“Radio Ergo helped to raise our voices”

Maano Ma’alin Isaq

Maano Ma’alin Isaq fled from conflict in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle agricultural region. She owned a four-hectare farm where she grew beans, vegetables and sorghum. She now lives in Galbeer IDP camp in Mogadishu’s Daynile district.

Radio Ergo: What caused you to flee your home?

Maano: I was displaced by conflict. We used to run to the forest every day because of the gunfire. It was frightening for the children. We decided to leave when our house was burnt down.

Radio Ergo: Tell us more about how lack of peace affected you?

Maano: Lack of peace has affected us hugely, whether it is access to water or being prevented from cultivating our farms. We couldn’t even go to the farms as there was conflict everywhere. We came here thinking we would get aid, but no one came to help us despite being here for nine months now.

Radio Ergo: Is it just the conflict that displaced you from your home?

Maano: I fled the conflict. If there was peace none of us would be here. We would live with whatever sustenance we receive from God. My biggest difficulty was fleeing into the forest under the scorching sun that was so hot the children couldn’t even walk.  If there was peace, I would have stayed back in my village. I fled with a woman who had just given birth by c-section. She struggled to walk. 

Radio Ergo: What caused the conflict that displaced you?

Maano:  The conflict broke out between two parties. We were told it is between the government and others. We couldn’t stand the war and the torching of houses. I have three grandchildren from my late son. I used to support them from the farm, although now we have nothing.

Radio Ergo: Could you tell us what you used to get from the farm?

Maano: When we had peace, I used to harvest at least 20 bags of maize. But now since the conflict started, we have nothing. 

Radio Ergo: Was your house among those affected by the conflict?

Maano: Yes, my house was affected. The structure has fallen down and there is no one to rebuild it, as we have all fled. Those who were left behind are now using the wood from our house as firewood.

Radio Ergo: Were any of your relatives injured or killed in the conflict?

Maano: Yes, we lost my sister’s two sons who were killed by stray bullets while walking. 

Radio Ergo: How is life here now?

Maano: We have peace, which is all that matters to us at the moment. However, we don’t have food to eat.

Radio Ergo: What is the difference between the life you are living now and how you lived before the conflict displaced you?

Maano: There is a huge difference. Before the conflict displaced us, we were farmers who depended on our farm produce. We never had a problem with hunger. But now, we are IDPs without any food to cook. It all comes from God, but still we are requesting aid.

Awil Ali Warsame

Awil Ali Warsame was once a pastoralist herding his animal, but after losing everything to drought he now lives in 18 May IDP camp in Togdher, northern Somalia:

Awil: I was displaced by the 2016 drought from Balli-weyn in the rural areas of Burao district. I had 270 goats and 27 camels. I used to listen to Radio Ergo on my small radio when I was in the rural part of the country. Back then programmes on the radio didn’t relate much to my own life. I just used to listen anyway.

Radio Ergo: What do you think of it now?

Awil: I feel that listening to Ergo is a must for everyone daily. When I came here as an IDP, Ergo felt like our close ally. It shared our sufferings that we articulated with the rest of the world including the humanitarian agencies, local business people and anyone else that could help us out of our situation. We are of the opinion that Ergo played a major share in fighting for the assistance we got: the cards we were given, the wells that were dug, the houses we were built and the toilets all came from the effort of Radio Ergo in raising our voices.

Radio Ergo: What made you think that Ergo played a role in assisting you?

Awil: I used to listen to Radio Ergo while in south, central and even Somaliland. As such, I think Radio Ergo played a role in delivering our voice to WFP, World Vision and other small local NGOs. I have a huge respect for Radio Ergo.

Radio Ergo: How frequently do you listen to Radio Ergo?

Awil: I listen to it regularly. Whenever I turn on my radio, it is to listen to Ergo. The thing that sets Ergo apart from other stations is that it doesn’t broadcast politics or other evil things. It is known for just focusing on social and aid issues. It shares the voices of the needy people, wherever they might be in Somalia and that is one thing I like and enjoy about it.

Radio Ergo: Which programmes do you enjoy listening to?

Awil: Every programme aired by Radio Ergo in one way or another touches on our lives and we are amazed by how they know our problems so well. I frequently listen to the radio doctor which I particularly enjoy. There is a need for such a programme in this place where I live currently. Evidently, Radio Ergo has done a lot for us and we appreciate their effort. We ask Allah to bless it.

Adan Abdi Hussein

Adan Abdi Hussein is a father of eight children who was displaced from Dafeed village in Lower Shabelle region by conflict in June 2022. He fled when their houses were burnt. Two of his children died on the road and he believes they died of hunger. He now lives in Galbeer IDP camp in Mogadishu’s Daynile district.

Radio Ergo: How did lack of peace affect your life?

Adan: It has had a huge impact on us. I  have neither livestock nor a farm to cultivate here at the moment. When we had peace, I used to cultivate my farm but now we have nothing to feed the children.

Radio Ergo: How was life before the conflict?

Adan: Before the conflict I had livestock and I was well off in life. I was able to pay the family bills. During dry seasons, I used to hold out as I had an alternative source of income in the livestock.

Radio Ergo: Tell us more about your house that was burnt in the conflict?

Adan: The house was a Somali traditional house made of mud walls and grass on the roof. It was burnt by two warring clans. I lived in that house for 10 years.

Radio Ergo: Is your village now safe for you to return?

Adan: No, the conflict is still going on and I can’t go back. I am forced to stay here as an IDP. If Allah gives me something, then all praise is due to him and if I don’t get anything, I will feed my children water.

Radio Ergo: Would you say you are here in this IDP camp because of conflict?

Adan: Yes, I am here because of the conflict, displacement is what I inherited from lack of peace. I have been here for nine months and no one came to assist us. We don’t have water or toilets.

Radio Ergo: What did you use to grow on your farm?

Adan: I used to grow sorghum and it was sufficient for the family. During rainy seasons, we used to save some of the sorghum in an underground store.. Life was good back then.

Radio Ergo: How did you flee from the conflict?

Adan: We fled at night, we walked with our children and that is how we reached Mogadishu. We decided to flee when our house was burnt as the attackers wouldn’t have spared our lives.

Radio Ergo: Were you personally part of the conflict?

Adan: No, I wasn’t part of it. But, I was affected by it.

Radio Ergo: How would you compare when you were living peacefully in your village and now that you have been displaced by conflict?

Adan: When we had peace, it was better, because when there is conflict you can’t even sleep well at night. You are worrying about your children’s safety. But when there is peace you sleep peacefully.

Radio Ergo: What happened to your neighbours?

Adan: My neighbours were also displaced. They had to flee their homes. Some of them fled to Afgoye, others are here in Mogadishu. No one knows exactly where the other is, the conflict has torn us apart despite living together for such a long time as neighbours.