|© UNICEF Somalia/01-137/Taylor|
|Teacher and pupils in a classroom in Somalia. The European Commission grant will ensure that many more Somali children will be able to go to school.|
NAIROBI, 3 February 2005 – A new €4.5 million grant (over $5.8 million) from the European Commission will help ensure that 80,000 more Somali girls and boys will be able to go to school.
According to a 2003/2004 Survey of Primary Schools in Somalia, 285,574 children are enrolled in primary schools.
“UNICEF intends to use the EC grant to continue the in-service training of teachers, rehabilitate schools and equip them with adequate water and sanitation facilities,” said UNICEF Somalia Education Officer Noel Ihebuzor. “UNICEF will also use the funds to create community learning centres where less privileged Somalis will be able to access primary education.”
The grant will not only give Somali children who have not been given access to education the opportunity to go to school, but it will also give Somali girls and boys the opportunity to acquire necessary life skills. Given the low enrolment rate for Somali girls, these funds will be of especial help for them in fulfilling their right to an education.
“The more girls you get into school, the more society improves as a whole,” said Mr. Ihebuzor, who explained that UNICEF Somalia sees education “as being the lever by which society can change.”
“Somalia stands today at a critical point in our history, and unless literacy levels are increased, unless life skills are increased, the path to sustainable development in Somalia will not be fully open. We see education as constituting a major stepping stone to the realization of these needs. These funds will make a major contribution to the social development of Somalia,” added Mr. Ihebuzor.