Erigavo, Somaliland- A lifeline came to nineteen year old Abdillahi Abdirahman when he got an opportunity to enroll at a Skills Training Centre supported by UNICEF and implemented by Somaliland’s Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Family. The center provided forty-three youth, half of who are girls, with the opportunity to learn various Ministry of Education-certified vocational skills.
“I was informed about this training by my uncle while I was jobless and affected by the ongoing drought. I travelled from Hingalool to Erigavo, 125 kms from home, and I was lucky to be offered a slot at the Skills Training Centre,” Abdirahman explains. Sanaag region is approximately seven hundred kilometers from Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital and it’s one of the regions hard-hit by the drought.
Young people, especially in rural areas of Somaliland, face an uncertain future due to the lack of access to skills training and loss of livelihoods because of recurrent drought.
Formal training offered by the Skills Training Centre is a proven way to help youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to overcome the work challenges they experience and to become active contributors to the development of their communities and society.
After eight-months of training, more than forty Somaliland youths were imparted with electrical and tailoring skills that they believe will positively transform their lives. Upon graduation, Abdirahman was issued with a certificate and a toolbox to allow him start working immediately.
“I’m hopeful of getting work soon. I will go back to Hingalool, as there is no electrical technician based there and I can support my community. I’m grateful for obtaining the training and tools for work,” he states.
Naima Mohamed, his seventeen-year-old classmate, obtained basic education in Armale, a village with fewer job opportunities and facing a drought emergency.
“I joined the Skills Training Centre in august 2021 and I was taught tailoring skills. I wanted to take a course on tailoring or sewing and I was happy when the opportunity emerged,” she says.
“In the last months of our training we got some work from the local community which gave us some income. Together with some of my colleagues, we plan to open a tailoring centre where will be able to undertake greater work and serve the community well. In Erigavo, there are still shortages of tailors,” she explains.
On top of basic electrical and tailoring skills, the trainees were taught business skills and child safeguarding which covers child protection mechanisms and referral pathways.
“I would like to thank UNICEF for prioritizing and supporting the skills training for the youth in Sanaag. UNICEF is a key partner to my Ministry. Somaliland government has a strong and robust policy of supporting and establishing technical and vocational trainings for the youth and this venture is welcomed. We will work in partnership with UNICEF to see it succeeds,” says Somaliland Minister of Employment, Social Affairs and Family, Mustafa Mohamoud, during the graduation ceremony.
UNICEF with the support from United Nations CERF is committed to working with the Ministry of Education and Science to strengthen children’s resilience through education, as well upstream work. This includes technical assistance to shape policy, legislation, guidance, standards and curricula, analytical work to strengthen the evidence-based programming and support for advocacy.