Somalia has come a long way since the decades-long conflict that plagued the country after 1991. A new federal government emerged in 2012, followed by peaceful elections and administrative transition in 2017. Real GDP growth has continued to rise steadily, peaking at 4 per cent in 2016.1 In 2012, 73 per cent of the population was below the age of 30 years; the median age is 16,2 making Somalia the fourth youngest country in the world. This presents an urgent need and a unique opportunity to invest in Somali children and youth to help them develop to their full potential.
The Peter Krämer Foundation is delighted to join UNICEF in its effort to enhance the chance of Somalian children to gain education. UNICEF have maintained a continuous presence across Somalia and has extensive experience engaging with national and local actors, notably with the government, on children’s development and education. Between 2002 and 2009, UNICEF, its partners and the Ministry of Education and other government authorities initiated a campaign to increase access to education with a target of enrolling 1 million children in school. The programme exceeded the initial target, and when it was completed, over 2.4 million children were enrolled in school. UNICEF is adopting innovative and sustainable methods to help children go back to school, or go to school for the first time, such as providing support to Alternative Basic Education (ABE) centres to increase the enrolment of out-of-school children. Another method is forming and strengthening the community education committees to sustain local engagement, commitment, and support to education for all children. During times of crisis when education is disrupted, UNICEF supports children to receive and continue their education, including by providing psychosocial support, distributing essential teaching and learning materials, establishing safe and protective learning spaces inclusive of wash facilities, and providing teacher training. Cash grants are also provided to the most vulnerable families to support children to go to school.
UNICEF is a leader in children’s rights and educational development in the country. Investments in Schools for Africa in Somalia can contribute to ensuring:
• 193,095 of the most vulnerable children (43 per cent girls), including those affected by emergencies such as flood and drought, have access to quality basic education learning opportunities via formal and non-formal means throughout Somalia;
• Over 19,000 children (44 per cent girls) access pastoral education programmes through 96 Alternative Basic Education Centres; the children will receive catch-up classes on missed schooling and/or attend school for the first time, and they will receive learning materials and benefit from the use of recreation kits;
• Approximately 71,000 drought-affected children are kept in schools through emergency cash grants;
• The gross enrolment rate for primary school increases by 9 per cent, and a safe learning environment is created for learners at the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels with a focus on the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children, especially girls, by 2020;
• Advocacy for an increase of domestic financing for education by 5 per cent, to provide reliable data management, credible accountability structures and quality assurance mechanisms;
• National and sub-national level capacities are enhanced to respond to emergencies, with 2.4 million children accessing education in emergency;