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Speeches Shim

Somali students learning about the world  with ABE supplied learning materials
Somali students learning about the world with ABE supplied learning materials.
Valerie Price UNICEF

Somalia’s basic social services have been decimated due to civil unrest and years of underinvestment. USAID assists regional authorities and local communities by providing education services that mitigate conflict and improve the capacity of governance institutions to deliver quality and equitable services. USAID is expanding access to education, and contributing to a more stable future by:

  • Increase enrollment and retention of school age children from target groups.
  • Enhance capacity of government to develop and implement a non-formal education policy and strategy.
  • Strengthen capacity of community groups to support education programs.
  • Increase support for education among parents, elders, and religious leaders.
  • Improve reading outcomes.
  • Improve professional development and performance of teachers

More than two decades of conflict have nearly destroyed Somalia’s educational system, which is characterized by poor quality, insufficient numbers of qualified teachers, and inadequate resources. The educational deficit in Somalia is one of the most acute in the world. Of the total 4.7 million school-aged population (12.3m total Somali population), 972,000 children or one out of every five Somali student-aged child is displaced. Specifically, in the months of November 2016 to August 2017, close to 50,000 children lost the opportunity to go to school due to displacement.

Somalia’s pastoralist communities – which account for nearly 60% of Somalia’s population – face further impediments to education as communities move with their children and livestock in search of water and pasture, making education in normal, static schools impractical and often impossible.

Somalia hosts one of the world’s most significant out-of-school populations, with roughly 3 million out of 5 million children and youth of school-age not in school.  More than two decades of conflict have nearly destroyed Somalia’s educational system, which is characterized by poor quality, insufficient numbers of qualified teachers, and inadequate resources.  From November 2016 to August 2017 alone, close to 50,000 children lost the opportunity to go to school due to displacement from drought.  Conflict and periodic floods also displace many children and youth.

Assessments suggest that even for those children who are in school, they are not actually learning.  In an Early Grade Reading Assessment conducted in a limited sample of schools around Mogadishu testing students in Grades 2 through 4, when Grade 2 students were asked to read a passage, nearly half of students (47 percent) in Grade 2 could not identify a single word.

It is also important to note that gender discrimination has resulted in a massively skewed teaching pool.  National Education Management Information System (EMIS) 2017 data indicates that over 90% of primary and secondary teachers are male.  This skews the teaching pool, negatively impacting girls’ literacy, learning, and retention.

Because of this deficit, youth miss out on critical services, face limited economic opportunities, and become increasingly vulnerable to recruitment by extremists and/or criminal elements.

Alternative Basic Education for Pastoralists (ABE)

The Alternative Basic Education for Pastoralists (ABE) activity aims to expand the provision of education services and improve development and stability in target areas in Somalia. ABE seeks to improve access to equitable, quality education for pastoralists and other marginalized children in the Jubaland State of Somalia – an area of critical need. The target groups for ABE programs are children and youth (6 to 14 years old) who have been disconnected from school for significant periods of time or have never been to school.

ABE supports alternative basic education for pastoralists and urban Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) through a combination of approaches tailored to the way of life of targeted communities: a flexible calendar and timetables, temporary learning spaces along migration paths, mobile libraries, and complementary interactive audio instruction. A specific curriculum for basic education is being delivered in an accelerated format - condensing grades one to eight into four years.

ABE is strengthening a cadre of teachers through specialized training, which can adapt to the unique learning needs of students in nomadic communities and those living in IDP camps.  Through collective social mobilization activities, ABE is working with community groups to support education programs and increase engagement among parents, elders, and religious leaders.

ABE is also supporting the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in developing a robust Strategy for Non-Formal Education based on the evidence gathered through this initiative.

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Bar ama Baro ("Teach or Learn")

Bar ama Baro aims to increase access to quality education for a targeted number of out-of-school children and youth of ages approximately 8-15 in targeted regions of Somalia.  Bar ama Baro will increase student enrollment in accelerated education centers (AE), improve student safety, monitor improvements in literacy, numeracy and socio-emotional skills among students in these AE centers, and improve the Federal Government of Somalia’s capacity to standardize and regulate the accelerated education space.

Bar ama Baro aims to deliver quality education to over-aged out-of-school children by enabling them to reintegrate into the formal education system or complete a partial or full cycle of basic education in a compressed fashion.  Bar ama Baro’s accelerated education is consistent with the vision stated in Somalia’s national education priorities. 

Bar ama Baro will provide relevant, flexible, safe and quality education opportunities for out-of-school children and youth in Somalia, focusing on improving student learning outcomes in reading, numeracy and socio-emotional learning.  Particular attention will be paid to fostering positive gender norms for girls and boys, including a highlighted attention on girls’ access to and safety in schools.  Bar ama Baro will also provide technical assistance and build partnerships with federal, state, regional and local Ministry of Education counterparts to deliver, monitor and regulate accredited and flexible education opportunities to out-of-school children and youth.  The suite of interventions will ultimately promote stability during a key transition period in Somalia through giving out-of-school children and youth the education they deserve.

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