First cohort graduates from UNICEF-supported social work programme
More than four years of dedication, hard work, perseverance, and commitment have brought us to this significant milestone
On 16th July 2023, 64 students graduated from their four-year degree program. The ceremony was held at the Somali National University, in coordination with six universities across Somalia and Somaliland, totaling 285 graduates, of whom 55 per cent are female. UNICEF collaborated with international professors of social work, academic Universities and ministries of Women and social affairs in Somaliland, Puntland and the Federal government to develop and deliver a world-class curriculum contextualized to fit Somalia.
“UNICEF's commitment to investing in the education and development of social work students is a testament to their belief in the power of social work to create positive change in the lives of vulnerable children and families,” said by Professor Dahie, the Head of Sociology and Social Work department of Somali National University. The federal Ministry of Women and Human Rights deputy minister, Mr. Abdihakim Jimale, also remarked on unwavering financial and technical support from UNICEF.
Through their study journey, social workers contributed to addressing the needs of communities affected by the different crisis; this includes their invaluable response to the COVID-19 pandemic 2020 - 2021, by raising awareness, disseminating accurate information, promoting preventive measurs and providing psychosocial support.
In Puntland, social work students, with the help of the Ministry of Women Development and Family Affairs (MOWDAFA) and UNICEF, provided immediate crisis interventions to the people who fled from the Laascaanood conflict earlier this year; this included the distribution of essential supplies, case management and emotional support to traumatized individuals. these students have demonstrated the true essence of social work in times of emergency.
The response of the social work students was quite notable in the aftermath of the devastating Waheen Market fire in Hargeisa in 2022. Their swift action, dedication and compassion have made a tremendous difference in supporting the individuals and families who have lost their livelihoods and belongings.
Students also contributed to the drought response in the southern part of the country, providing immediate response to the emergency, conducting needs assessments, facilitating access to essential services, mobilizing resources and coordinating truly commendable relief efforts.
UNICEF's aim in supporting social work programs is to strengthen the capacity of social workers, improve service delivery to vulnerable children and families, and advance the professionalism of the social work sector. Through generous contributions of donors like the Government of Denmark, the EU Humanitarian Aid and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the collaborateive efforts of UNICEF, social workers, and Ministries of Women, Human Rights and Social Affairs can promote the well-being and rights of children in Somalia.
Finally, UNICEF calls for collective action to humanitarian, development and government institutions to provide newly graduated and skilled students opportunities for practical placements and internships. The country must empower these dedicated young graduates to contribute meaningfully to the social sector and gain invaluable hands-on experience.