Media Centre

Press releases

Feature stories

Photo essays

Reporting guidelines

Media contact


Somalia, 30 May 2017: A chance at a better future

© UNICEF Somalia/2017/Rich
Sadia Mohamed Abdi (right), 21, and a classmate, Faisa Barre Ibrahim, 17, are both enrolled in a vocational training programme supported by UNICEF in Bosaso, Puntland.

Youth literacy and vocational training funded by Japan offers skills and hope for Somali youth

By Kun Li

BOSASO, Puntland, 30 May 2017 – Up until three months ago, Sadia Mohamed Abdi from Bosaso, Puntland, had never been to school. A right that had denied simply because she is a girl.

“I am the only girl in my family,” says Sadia. “My parents said that only my brothers should be allowed to go out and study. As a girl, they said, I needed to stay inside and help with housework.”

Years passed, but Sadia never let go of her dream of getting an education. When she heard from a friend that a local youth centre was open for new enrollment, she knew immediately that this was her chance. The centre offers courses in tailoring, carpentry, repair of mobile phones and also basic literacy courses – all for free.

“I thought about it for days before I finally went to my parents,” she says. “I said to them: ‘Boys and girls have equal opportunities to education. What you did to me was wrong. I want to learn. And if I have knowledge and skills I would be more useful to our family.’” That plea turned her life around.

At 21, Sadia became a proud student, learning not only how to read and write, but also how to work a computer – all for the first time in her life. And she is not alone.

© UNICEF Somalia/2017/Rich
A trainee practises mobile repair at a youth centre in Bosaso. In 2016, UNICEF provided 1,500 Somali youth with vocational training opportunities, thanks to a generous US$5 million contribution from the Government of Japan.

In 2016, more than 1,500 young people in towns like Bosaso, Garowe, Qardho in Puntland and Mogadishu, Dolow, Kismayo in southern and central Somalia, were given the same opportunity to take part in literacy, numeracy and vocational classes. Most of them were from disadvantaged communities particularly displacement camps.

“A staggering 67 per cent of young Somalis are unemployed,” says Jairus Ligoo, coordinator of UNICEF Somalia’s youth programme. “Training like this offers not only the right set of skills to help them find a place in the job market, but also protection from violence, armed conflict, early marriage for girls and the temptation of illegal migration.”

© UNICEF Somalia/2017/Rich
Young men enrolled in auto repair practise their skills at a youth centre in Bosaso. Once they complete the year-long vocational training programme, they will be given a startup kit to help them find a job or open a small business of their own.

Working together with partners, UNICEF has for the past five years been implementing a youth programme that integrates child protection, education and emergency services.

“This programme goes beyond just providing knowledge and skills. It plays a critical role in promoting peace, child rights and social cohesion among local communities,” adds Ligoo.

In 2016, the programme was funded almost entirely by the Government of Japan, with a generous US$5 million donation. In addition to the youth programme, the funding from Japan has also enabled UNICEF to provide critical support to nearly 5,000 survivors of gender-based violence with medical, psychosocial and legal services, and some 1,500 unaccompanied and separated children with care and reunification services.

Sadia and her classmate recently graduated from the year-long training. Upon graduation, each of the graduates was given a startup kit that they could use to find a job or open a small business of their own.

“I have learned so much in the training, and I really enjoyed it,” says Sadia. “Now I am finished, I want to become a trainer for others, especially girls like me who have never been to school.”



 Email this article

unite for children