Hope. A brief introduction to Save the Children Denmark s alternative basic education and skills training in Somaliland and Puntland, Somalia

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1 Hope A brief introduction to Save the Children Denmark s alternative basic education and skills training in Somaliland and Puntland, Somalia This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Save the Children Denmark and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

2 Introduction Waiting for the rain We used to have hundreds of goats, sheep and camels. They all died. For three years we did not see rain. This used to be grazing land. Now it s a desert. We make charcoal out of the scarce trees, but we become poorer for every day that passes. The charcoal business is not good, but we have no other options. Sometimes we do not eat for 24 hours. There is no water, no food and no schools in our area. We can only pray to Allah while we wait for water. Farah Muhammad Adan, Burao, Somaliland Defined as one of the least developed countries, Somalia ranks amongst the ten poorest countries in the world. In 2002, the United Nations Development Programme estimated that 43 percent of the population live in extreme poverty on less than one US dollar a day and that almost half of the labour force is out of a job. People generally survive by being self-employed and with the help of remittances from the Somali diaspora. Since declaring its independence from Somalia in 1991, the Republic of Somaliland has set up government institutions, written its own laws and constitution, and held credible elections. Neighbouring Puntland on the other hand has opted for a semi-autonomous state within Somalia and is considered less stable than Somaliland. While Somaliland has spent the past decade building peace, much of central and southern Somalia is still caught up in conflict. Yet, the outside world has never recognised Somaliland s independence. For eighteen years Somaliland has been left in legal limbo a country that does not exist. Updated human development indicators for Somaliland and Puntland are hard to come by given their ambiguous circumstances, but what they have in common is a wounded history. Civil war raged in Somaliland and Puntland in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and most Somalis lost their homes, livestock, lands and jobs when they fled internally or abroad to escape the horrors of the war. After the war, many people returned home and had to begin their lives again from scratch. Thirteen years after the last civil war in Somaliland people are still struggling to rebuild their livelihoods. Whole generations have lost out on education due to war and displacement, and while Somaliland largely depends on livestock, successive bans on the export of goats, sheep and camels as well as excessive droughts due to climate change have forced many people to leave the desert and search for survival elsewhere. Often they end up in the long queue of jobless in the cities. On the positive side is the rapidly expanding private sector. With one of the cheapest and most efficient telecommunications systems in Africa, city centres are being developed and provided with electricity; new trade routes and transport thrive alongside business cooperatives. While the private sector provides the majority of jobs, the lack of, on the one hand, more and better work opportunities, and a skilled labour force on the other hand, are major challenges. Almost everyone with some kind of schooling has either taken refuge abroad or is ready to retire. Left behind are the generations who were born or grew up during the war years when education was a foreign word. With only 25 percent of the girls and 37 percent of the boys enrolling in primary school, Somalia has one of the lowest youth literacy rates in the world. While the gender related disparities in education remain an area of major concern, it is a positive factor that the number of children enrolled in primary school has gone up by about three-hundred percent since 2000, according to UNICEF s Survey of Primary Education in Somalia However, education, skills, access to decent income, poverty reduction, peace and democracy are all closely linked. While experience shows that education enhances good governance, equity, democracy, transparency, and accountability, the lack of it is one of the structural causes of poverty, often leading to increased drug abuse, illegal immigration, crime, and a greater danger of being conscripted into the armed militia and gangs. Ultimately, the shortage of education may cause a national security risk. Keeping these realities in mind, Save the Children Denmark carries out alternative basic education and skills training in Puntland and Somaliland with the support of the European Union. While the idea behind alternative basic education is to create access to primary and non-formal education for vulnerable children, especially girls, it is also designed to create the necessary basis for participation in skills training, the aim of which is to improve the livelihood of disadvantaged youth and women. These projects take into account Somaliland and Puntland s historical contexts, says Ashebir Debebe Mekonen, Country Director, Save the Children Denmark s Somalia and Somaliland programme. A huge group of children, young men and women are without education. But without access to education, skills and income, this group is very vulnerable to recruitment into fundamentalist groups or piracy. You can hardly blame them. If you lose all hope, people can easily manipulate you for a pittance. But such instability makes further peace building impossible. By providing the youth with necessary life skills, education, a trade and a link to employment, we also build citizens who contribute to the country s well-being. 2 Hope Hope 3

3 Facts about Somaliland and Puntland The Republic of Somaliland declared independence in 1991, while Puntland regards itself as a semiautonomous state within Somalia. Neither of them has been recognised by the outside world. Somaliland has been relatively stable for more than a decade. Its government is evolving, but the lack of money and skills makes it hard for the government to provide quality services. Puntland and Somaliland largely depend on support from the international community. According to the Somaliland government its population is around 3.5 million, while the Puntland government estimates its population to be about 2.4 million. The EU s Somalia Joint Strategy Paper for lists the figures at 1.1 and 1.7 million, respectively. A nomadic lifestyle and displaced populations, a constant influx of Somalis from less stable areas of Somalia, returnees from abroad and illegal immigration make reliable population counts almost impossible. The great majority of the Somalis are moderate Muslims. The Somali clan groupings are important social units, and clan membership plays a central role in Somali culture and politics. Patrilineal, clans are often divided into sub-clans. Major Somali clans include the Dir, Isaag, Darod, Hawiye, Digil and the Rahanweyn. Somaliland also encompasses several other minority communities whose rights are largely neglected by the state. Situated on the Horn of Africa in northwest Somalia, Somaliland is about the size of England and Wales combined. Puntland covers northeast Somalia and is about one-third larger than Somaliland. Somaliland and Puntland still dispute where the border is between the two states. EU - a major player in Somalia The European Union provides assistance to the people of Somalia in keeping with the Somalia Joint Strategy Paper for The overall objective is to help establish a peaceful and secure environment in Somalia, and to reduce poverty by providing basic social services and by increasing economic activity. One critical intermediate political goal is to support the establishment of a new constitution adopted by referendum and democratically elected institutions. Co-financing NGOs is part of the EU s commitment to providing assistance to Somalia, but not all non-governmental organisations have onthe-ground experience from Somalia or general experience working in post-conflict countries, and few are able to implement projects in the unstable south. While the aim of the EU is to cover Somalia in its entirety, implementation has proven to be relatively easier in the North West Zone, which covers Somaliland, and Puntland. Save the Children Denmark, an organisation which has the required experience, has been granted several EU contracts in Somaliland and Puntland in keeping with the EU s aim to support development of the education sector in Somalia: 1. Promotion of Employment Through Training (PETT): EUR 2,633,876 from Skills Training for Employment Opportunities (STEO): EUR 2,222,222 from Vocational Education and Training for Accelerated Promotion of Employment (VETAPE): EUR 3,249,186 from Integrated Special Primary and Alternative Basic Education (ISPABE): EUR 3,333,333 (EU contribution is EUR 3,000,000) from Support for Integrated Basic Education Services in Somalia (SIBES): EUR 510,492 (90% of which is an EU contribution) 6. Strengthening Capacity of Teacher Training in Primary and Secondary Education (SCOTTPS): EUR 6,555,555 from Accelerated Primary Education Support Programme (APES) in Somalia: EUR 3,013,702 (EU contribution is EUR 2,712,332) from The European Union is made up of 27 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their knowhow, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders. 4 Hope Hope 5

4 The aftermath of war 6 Hope Hope 7

5 and the absence of recognition to economic opportunities and social services, and women and girls who historically have been marginalised in the labour market for social, cultural and religious reasons. According to many people in Somaliland, the situation is aggravated by the fact that Somaliland still does not exist on any official map. Somaliland has no legal status or representation in international fora, while Somalia, despite the absence of an effective government since 1991, continues to be accorded sovereignty and subsequently remains the reference point for the policies of all international bodies. At the same time, international conventions privilege only legitimate states, and Somaliland s indefinite diplomatic status has denied Somaliland access to the same type of institutional support as other post-conflict societies receive. Furthermore, bilateral trade links are hard to establish without recognition of Somaliland as an independent country. Add to that global climate change in the shape of a threeyear drought that has partially parched Somaliland, to some extent killing traditional nomadic life and taking a serious toll on livestock. But the people of Somaliland also are justifiably proud of their achievements. The process of establishing democracy and peace has been internally driven, and Somaliland has been rising from the rubble as one of the most stable countries on the Horn of Africa. By 2006, the country could even boast a popularly elected government. Ironically, one issue that threatens peace today is the lack of access to proper education, skills and jobs all fundamental for a decent life and hope for a better future. Bombed-out rusty tanks and ruins scarred by bullets and neglect still dot Somaliland s deserted landscapes more than a dozen years after peace was achieved. When Somalia s government under the leadership of General Mohamed Siyad Barre was overthrown after a devastating civil war in 1991, leaders of the Somali National Movement and elders from the northern Somali clans gave in to public pressure and withdrew northwest Somalia from the union that had joined the colonial territories of Italian Somalia and the British Somaliland Protectorate in Severing political ties with Somalia helped distance the North West Region from the intensifying war in southern Somalia. Constructing a state from rock bottom is not an easy task. Between 1992 and 1996 Somaliland further experienced two civil wars, this time internally and between clans, before the present peace was finally established. While tens of thousands were killed by the wars, and hundreds of thousands escaped to neighbouring Ethiopia and Djibouti, many others spread into a huge Somali diaspora comprising other African countries, Europe and the US. The more money people had, the further they could go, and the less likely they were to return if their children grew up as British, Norwegian or Danish citizens. Then, the refugees in Ethiopia and Djibouti were forced to come back due to lack of food and opportunities in the camps when the wars ended, and so were many internally displaced Somalis. They may have been nomads and rich in goats, sheep, and camels before the wars, but without livestock many chose to settle in urban areas to seek alternative livelihoods. Most of these returnees missed out on getting an education, and so have their children. Even those who have managed to get some sort of schooling with the gradual restoration of peace are not easily absorbed into the limited labour market, and there are few opportunities for further education. The wars also left behind a large number of ex-militia, physically handicapped and traumatized men, women and children suffering from a range of psychological disorders. These people struggle even more to make ends meet, along with minority groups who traditionally have unequal access I do not want to go back to war I fled Mogadishu in southern Somalia when the Ethiopian soldiers came two years ago. It was a very bad situation. In Mogadishu we had a big house and a good life, but my family was split up because of the war. I worked my way north as a day labourer, spending whatever I earned to get yet another ride with yet another truck. When I got to Burao in Somaliland, I stayed. Here, it is peaceful. My life is secure now. I have learned to make confectionary, and I earn 150 US dollars a month. That is enough to rent a room, and when I get an even better job; I will bring my wife and children here, too. I do not want to go back to war. Awil Jama Hashi, 25 years 8 Hope Hope 9

6 When lifestyles are changing and new skills are required While nomads and an informal economy of remittances still play very important roles in Somaliland s economy, the informal private sector is responsible overall for the sustained growth that Somaliland in fact does experience. But few Somalis possess the skills and education required to fill the new positions created by the private labour market. Without international legitimacy, Somaliland s government is weak with poor financial footing, and foreign companies place their investments elsewhere. At the same time, 65 percent of the Somaliland population still depend on nomadic pastoralism and the commercial export of sheep, goats and camels to foreign markets like Yemen, Djibouti and Saudi Arabia. But repeated bans on livestock export and an extended drought compel more people into the urban areas in search of income, adding to the backlog of uneducated and unemployed youth who lack an education due to war, displacement, poverty and scarcity of schools and skills. The very high rate of unemployment amongst young adults is a core problem in Somaliland. Unemployment leads to widespread poverty, and at the end of the day, people without hope are more likely to get into drug abuse, and they are easier to manipulate or tempt into piracy or fundamentalism. In order to help young people in Somaliland and Puntland raise their expectations for a better future, Save the Children Denmark supports alternative basic education in towns and rural areas as well as skills training in all larger cities and is planning to expand training into the countryside, too. Save the Children Denmark especially works to improve access for disadvantaged groups to vocational training centres and enterprise based training by placing trainees with existing private companies in the main towns. Underprivileged groups are also given access to employment promotion services, where they learn to write CVs and negotiate their way into the labour market. When relevant, youths are linked to web and mobile phone based job services, and many are provided with tools or jobs, either by the project or the enterprise where they did their internship. Many beneficiaries are equipped with more than one skill to improve their employment prospects, either through formal jobs or self-employment, by starting small-scale enterprises. Assessment and certification ensure that standards are maintained. Skills are selected according to up-to-date local market surveys carried out in cooperation with local stakeholders. This ensures that there is a demand for the skilled youth, and it promotes local investments, use of local resources and the establishment of market channels for locally produced goods and services. In addition, it finds effective ways of addressing constraints put on local economic activities. Amongst the sectors with employment opportunities for skilled youth are construction, electricity, mechanics, mobile phone repair, office administration, computer soft and hardware, food and nutrition, garments and tailoring, beauty therapy, communication, tanneries and the health sector. As many young Somalis do not master basic literacy and numeracy, they also get the chance to participate in alternative basic education. The same applies to younger children who either were never part of the formal school system, or who dropped out due to poverty or a nomadic lifestyle. In order to ensure that local authorities at some point continue alternative basic education and skills training on their own, Save the Children Denmark implements programmes in close cooperation with the Somaliland government, local and international organisations, the private labour market and other stakeholders. Local authorities, teachers, trainers, school committees, child clubs and implementing partner organisations are all provided with courses and constant support to increase their knowledge, awareness and ability to carry forward and constantly improve alternative basic education and skills training. 10 Hope Hope 11

7 Education for almost all Many children and young people never got a chance to get an education before. Thanks to alternative basic education people who have been internally displaced or have returned from abroad, or children who dropped out of formal schooling due to poverty, get another chance. Save the Children Denmark is supporting our efforts. Somaliland has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, but we are heading towards the Millennium Goals of Education for All. As it is, around nine out of ten Somalis are illiterate, but we are working on a strategic plan for In Somaliland, we want 75 percent to be able to read and write before 2015, which is why we run 294 non-formal education centres with 26,000 students. Security requirements still prevent us from reaching everywhere, but we cover 70 percent of the country. We are gradually improving. We also experience a severe shortage of proper technical education, but at this point we have 57 vocational training centres, including those run by local non-governmental organisations and individuals, with 36 skills offered. Some are very basic, some are at diploma level. We are also making mothers aware of the importance of education and mobilising communities with the help of Save the Children Denmark, but it is not easy. We have very limited financial support, and 65 percent of Somalis are still nomads who move according to grazing and water. This is why we need mobile schools, but we require support for this. Otherwise we cannot reach these people. Hussein Darod, Director for Non-formal Education, Ministry of Education Who benefits from Save the Children Denmark s support? 4,525 youth, especially women and girls are being given skills, and 5,000 have access to employment promotion services. The youth are internally displaced persons, returnees, out-of-school youth, ex-militia, youth with disabilities, and minority groups. 17,850 primary school age boys and girls receive alternative basic education. Amongst these are refugees, returnees, internally displaced children, children with physical disabilities caused by, for example, landmines, children without parental care, and children who are marginalised by society for social or cultural reasons. 12 Hope Hope 13

8 If you are educated you can go anywhere We leave the main road to drive out into the blue or, rather the beige. The dusty semi-desert seems to stretch out endlessly, interrupted only by thorny shrubbery, bleak corn and sorghum fields, traditional egg-shaped huts covered by colourful rags, little boys attached to herds of black-headed sheep, goats and camels and ruins that bear witness to an era when living conditions were different. Suddenly a white building with blue window frames appears. The Dudweyine Alternative Basic Education Centre is perched on a slight hill a couple of hours drive west of the capital, Hargeisa. The children are being fed beans provided by the World Food Programme before some of them return to their classrooms and others to the shadow under the tree next to the ruined pre-war school. Although the school contains only two classrooms and a couple of storerooms for food and books, it has become so popular that it has outgrown itself. The nearest primary school is in a town five kilometres away. This is quite far to walk for young children, and the girls are strictly prohibited from hiking through the desert. Thus, while the second and third graders have taken over the classrooms, the first graders have to make do with stones for chairs and a tree for a roof while they jostle with multiplication tables. When we know the numbers, we can count our goats and camels and money, explain the first graders, who all live nearby. Being amongst the lucky few Somalis with access to water, these families have settled down to grow corn and sorghum as a supplement to their livestock. Three years in the little school equals five years in the formal school system, and for the first time ever, the inhabitants of Dudweyine dare dream of a better future. The syllabus follows the national curriculum, although it has been redesigned using pictures and pedagogical examples. The teachers are being trained in child-friendly education methods to avoid the rote learning which is often practiced in formal schools. The School Committee, which is made up of seven members selected by their communities, plays an important role. Members of the committee in Gelokor Alternative Basic Education Centre outside Berbera in the north of Somaliland explain what they do: We mobilise the community to send their children to school. We represent the community. We safeguard the school, and we monitor the quality of the education. We look into the needs of the students, and we keep in touch with the government, donors and organisations, like Save the Children Denmark, to ensure funding. We also make certain that the children get food from the World Food Programme, and that water and firewood are available for cooking. Mobilising the communities may sound like the easiest part, but at the core of their souls Somalis are nomads. Even families who have settled down may eventually hit the desert again if drought strikes their corn fields, or if meagre grazing starves their livestock. Some families also migrate to the cities, while others opt for illegal immigration, pursuing the dream of a more comfortable life elsewhere. When we realise that a family is about to leave we seek them out and tell them that they are better off here where their children get food. We pay regular bi-monthly visits to all families, and if a child drops out for whatever reason, he or she can always rejoin the school again, explain Gelokor School Committee members. The members are all volunteers who receive basic training in conflict resolution, fundraising, child rights, child protection and how to convince people 14 Hope Hope 15

9 that education is important: Even if you are still a nomad, education is valuable. If you are educated, you can go anywhere and find a job in the event of a drought. The children are also organised. We have a child club with eight elected representatives, and we help the School Committee maintain the school and the community clean the village, explain the club members in Dubur Alternative Basic Education Centre in Sheikh, south of Berbera. An awareness of child rights is an important part of the clubs aims. By arranging sporting activities the clubs maintain that children have a right to play, and that play and games are imperative for a child s development. If there are any problems with the teachers, the child club members take up the issues with the headmaster. Parents are also repeatedly told that children have a right to be protected against thrashing, and of course the right to education is being maintained on a daily basis. Some parents do not allow their children time to study, because they have to look after the goats or do the household work, say the children, who are also considering bringing up really tough topics like early marriage arranged without the daughter s consent, and female genital mutilation. But we are still afraid of discussing these topics with our parents, because they will not easily accept them. Maybe later... Even if there are issues that are still considered no-go, the parents generally are happy about the child rights activities: Our children s attitudes have changed. They help us read and write letters, and they behave better. We see that they grow, so we listen and pick up some of their ideas. Afraid of losing the future My father is a shoemaker. He sits with his little portable shop on the pavement in town, mending knives, shoes and welding twelve hours a day, but he only earns 75 US dollars a month. My mother looks after our twelve goats. I have two brothers, but I am the oldest. Two other children died. We do not know why. They were OK at night, but in the morning they were screaming with pain. At noon they were dead. I started my education under a tree. We had no government school here, and even if we did, my parents would have never been able to pay. If this non-formal school had not come, I would have spent the rest of my life looking after goats, cleaning the compound and washing dishes. Now I m in seventh grade, and I want to use my education for further studies. I m afraid of losing my future. With education we build our minds. Hadaaya Mohamed Haashi, 12 years Facts about Save the Children Denmark and alternative basic education Three years in an alternative basic education centre equals five years in formal primary school. The curriculum is similar to the formal school system so that the children can join formal school later. However, the books and educational methods are developed especially for children who are not used to sitting behind a school desk. As Somali girls are customarily not provided with an education, giving parents extra incentives to allow their girls to study has been necessary. At present, alternative basic education centres provide all girls with a canister of oil. All children are given a daily meal at school. This is another enticement for the parents, and it enhances the children s learning capacity, since hungry children are poor learners. Parents have to pay up to ten US dollars per child per month in formal schools. In some of the alternative basic education centres the students are also encouraged to pay a bit to cover the teachers salaries in order to help make the schools sustainable, but the children do not have to invest in uniforms or books. Some children are provided with an alternative basic education beyond the three years since a nation cannot be built on skills only. Consequently, Save the Children Denmark continues alternative basic education up to the eighth grade in some areas. These children are also linked to other institutions and higher education. Basic literacy and numeracy are a precondition for most skills training. If a carpenter cannot calculate, he cannot measure his wood, and a secretary cannot type a letter without knowing how to spell. Many trainees participate in alternative basic education before they embark on skills training. 16 Hope Hope 17

10 Relevant skills and growing visions Not a single hair juts out from the bright red, blue and pink scarves, and the neat dresses are impeccably ironed. The girls giggle, visibly tense. This may be the most important day in their lives so far. Unemployment is one of our major problems. Most of our youth never went to school due to displacement and war and lack of income, and the few who earn have many that depend on them. On top of that, most of us are nomads, but severe drought for the past three years has made many Somalis give up the nomad life and move to the cities. These people have no formal education, explains Abdillahi Essa Awaleh, Director, Hargeisa Technical Institute. Today, we are admitting a new batch of 250 youth. Many more applied, especially girls. We only target low-income applicants, and our selection process has many criteria to follow. We always give priority to the internally displaced, returnees, minorities, youth with a disability and girls. The applicants have to be between 16 and 25 years of age, and depending on the skill they apply for, they need a certain level of basic education. If for example you want to become a secretary you need some English to be able to type on the computer. The final selection of the new trainees is being done by a panel of government agencies, the Ministry of Education and the Chamber of Commerce before the youth get access to a training institute supported by Save the Children Denmark. The giggling girls outside Abdillahi Essa Awaleh s office at the Hargeisa Technical Institute are amongst the hundreds of applicants for the coming semester, and they are highly aware that the spaces available are scarce here and in other institutions. In order to make up for the lack of spots available at the training institutes and to provide options for youth without basic education, Save the Children Denmark has also initiated enterprise based training. Shamiz Bare Hassan has her own batik business that has developed into the Shamsudin Training School, a female training centre where young women can learn to tie and dye, make clothes and confectionary, do housekeeping, and learn about food and nutrition, as well as literacy and numeracy. When Shamiz Bare Hassan returned from a refugee camp in Ethiopia after the war she found her Hargeisa house in ruins. At a loss about where to begin and where to end, she signed up for batik classes with a local organisation. I started out making twenty batik scarves a month. Now, I have six trainees, and we produce 1,000 pieces a month. I sell one scarf for seven US dollars to a middleman, who resells it for eight US dollars. A piece of cloth costs four US dollars, and dye costs a little less than 50 cents. When a trainee has finished her training here, I provide her with five kilograms of dye and twenty pieces of cloth so she can start her own business. Out of twenty former trainees, twelve still work with Shamiz Bare Hassan. A few girls married and presently stay at home with their babies, and the rest are self-employed. The old trainees often bring their materials to the Shamsudin Training School, where Shamiz Bare Hassan happily helps them mix the proper colours. Few girls have the space to dye scarves at home. The market for scarves is good, especially when it rains and the animals get plenty of grass. Then, people earn more money. Women also buy scarves for our main religious holidays, the Eids. Some shops buy 300 scarves at a time, says Shamiz Bare Hassan. We have a sales unit for export and for the local market, and the training school is sustainable now. To get to this stage we have got good support from Save the Children Denmark, recounts Shamiz Bare Hassan. She is not the only one who is elated about the trainee programme. Many other employers emphasise that they always had problems finding employees with sufficient skills before. Now the enterprise owners educate their own staff, their businesses grow, and the Somaliland economy in general gets a boost. Most of my former trainees are self-employed here or abroad, and a newly qualified trainee earns about 300 US dollars a month in Hargeisa. Electronics is a new business, and it is booming, says Adam Nur Ali, who has specialised in mobile telephone repair and owns Adam Electronics. The twenty-five people who have lined up during our short discussion are proof of this success. 18 Hope Hope 19

11 Other trainees are linked to jobs with help from their employer, their training institute, or a special Employment Promotion Services unit under the Ministry of Education. They can also receive help to search job sites on the Internet or via a mobile phone job provision service other organisations have set up in the region. Ashebir Debebe Mekonen, Country Director, Save the Children Denmark s Somalia/Somaliland programme, says: Our interventions are continuously reshaped to ensure that the quality of the training is good, and that there are jobs available after the training, and we always teach the youth entrepreneurship skills so they are capable of starting their own businesses. We usually bring in experts from the private sector. We offer more than twenty trades, and they change all the time in keeping with the labour market trends. What we do now may not be relevant next year, so we make current market surveys to diagnose the relevance of the training and the growing demands of the economy. For this, we work closely with the private sector, different ministries, ILO, youth organisations and other relevant stakeholders. Save the Children Denmark also links education and skills. As most youth are illiterate they often have to participate in alternative basic education before they embark on skills training. But this visionary approach does not end here. We are also planning to replicate our urban based skills training to rural areas - farming, livestock development schemes and small trade, for example. And since we have experienced that creating a one-man business alone is difficult, we are considering assisting skilled youth form trade based groups. Young men and women who are trained in, for example, masonry, carpentry, plumbing and electricity could join forces and make their own construction unit, invest in tools together and build up a strong enough base to get contracts together. Then, we could teach them how to manage a proper business as well as follow-up and help them solve problems, says Ashebir Debebe Mekonen. Understanding the value of education I used to live in the rural areas, but all our goats died due to drought and I decided to move to the city. I used to always skin our dead animals, so it felt natural to learn how to make proper leather. It is easy for me and I earn 110 US dollars a month. My husband is a mason, but he works as a day labourer only. When he works, he earns about 20 US dollars a day, but he only finds employment one week out of the month or so. Till I started my own education I never thought that my children should study. Due to my own situation I have understood the value of education. Ayer Yussuf Jama, 24 years Facts about Save the Children Denmark and skills training Save the Children Denmark focuses on the poorest and most vulnerable groups: returnees, internally displaced people, ex-militia, and people with disabilities due to, for example, landmines, as well as minorities, girls and women. The age group is 16 to 25 years. The youth receive either 7.5 months of institutional based training plus a month of internship, or six months of enterprise based skills training. All trainees graduate after having worked with a contractor for ten days. The contractor checks the quality of the training and tests the trainee. All skills are based on recent market surveys carried out by local stakeholders, e.g. employers, organisations, local authorities and relevant ministries. The skills change on a regular basis in order to follow market trends. Save the Children Denmark, apart from supporting stakeholder meetings for trainees, trainers, and enterprises, cooperates with relevant ministries. During the training period the trainees are paid 30 US dollars per month by Save the Children Denmark. 20 Hope Hope 21

12 When a little goes a long way How skilled are you after six or seven months of vocational training? In Denmark, it takes more than four years of studies before you may call yourself a certified electrician. Denmark, in contrast to Somaliland, which is still in its infancy as a state, has been stable for hundreds of years and experienced the beginning of its industrial revolution 250 years ago. Whatever little Somaliland is provided with goes a long way. Somaliland is a fragile country with few employment opportunities. At the same time, the economy is evolving after the war. Reconstruction is going on, the technical and communication sectors are growing, and so is service provision, says Ashebir Debebe Mekonen, Country Director, Save the Children Denmark Somalia/Somaliland programme. Most educated Somalis fled the country a long time ago, so there is a shortage of all sorts of skills. This is why if you embark on building skills, you will definitely feed into the employment market. If Somaliland was stable, it would be a different situation. In relatively steady developing countries even educated youth have problems finding jobs. Just a minor increase in capacity will definitely increase the likelihood of getting a job in Somaliland. 22 Hope Hope 23

13 Money, happiness 24 Hope Hope 25

14 and respect The young women are assisting each other. One of them climbs a ladder to reach the unfinished socket high on the wall, while the other hands her the screwdrivers and pliers required to mount the outlet box. The women are in charge of equipping all of the wards at the new Fistula Hospital in Borama with power. Although working with electricity is traditionally male-only territory, no one raises an eyebrow when the women tug at the wires. War has turned electricians into an endangered species in Somaliland, but with a growing economy the demand for qualified electricians seems endless. This is why it does not pay off to be worried about gender, which is something 26-year old Farhia Hussein Afagne is grateful about. I graduated as an electrician three years ago. The first year I had short-term assignments, but then I got full-time employment here at the hospital. I am so happy. I can support my family now. I earn 150 US dollars a month plus overtime, which is a good salary. I have good colleagues, and I like the job, says the young woman with a smile. Every month she hands over the majority of her salary to her mother, so she can pay for Farhia s two siblings school fees and food. Farhia, the family s sole breadwinner, gets to keep only twenty US dollars: My salary is enough to cover our needs, so I have decided to spend a little on myself. Before, I could read and write Somali only, but now I study English in a private school. And there is more to it. Farhia is going to work as a resident electrician once the hospital is up and running. The doctors have promised to teach me how to care for the patients. My dream is to become a midwife. While Farhia and her colleagues fit sockets in Borama, a group of young men are practicing their hair dressing skills in Hargeisa. Barbers, blacksmiths and shoemakers traditionally come from minority groups, and while they generally do not experience much competition from majority clans, they face another problem: The older generation of skilled workers is about to retire and the new generation has never learned the traditional skills. Kamal Allamin, a barber, says: We have to give priority to youth and minorities. We have to make the other clans understand that we master good skills, that we earn a significant amount, and that they have to respect us because we also get support from Save the Children Denmark. These are the reasons why I have had seventy trainees who have learned to cut hair and give a good shave. It is not easy for minorities to get other jobs, so if we do not learn our traditional skills our only option is gangs and crime. I pay for 22 people We returned from a refugee camp in Ethiopia in 1991, and my mother sold vegetables on the pavement. We had to reconstruct our own house in Hargeisa. Although both my parents are alive, my father is paralysed. I have sixteen siblings, and some relatives also live with us. All together there are twenty-two people in my family. I am the only one who earns an income, because no one else has ever had access to education, and there are no jobs for unskilled youth. I was one of the first to get training with the support of Save the Children Denmark. Now I have been working as an administrator for three years. I earn 400 US dollars a month, and I can pay school fees for my siblings. Hibo Ismael Ahmed, 21 years 26 Hope Hope 27

15 Partner organisations working with skills training Hargeisa Technical Institute is reviving public technical education in Somaliland and generally works to improve the level of skills. By providing skill training, Hargeisa Technical Institute contributes to the creation of opportunities for immediate employment for the benefit of entire families and communities. Amongst the skills provided are electrical house wiring, plumbing, masonry, carpentry, secretarial and computer skills, logistics and procurement as well as beauty and confectionery. Activist Network for Disabled People (ANDP) is a voluntary, non-governmental, non-political and non-profit local organisation founded by a group of human rights activists in ANDP, which also advocates for equal rights for all, is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities from all walks of life by providing them with literacy and numeracy classes, skills training and employment placement. GAVO is a youth based non-governmental, non-profit humanitarian organisation based in Berbera, Hargeisa and Burao. Founded in 1993 by volunteers who could not bear watching the plight of the mentally ill, children in difficult circumstances, and the marginalized and forgotten in the streets of Somaliland s large towns, GAVO was formed to improve the conditions of these vulnerable groups. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is an independent, humanitarian non-governmental organisation which provides assistance, protection and durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide. NRC promotes and protects the rights of people who have been forced to flee their countries, or their homes within their countries. CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation that fights global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE s community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunities and protect natural resources. In addition to delivering emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, CARE helps people rebuild their lives. Partner organisations working with education Diakonia is a Swedish organisation supporting more than four-hundred partner organisations in about thirty countries. With its partners, Diakonia forms a global network that works towards a greater number of people living a life of dignity. Diakonia s goal is fair and sustainable development where living standards for the most vulnerable people are improved, and democracy, human rights and gender equality are respected. HAVOYOCO, founded in 1992 in Hargeisa, Somaliland, works with pastoral development, humanitarian preparedness and response, social mobilisation and advocacy, HIV/AIDS prevention and skills training. Since its establishment, HAVOYOCO has supported and provided direct or indirect humanitarian services for over one million beneficiaries. Candlelight for Health, Education & Environment was initiated in 1995 as a voluntary, humanitarian, non-political, non-profit developmental organisation dedicated to the improvement of the quality of life in Somaliland. Candlelight works for appropriate education, the promotion of basic health care, elementary training in environmental conservation and the creation of employment through viable income generating activities. 28 Hope Hope 29

16 Published by Save the Children Denmark First published March 2010 ISBN EAN Permission to use, copy and distribute this document partly or as a whole is hereby provided granted that due source of reference appears in all copies. Text & photos by Lotte Ladegaard Designed by Westring + Welling A/S Printed by Handy-Print A/S This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Save the Children Denmark and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. Save the Children Denmark supports skills training and alternative basic education in Puntland and Somaliland, Somalia. Following the security advisory the research is limited to the North West Region of Somalia, the self-declared Republic of Somaliland. For more information please contact: Save the Children Denmark Somalia/Somaliland Programme Riverside Mews, off Riverside Drive P.O. Box Nairobi, Kenya Tel: / Save the Children Denmark Hargeisa, Somaliland Tel: Save the Children Denmark Rosenørns Allé Copenhagen V, Denmark Tel: Web: European Union, Somalia Operations Unit Delegation of the European Commissions to the Republic of Kenya Union House, Ragati Road, P.O. Box 45119, GPO Nairobi, Kenya Tel: / Web: 30 Hope Hope 31

17 Save the Children Denmark Mandate Save the Children is guided by the fundamental values expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Based on this mandate our vision and mission are: Vision A world which respects and values each child A world which listens to children and learns A world where all children have hope and opportunity Mission Save the Children fights for children s rights. We deliver immediate and lasting improvements to children s lives worldwide. Save the Children Denmark is part of the International Save the Children Alliance

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