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Somalia, 1 November 2016: Pastoralist communities believe education will build their children's future

© UNICEF Somalia/2016/Taxte
Ten year old Mariam and her two brothers look after their family goats in Waranley village, Dollow district, Mariam has never been to school but cant wait to go.

DOLLOW, Gedo, Somalia, 1 November 2016 – Pastoralist children in Dollow district in southern Somalia rarely have the chance to go to school. A few villages have basic Quoranic or community schools but the two-thirds of the families are pastoral and often on the move so at best attendance is sporadic. Children are often needed to help in the home or with herding the animals.

UNICEF Somalia, with support from USAID, plans to give these children their first taste of education through a programme called Alternative Basic Education, which gives out of school children who missed out on the opportunity to enrol in formal primary school.

UNICEF staff visited seven villages in Dollow to collect more information about the community, what if anything was available in terms of education and to discuss possible plans with the local residents.

Although the villages were struggling with a long drought, and many had left the area, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

In Waranley village there are 200 children out of school, with another 130 attending a Quoranic school.

Ten year old Mariam Abdullahi looks after her family’s goats with her two little brothers Hussein aged eight and Abdishakur aged seven.

“I never attended a school or a Quoranic school, but my dream is one day I will be a student,” says Mariam whose mother died 3 years ago. “Every day I support my family and look after the animals, but if the village established a school, I would leave the goats and join the school.

Her brothers have never attended formal school either but, unlike Mariam, they attend Quoranic school.

© UNICEF Somalia/2016/Taxte
UNICEF Education Officer, Abduladhif Sheikh, talks to women and their children outside their makeshift huts in Dollow district, Somalia.

In Siinay village which has 100 children out of school – the community expressed great interest in a school.

Abdi aged 11 who was looking after the family animals said, “I support my family, but I am very pleased that a school is to come to my village and I will be the first person to enroll.”

The village chairman, Mohamed Ali Hubiye, said, “Our children have not had access to education unlike the children in neighbouring villages, so we decided to build a future for our children. We missed the opportunity to learn ourselves, but we have agreed as a community that we must rescue the children.”

The UNICEF delegation brought school kits with them which included maps, maths tables, books, skipping ropes and new footballs and led to lively impromptu football matches.

“It is clear that the pastoralists in this region are extremely keen for this project to begin,” said Neven UNICEF Somalia Chief of Education. “There is a clear understanding that education is absolutely key for the future of these communities and we will ensure that the teaching and materials are tailored to fit in with their way of life.”

UNICEF works with local authorities and partners to support the 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.



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