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Yes! Somali girls can be doctors

UNICEF Somalia/2012/Munyui
© UNICEF Somalia/2012/Munyui
Nafisa Abriahman medical student at East Africa University.

By Woki Munyui, Education Specialist, UNICEF Somalia

September 2012 - Nafisa Abdirahman Ahmed, a Somalia medical student, is determined to be part of the solution to the low number of medical doctors in her region.

Born in the middle of a family of three girls and seven boys, Nafisa attended secondary school in Garowe, capital of Puntland, where she excelled. Thereafter she applied for admission to the East Africa University and has since been studying hard and undertaking intensive medical training.

“Specialised doctors are very rare in Puntland. Our people travel to foreign countries or die before they get treatment”, says Nafisa.

According to Nafisa, 35 girls enrolled for medicine with her, to date 14 have dropped out, having failed or abandoned their education for marriage. Currently, there are 1,560 students in the college, only 35% are female.

In order to become closer to her college and be able to complete the seven years course, Nafisa left her family’s house in Garowe and moved to live with her aunt in Bosaso. “All else can wait, I am looking forward to an MA if not a PhD,” she says.

Nafisa is a beneficiary of the Accelerated Fund for Female Participation in Education programme that is funded by the European Commission and implemented by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in Puntland. This means Nafisa and many other girls in Somalia get all of their college fees paid for the whole course and their dreams of a brighter future realised.



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