Protection for every child, regardless of nationality or immigration status
The ongoing conflict, poverty and lack of opportunities have driven many children and young people in Somaliland from their homes. They hope to find better lives elsewhere and set out to find work or an education. Far too often they face dangers during their travels.
Children moving alone, adolescent girls, single women traveling alone or with children, pregnant and lactating women, persons with disabilities, and elderly are particularly under threat. They are vulnerable to different forms of violence and exploitation as they embark on dangerous migration routes in search of alternative livelihoods.
Recent research indicates that between 50 to 700 young people leave Somaliland every month. According to the Heritage Institute, 72 per cent of these people are male and 28 per cent are female.
 UNICEF (2019), “No Mother Wants Her Child to Migrate” Vulnerability of children on the move in the Horn of Africa, p.20.
In Somaliland, UNICEF partners with the government, civil society, and universities support children and young people on perilous journeys in search for better lives
UNICEF has been working with partners since 2018 to support the Government of Somaliland and civil society organizations to prevent and respond to the violence, abuse and exploitation children and young people on the move face.
Since 2018, 1,362 children on the move have been reached in Somaliland with case management services and referrals. These services range from identifying and registering children; to assessing their needs and providing temporary accommodation, food, and hygiene supplies; to offering medical services as well as mental health and psychosocial counselling; and to providing legal assistance, identifying and tracing next of kin and reuniting the children with family members.
UNICEF has helped to strengthen the case management systems and, together the with the Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Family, launched the Primero Case Management system to track the numbers of children and young people accessing services. The system provides accurate data on migration and protection services provided to inform programming on children on the move. In addition to it, 17 child protection desks have been set up across Somaliland to enhance access to protection services, strengthen case management services, increase access to legal services and improve the quality of data available for children on the move. These desks also provide referrals to other key services.
UNICEF has also provided scholarships for students at the University of Hargeisa, NEW Generation University and ADMAS University to study social work and bolster the social service workforce in Somaliland. Currently, 137 students are pursuing these studies. Additionally, social workers, police, immigration and correctional officers have been trained in applying a child sensitive approach to screening and handling trafficked children, screening asylum seekers, using the Primero Child Protection information Management System, providing mental health and psychosocial support, and referring vulnerable children to other services.
Together with partners, UNICEF is running the UPSHIFT Innovative Livelihoods programme and vocational training to provide young people opportunities and alternatives to migration and crime. More than 320 young women and men have participated in these activities.
UNICEF has also supported research on children on the move, the risks they experience, the services they can access while on the move, and gaps in these services. The research was undertaken in collaboration with the University of Hargeisa and UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti.
The work, supporting children on the move, has been possible thanks to the funding from UK Aid, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom.
 UNICEF (2019), “No Mother Wants Her Child to Migrate” Vulnerability of children on the move in the Horn of Africa.