Berked Restoration in Somaliland

Hussien Abdi Maygaag lives in Lebisagaala, a village on the border to Ethiopia. Hussien recalls how fertile and rich in forests and water resources the country was 50 years ago. The community had many camel and goat herds and was on an important trade route between Ethiopia and Somalia. Since the Civil War this route is hardly used any more. Hussien points to an area not far from the village, where landmines were recently cleared. Many Berkeds (traditional Somali cisterns) were destroyed at that time and the barren land is now characterized by recurring droughts. Many people have lost their animal herds due to the drought, and their search for pastures and water increasingly leads them far beyond the border to Ethiopia. Hussien was there when he heard about World Relief's project to restore the Berkeds.

World Relief Germany – The World Neighbors - work closely with local communities. Community partners took the responsibility for clearing mud deposits, cutting the broken and leaking concrete cladding, setting up traditional fences to protect the surrounding area from animals and other contamination, and supplying locally available materials such as leaves to cover the Berkeds, as well as sand and gravel for construction. World Relief also supports the municipality by commissioning a specialist who is lining the Berkeds with a waterproof 15cm concrete layer so that the rainwater cannot seep away.

Hussien took advantage of this opportunity. He returned quickly, and together with his family and other village members, showed great commitment to prepare for the reconstruction of his Berked which was damaged 22 years ago. Hussien is very grateful for this partnership and hopes that many of his family members will be able to return as soon as his Berked serves as a source of water again.

1) Hussien’s Berked before the repair, filled with mud, brackish water and even bushes

2) Hussien talking to a World Relief employee

3) Removing of the concrete layer and the debris

4) The family and village community work together to prepare the Berked

5) Hussien helps to remove stones from the Berked

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