Somalia, 15 March 2017: Providing youth with options
By Jairus Ligoo, Education Specialist, Garowe Somalia
The prolonged drought and looming famine has featured in the Somalia and global news of late, but a disruption has taken place in Puntland State (North Eastern region of Somalia). Somali pirates have reportedly seized an oil tanker-the first successful piracy raid on a commercial vessel since 2012 when counter-piracy efforts seemed to have curbed the vice.
In the State capital of Garowe, young Abdimalik Dirie and Hassan Abdi (both 16 years old) are busy studying what could be one of their ways out of the piracy vice that has befallen many of Puntland youth.
At the UNICEF supported Garowe Vocational Training Centre (VTC) young Abdimalik and Hassan are among the group of over 100 adolescents and youth enrolled at the vocational training center, gaining knowledge and learning skills that are crucial to the stabilization and development of their community.
The initiative is supported by the Government of Japan and aims to equip over 1,500 out of school youth with technical and vocational skills in seven youth centers in Somalia.
The prolonged drought has not been kind either, and many people from the drought affected regions have also moved to urban areas like Garowe in search of hope and survival, further straining the already stressed services. Puntland State Education Statistics show that approximately 19.5 per cent primary school children in Puntland had already dropped out from schools due to drought with Bari District where the hijacked Aris 13 oil tanker was directed, showing particularly high dropped out rates (30.1 per cent for both boys and girls)
Engineer Mohamed “Lala” who runs the center, says that “vocational training and life skills are critical if many of Puntland’s youth are to find a way out of the many risks they are exposed to.”
Abdi and Hassan not only learn technical skills but also key life skills, acquiring crucial pyscho-social competencies that will enable them deals with life’s challenges and become productive citizens.
Life skills teacher at Garowe VTC, Ms. Naviso Hussein, adds, “the life skills they learn, enable them be able to deal with peer pressures and also understand themselves as young people.”
Development and security experts agree, that until the underlying issues wracking Somalia, from poverty, instability, good governance and service delivery are solved, piracy may continue.
In Puntland State UNICEF and its partner Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) support similar centers in Bossaso, Qardho and Galkacyo, providing out of school adolescents and youth with educational opportunities for their own development and protection.
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