UNICEF in Action
© UNICEF Somalia/2015/Makundi
Getting children into school
Somalia has one of the world’s lowest enrolment rates for primary school-aged children – only 30 per cent of children are in school and only 40 per cent of these are girls. Further, only 18% of children in rural households are in school.
To address these critical issues, UNICEF Somalia works across 5 thematic areas as part of a broad system of support to strengthen systems and provide service delivery. These include: Formal Basic Education, Alternative Basic Education, Youth Education and Skills Development, Institutional Strengthening – human resources and capacity development, and Education in Emergencies. Together, these focus areas enable UNICEF and its partners to provide education services for even the most hard to reach and/or marginalised children.
Promoting gender equity in education
One of the biggest challenges is the disparity between girls and boys in schools. UNICEF Somalia is striving to improve both access to and the quality of girls’ education across Somalia. Mainstreaming gender at policy level is critical, ensuring that gender sensitive spaces in the schools are promoted (such as gender sensitive latrines and washing facilities, improved teacher and community training and capacity to deal with equity issues, more female teachers in the classroom supported with training and incentives.
Building the capacity of education ministries
In 2012, a five-year Education Strategic Plan (ESP) was developed in Puntland, Somaliland and a transitional ESP for the south. These strategic plans reflect voices of local stakeholders and signs of local ownership. These strategies provide analytical education plans for the Ministries of Education and all education partners to follow. The new ESPs are being developed now in each region, in addition to Education Sector Analysis.
Collecting reliable data for effective planning
Effective planning has been hampered by the lack of accurate and reliable data, including Education Management Information System (EMIS) and enrolment data. The establishment of an EMIS Unit in all three education ministries resulted in the third government-led School Census in Somaliland and Puntland and a pilot survey in 16 districts of Banadir region in CSZ.
Increasing the numbers of qualified/ certified teachers
Increasing the numbers of qualified and certified teachers (particularly female teachers) is extremely important to strengthen the education system and to deepen the level of learning for students. UNICEF ensures in-service training and supportive monitoring of primary school teachers. UNICEF also supports training of teachers (with a focus on female teachers) on the basic education curriculum and child-centred teaching approaches. Further, in the absence of functional teacher payroll structures in the Ministries of Education, UNICEF support includes a small financial incentive for the teachers to keep working. In 2016, UNICEF provided incentives to more than 3,607 teachers, head teachers and deputy heads across the country (16% of whom were female) to continue their work.
Building resilience of communities and children
Community-based groups known as Community Education Committees (CEC) have played 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. Today, CECs exist in most Somali schools. UNICEF supports the capacity building of CECs by providing training on school management and community mobilisation for increased enrolment. In addition, Child-to-Child (CtC) student clubs work to improve schools by addressing key issues – CtCs allow students to actively participate in their education and increase their confidence. CtCs also improve school environments and are empowered to advocate for increased enrolment in their communities.
Ensuring education service in emergency situations
UNICEF works to ensure that children and youth during times of emergency have access to education. In 2016, through the Emergency in Education programme, 38,080 children in crisis (including in IDP settlements and newly accessible areas) were supported with schools supplies, rehabilitated school facilities and teachers received school incentives. Severe funding constraints continue to affect responding to education in emergencies.
Because of continued insecurity, UNICEF relies on local partners, CECs and umbrella organisations with operational access in Central South Somalia. UNICEF also employs third party verification to reach those areas which UNICEF staff cannot reach to ensure we have accurate information for programme monitoring.