Abdullah was able to register for one of the free classes offered by Modern Management Company International as part of a project run by the International Organization of Migration (IOM), funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
During the six-month trainee programme, young people like Abdullah have the opportunity to develop new skills in tailoring, plumbing, and electrical technology that can boost their chances of employment.
“At the beginning of the project, we consulted with the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources as well as youth groups to see what kind of support they needed,” explains Abdi Salah, IOM’s team leader for water and sanitation-related activities in Baidoa.
“After several discussions, the groups agreed that we needed to focus on the critical need to reduce the economic and social exclusion of vulnerable low-income groups, especially those impacted by displacement.”
Youth unemployment remains a widespread issue in Somalia, particularly in cities like Baidoa and Kismayo where resources are overstretched, partly due to a rapid population growth linked to forced displacement. Both cities host tens of thousands of displaced persons who had to abandon their villages in rural areas and move to urban centres as they were no longer able to rely on land or animals for their livelihoods.
“Baidoa and Kismayo have welcomed thousands of people forced to flee after losing their livestock and crops,” explains Abdi. The current drought has displaced over 1 million people who are now faced with famine and extreme food shortages.
Even before the drought, the two cities were big displacement hubs due to conflict and climate shocks. Displaced persons in Somalia have limited education and job opportunities and often live in crowded settlements.
Since most of those displaced were farmers, finding alternative livelihoods in the city proved to be a struggle as they often lacked the skills needed to be selected for qualified jobs.