he girls’ education programme in Somalia has received a major boost from the USAID, following the injection of $15 million to the UK-run project, which mostly targets adolescent girls in the Horn of Africa nation.
Somalia is one of the countries where access to education is a little bit difficult due to a dysfunctional government, that had struggled to pick for almost three decades. Most education programmes are backed by well-wishers in the country.
The programme mostly runs in Banadir, Hirshabelle, Jubaland and Southwest states, and the main aim is to give access to quality education to young girls in the federal republic of Somalia. It doesn’t have a presence in Galmadug and Puntland.
Currently, UK has been running the programme with a budget of $17.6 million and it’s currently supporting close to 42,000 girls who are in various primary schools and non-formal courses tailored to their needs.
The additional funding, the UK embassy says, will enable the programme to absorb 40,000 more girls aged 15 to 24 who have never attended school will get the chance to improve their lives through the 11‐month non-formal education course.
The joint funding will also provide support to young women to engage in income-generating activities and civic education, in addition to providing linkages to other development opportunities. It’s estimated that a total of 85,000 girls will benefit from this programme.
Apparently, the announcement comes ahead of the July 28-29 Global Education Summit. Along with Kenya, the UK will be co-hosting this event, aimed at raising $5 billion to ensure that all children, particularly those in developing countries including Somalia, have equitable access to quality education.
Kate Foster, the UK ambassador to Somalia hailed the initiative, adding that it positively contributes to the development of Somalia, a country that is in the rebuilding process mainly through the help of international partners.
“With this new USAID funding, we are expanding our approach to reach even more marginalised households and communities. It will build their resilience by providing young Somali women basic financial, literacy, numeracy and life skills,” she said.
“USAID is very excited to contribute to this successful UK-led initiative in order to provide more young Somali women with a foundational education they lack, yet so rightly deserve. These skills will provide women with increased livelihood and civic opportunities, which are critical for advancing Somalia’s economic and social development,” added USAID Somalia Mission Director Patrick Diskin.
Access to primary education remains a major challenge in Somalia, particularly for girls. According to the 2020 Somali Health and Demographic Survey, only 27 per cent of primary school‐aged children are receiving primary education, and only 25 percent of them are girls.
Multiple barriers affect access to education for adolescent girls in Somalia. The combination of the COVID‐19 outbreak and economic conditions has further worsened the exclusion of the most vulnerable adolescent girls and young women from education opportunities.
The UK, the US and the European Union are key financiers of Somalia through government to government or government to NGOs, and have positively transformed the country especially on matters education, security and even economically.