop.

Faced with unending war, starvation and drought that ruthlessly marched through Cosob Eash’s home place Qalafe in Ethiopia in 1998, Cosob fled to a camp for internally displaced persons in in Bariga Bossaso in Puntland.

“We starved as we did not have enough food. We only managed to get some small amounts of food by working as casual labourers in farms. However, violent clashes at times between workers and insecurity uprooted us from our homes to this camp,” the mother of two explains.

Determined to support her family, Cosob did menial jobs to support them. She would wash clothes for wealthier families and collect garbage in Qalafe.

“I washed clothes and collected garbage to support my family though it was difficult to even get these menial jobs daily. On average my daily income was a dollar which though not enough to feed my family, was better than nothing. To survive, we were forced to reduce the number of meals per day and purchased less expensive food items” she says.

Cosob faced many challenges including long distance walking to garbage disposal sites, meager wages and threats of contracting diseases while at work.

In October last year Norwegian Refugee Council introduced Rapid Livelihood Building Project (RLBP) to the internally displaced and host communities in Bossaso town, to improve food security by providing small scale business grants, business trainings and nutrition awareness.

Cosob was selected to be one of the 357 food security project beneficiaries based on her vulnerability level and household size. She received trainings on food storage, nutrition, theory of business management and book keeping. She was further trained on nutrition.

After completion of her training, NRC provided her with a voucherof $300 to start a small-scale business. She has since then opened a small shop within the settlement.

“From the time I opened this shop, my life and that of my family has greatly changed due to improved incomes. Today I earn $5.5 a day. I’ve also been able to rest emotionally and physically. Now I have more time to spend with my family and provide support. Unlike the past, we can now afford enough meals per day,” Cosob says.

She expresses optimism that her business will grow bigger in the future.

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