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Somalia, 13 October 2016: Bringing basic education to those who’ve never had a school

© UNICEF Somalia/2016/Hashi
Enthusiastic pupils from Somalia’s Bantu minority enjoying their first time at school in a temporary classroom provided by UNICEF. With the generous support of Educate A Child, UNICEF Somalia has enrolled more than 40,000 out of school children in education.

GAAFAAY, Jowhar District, Somalia, 13 October 2016 – The remote village of Gaafaay, in southern Somalia’s Middle Shabelle Region, is home to nearly 300 families from the Bantu minority, one of the most marginalized groups in the country. Until recently, none of the children in this riverine settlement had ever been in a classroom as there was no school in the area.

The Bantu families in the Jowhar region generally cultivate crops such as maize and beans. Other local communities are involved in livestock herding and husbandry, and there are often fights over land use. In 2013, violence between the Gaafay Bantu community and their neighbours broke out and some of the Bantu communities, whose villages were destroyed, fled to the safety of Jowhar airport controlled by peacekeepers from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).

After negotiations with clan elders, the Bantu returned to start rebuilding their village. With the support of the Educate-A-Child (EAC) programme, UNICEF helped the community in Gaafaay built a school. UNICEF worked with local authorities and partners to support an Alternative Basic Education (ABE) approach. ABE interventions include temporary learning spaces, accelerated curriculum, flexible timetables, interactive radio instruction, appropriate and relevant reading materials and education kits.

In Gaafaay, UNICEF helped the community by building four temporary class rooms with furniture and bathrooms and providing incentives for four teachers for a year (with school supplies). UNICEF also worked with the Community Education Committee to dig a pit for rubbish and helped train the Committee on school management and advocacy on children’s education rights.

“The school came to our village at the right time,” says Nur Ali, a Gaafay community elder. “We have now classrooms with bathrooms and furniture and children are coming to school. Educate-A-Child is a good opportunity to improve our lives through education and provide a better future for our children who had been deprived of such opportunities before. You can see children sitting in classrooms with their faces beaming with pleasure and happiness.”

© UNICEF Somalia/2016/Hashi
Children from Somalia’s marginalized Bantu community have their first taste of education in one of four temporary classrooms provided by UNICEF in Gaafaay, southern Somalia.

“Through pursuing education, we can rebuild our destroyed villages,” added another elder from the village.

UNICEF and EAC support a comprehensive package of support to communities like Gaafay. This programme works with local authorities and communities to build child-friendly schools, train teachers on proven teaching methodologies, empower the local communities to take ownership over children’s education, and encourage children to participate in their schools through Child to Child clubs.

With the generous support of EAC, UNICEF Somalia is able to expand access to quality primary education for out-of-school, marginalised children, like those children living in Gaafaay. Since the start of the project in July 2015, 40,594 out-of-school children have been enrolled in educational services.

By 2017, the project aims to improve access to education for 64,000 out-of-school children in marginalised communities across Somalia. The project will provide instructional materials, including school supplies, textbooks and teacher guides to over 300 schools, construct, rehabilitate and furnish 800 classrooms and train over 2,000 teachers.



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