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Somalia, 3 April 2017: It takes a village to educate a child

© UNICEF Somalia/2017/Hashi
A critically important part of UNICEF’s teacher training is inclusive child-centered learning, which encourages children to actively participate in their education. This student participates in a numeracy lesson in an Alternative Basic Education center.

 
Training for Community Education Groups enables them to lead their own education choices

Nearly 60 per cent of Somalis live in pastoralist communities. However, children in these communities typically lack access to quality education opportunities. Through the Alternative Basic Education (ABE) program, an innovative new approach to pastoralist education, UNICEF is helping communities lead their own education choices.

ABE supports alternative basic education for pastoralists through a combination of approaches tailored to the way of life of targeted communities: a flexible calendar and timetables, temporary learning spaces along migration paths, mobile schools using camels to transport education kits, mobile libraries, and complementary interactive audio instruction.

One of the most important ways to strengthen community ownership of education is through community groups called Community Education Committees (CECs). In villages like Warcadey, CECs play an important role in delivering education services. CECs consist of teachers and parents and are the main structure at the local level to manage the administration of schools.

“Education is what our village has been without. I can’t read and write, and I don’t my children to have the same path. I want them to study,” said Dahir, a father and Chief from Warcadey. He is part of the CEC in his village.

Through the ABE project, UNICEF has been working to strengthen capacity of these community groups to support education programs. CEC are critical to increasing support for education among parents, elders, and religious leaders. UNICEF supports the capacity building of CECs by providing training on school management and community mobilisation for increased enrolment.

Earlier this year, Dahir attended a training which brought together 245 CEC members (including 109 women) from 35 CECs from towns in across Somalia’s Gedo region. Community participation is integral to the success and sustainability of the schools. When properly trained and supported, CECs can help increase enrollment and retention of school age children (especially from marginalized and vulnerable groups), enhance capacity of government to develop and implement a non-formal education policies, improve reading outcomes, and improve professional development and performance of teachers.

“I never had such a chance during my childhood but my children have a golden opportunity now and we don’t want to waste it,” Abdullahi from Abdilohow village CEC said.

Particularly in times of crisis and as communities across Somalia brace for the impacts of a long standing drought, CECs provide a critical role. They help mobilize and sensitize their communities on the importance of education, the need for their support and participation in education activities and the need to enrol and retain their children, both boys and girls in school.

 

 
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