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Somalia, January 2016: Educate-a-Child boosts enrolment in Berbera

By Jamal Abdi Sarman

© UNICEF Somalia/2015/Sarman
The Head Teacher at Omar Toray Primary School in Berbera, Abdirashid Jibril in his office

BERBERA, Somaliland, January 2016 – The number of children in a Somaliland primary school has more than doubled thanks to outreach work supported by Educate-a-Child (EAC).

“Before the total student population was 40, but now it now stands at 105, thanks to the social mobilisation undertaken by the project team,” said Abdirashid Jibril, the Head Teacher at Omar Toray primary school in Berbera, northern Somaliland.

Sainab Hassan Hussein the Head Teacher at Hassan Ali Henri primary, also in Berbera added that the provision of school uniforms and textbooks contributed to the increased enrollment. “One of the challenges faced by pupils was they lacked school uniforms and textbooks,” she said. “When we received this support with books coming via the Ministry of Education, we also saw more pupils from disadvantage families enrolling in our school.”

UNICEF in partnership with EAC is working to identify out of school, marginalized children and provide them with access to quality primary education. It aims to enrol 64,000 children in the next three years. The project will provide supplies for over 300 schools, construct, rehabilitate and furnish 800 classrooms, train teachers, heads and deputy heads, support community organizations and provide latrines and water.

© UNICEF Somalia/2015/Sarman
Students at Hassan Ali Henry school sitting in their classroom – some on top of desks due to lack of space and enough desks.

UNICEF’s local partners, the NGOs HAVOYOCO, YOVENCO and AYODA undertook site assessments and offered social mobilisation trainings to participants from three regions - Sanaag, Sahil and Awdal.

The increased enrolment brought its own challenges and both headteachers requested the rehabilitation and construction of new classrooms to cope with the high number of pupils benefiting from the EAC project.

“We have more pupils in this school than we anticipated, some classrooms do not have enough desks and there is shortage of classrooms,” said Mr Jibril of Omar Toray primary school. “As you can see some pupils are sitting on top of the desks to see the lesson but at the same time they are blocking others.”

The project also includes teacher training as well as Training for Trainers of those on Community Education Committees which aim to facilitate the effective implementation of the EAC initiative at districts levels.

Somalia has one of the world’s lowest enrolment rates for primary school aged children – only four out of ten children in Somalia are in school. The EAC-UNICEF and the Formal Education for OOSC in Somalia project aims to enroll 19,200 out of school children in the first year. In the second year 38,400 out of school children are targeted for enrollment. The project aims to enroll 6,400 children in the third year. Children will be encouraged to join Child-to-Child (CTC) Clubs and actively participate in getting Out of School Children (OOSC) peers in their communities into school.

 

 
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