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Somalia, 13 July 2016: Pupils work to ensure that all children go to school

© UNICEF Somalia/2016/Ibrahim
Siblings Amal and Mohamed who are now in school thanks to the intervention of other pupils.

BELED HAWA TOWN, Gedo, Somalia, 13 July 2016 – Somali pupils at Qalam Primary School in Gedo region are making a big difference in their community. With UNICEF’s support, they set up a Child-to-Child (CTC) club - a school-based panels of students who meet to discuss issues affecting them and recommend action to teachers, head teachers, Community Education Committees and parents.

Many children in the town, on the border with Kenya and Ethiopia, do not go to school due to insecurity, financial problems or lack of facilities. The CTC Club’s 21 members – including 9 girls – have been trained on how to improve community engagement and school management and are involved in identifying children not in school and encouraging them to enrol.

Earlier this year, the CTC Club came across 11 year old Mohamed and his 10 year old sister Amal who were both out of school. Their mother was the sole breadwinner for the family, and she was unable to pay the school fees from her small income from casual labour. The family live near the 12 year-old Chair of the CTC Abdihakim Mohamed Ali, who stepped in when he found out they weren’t attending school. After his CTC advocacy training, he and other CTC members visited the family to explore options to get the children back in school.

© UNICEF Somalia/2016/Ibrahim
Abdihakim, chair of the CTC, who lobbied for Amal and Mohamed to get a free education.

“The children’s mother could not believe our CTC Club was helping her children go to school,” says Abdihakim.

The CTC Club members decided to try to get the children’s school fees waived. They met the school headmaster to advocate for free enrolment for Mohamed and Amal and he agreed.

Mohamed and Amal are now thriving in their new school. “I am happy to learn and be like other children in the school,” says Mohamed, now in Grade 2. “I want to be a teacher when I grow up!” Amal says, who is now in Grade 1.

The CTC Clubs can also help build relationships between the teaching staff and students. Through the CTC club, students can identify teachers who need support or who are underperforming to the CTC and can also resolve conflicts between teachers and students.

Throughout Somalia CTCs provides a forum for children’s involvement in school management and social mobilization. The Club is usually between 8-15 members with a representative from each class and are supported by a trained facilitator/mentor. Members are equipped with knowledge and life skills to identify school and community problems and this puts them in the lead in reforming their schools.

 

 
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