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Somalia, 23 May 2017: A pastoralist life is no obstacle to education – thanks to UNICEF and USAID

© HIRDA/2017
UNICEF education consultant Yahye Abdi Ibrahim, discusses schoolwork with nine-year-old Nimmo at a USAID funded Alternative Basic Education centre.

 
By Yahye Abdi Ibrahim, UNICEF Education Consultant

GEDO Region, South Somalia, 23 May 2017 – Nimmo is a bright, curious nine year old living in a village in south-central Somalia. Her family are pastoralists who move around in search of grazing land and water for their livestock. And until recently there was no school near her and her family could not afford the high fees and long commute to schools in the nearest towns.

It was precisely for children like Nimmo, that UNICEF and USAID established an Alternative Basic Education (ABE) centre close her village.

The ABE centre is tailored to the specific needs of pastoralist children, and includes temporary learning spaces, an accelerated curriculum, flexible timetables, appropriate and relevant reading materials and education kits. Now, Nimmo’s School has an enrolment of 96 students, including 26 girls, and new registration is ongoing for other out of school aged children in the village. Nimmo can now easily write her full name and some sentences, numbers and can read.

© HIRDA/2017
Nine year old Nimmo, who is attending school for the first time, is delighted to be taking part in lessons at the UNICEF-supported Alternative Basic Education Centre.

“I can write my name, which I could not do two months ago when I started school,” said Nimmo with pride. She likes learning new things, and is always looking for opportunities to practice what she learns in class. “Whenever am free I take my exercise book and pen and practise some of the words I learn during the day.”

Nimmo hopes to continue her education, so she can achieve her dreams. She said, “I want to be a nurse to treat patients in my community.”

With generous funding from USAID, UNICEF supports alternative basic education for pastoralist communities in Gedo region of Southern Somalia. Currently, there are 35 ABE Centres in communities in Belet Xaawo, Doolow and Luuq districts, which aim to reach at least 10,000 students in pastoral communities. In the first semester of the programme, 3,230 new students (including 1,427 girls) were enrolled and are now attending school. Through the education implementing partner HIRDA, UNICEF provided educational supplies, constructed temporary learning spaces with gender sensitive WASH facilities, trained teachers and community education committees.

 

 
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