Somalia and two international agencies on Thursday launched a program to boost education opportunities for children and youth impacted by ongoing crises in Somalia. The initiative backed by the government, Education Cannot Wait and Development Relief Agency in Somalia (ADRA) will improve access to safe, quality education for children and youth affected by the multiple crises in the Horn of Africa nation.
Abdullahi Godah, minister of education, culture and higher education, said the government is committed to provide an equitable and inclusive education system that affords children left behind with access to free quality basic education. “This will enhance their personal development and in the medium to long term contribute to Somalia’s development, socio-economic growth and global competitiveness,” Godah said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu.
The program will see Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, allocate 8.5 million U.S. dollars in seed funding to support the launch of the comprehensive multi-year education response. With this catalytic grant, the organization called on additional donors to step up and fill the additional 58.8 million dollars required to reach over 402,000 Somali children and youth annually over the next three years.
Yasmine Sherif, director of Education Cannot Wait, said the program supports the efforts of government and member states to ensure that every girl and boy in Somalia accesses quality education in the midst of hardship. “It is an opportunity for an entire generation to rise from crises. For too long they have suffered protracted crisis and dispossession. Time has come for them to enjoy their right to develop and grow through an adequate education in a protective learning environment. They deserve no less,” Sherif added.
The program’s activities will include: school rehabilitation to provide adequate safe learning space, supply of teacher learning material, promotion of girls’ enrolment & retention, support to community education committees to promote education delivery and the importance of protection and safeguarding, and strengthening policy development on education.
Luiz Camargo, ADRA’s country director in Somalia said investing in education is one of the best ways a country can lift people out of poverty, increase national economic growth and reduce the risk of conflict. “Quality education in emergencies strengthens children’s resilience amidst adversity and supports their socio-emotional and cognitive development,” Camargo added.