Sahra Mohamed has been selling milk in central Somalia’s Adado district for 13 years to earn a living for her family. Receiving a solar-powered fridge this month changed her business prospects and the outlook for her eight children, as she no longer has to throw away the milk she cannot in one day.

“What we cannot sell today, we put in the fridge and bring out afresh the next morning, whereas before the milk would develop a salty taste by the next day and no one would buy such milk,” she said.

Sahra was one of 42 women milk sellers in Adado and Dhusamareb districts of Galmudug state, who were given fridges to boost their businesses by local NGO, Centre for Peace and Democracy (CPD).

Sahra buys the fresh milk from the pastoralists and sells it with a small profit margin. She had been incurring losses of up to $10 a day when she was not able to sell all the milk she had bought wholesale and simply had to throw it away.

Sawir/Sahro oo ka mid ah haweenka/Jibriil Cismaan/Ergo

Aside from the day-to-day needs of her family, she is also paying $120 a month for her children’s education. Her relatives sometimes chip in when she is not able to pay for everything, but she is confident that with the fridge her own income will be sufficient to cater for all her needs.

Daud Bahsar Mohamed, project manager at CPD, told Radio Ergo that the aim of investing in this way was to enhance the livelihoods of women milk sellers whilst reducing the amount of milk that goes to waste.

“Each of the solar fridges can store up to 390 litres of milk and the women who have received them are now able to store more milk than they would normally sell,” he said.

The women were selected in the two targeted districts based on how long they had been in the business and their potential to thrive.

Suado Miro Nur, a mother of nine and resident of Dhusamareb, told Radio Ergo that she was on the verge of quitting the business due to her constant losses, but receiving a fridge had restored her hope of making good money from the business.

“I used to collect cotton sacks and stich them around the jerrycans in which I store the milk, then dip them in water in an effort to keep the milk cold and fresh, but still the milk would go bad,” she said.

The fridge keeps the milk fresh and hygienic without such efforts.

“I’m very grateful to the NGO for their support,” she said.

This article was first carried by Radio Ergo.