IOM has concluded a ten-month life skills training for 206 displaced young people in Baidoa, South Central Somalia. The project, which was implemented in collaboration with the Rural Education and Agriculture Development Organization (READO), started on 1 July 2014 and was funded by the Common Humanitarian Fund.
Participants, who included young women and men, were selected from internally displaced families and the host community, and were trained in carpentry, masonry, business entrepreneurship, tie-and-dye, tailoring and traditional weaving skills.
A graduation ceremony which marked the end of the training was attended by Ministers from the Interim South West Administration (ISWA), internally displaced persons’ (IDP) camp leaders, civil society and other groups.
“The community can already attest to the benefits of this training. The carpentry students made desks for local primary and secondary schools. Two IDP camps also had their latrines rehabilitated by the masonry and carpentry students. These new skills offer new opportunities for our youth in terms of employment and reduce the likelihood that they will migrate irregularly or join militia groups,” said Abdullahi Abdikadar Mohamed, IOM’s livelihoods project focal point in Baidoa.
One of the beneficiaries, 21-year-old divorcee Amina*, lives in Kormari IDP settlement with her two children. After being trained in business entrepreneurship, she was given a business kiosk. She said: “It was not easy for me take care of two children on my own, especially because I was used to relying on my husband for everything. My new business skills have allowed me to liberate myself from dependence on other people.”
Chief Derow Yakub Ali, Chief Ali Abdirahman Ahmed and Chief Yusuf Abdi from the Council of Southwest Regions all welcomed the project and thanked IOM and READO. The Minster of Education of the Interim South West Administration (ISWA), the Deputy Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disability, the Baidoa District Commissioner/Mayor, and the Deputy Governor of Bay Region also reiterated the need for more projects that contribute to youth employment in Somalia.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Education Minster of South-West State, Sadad Mohamed Nur Ali, urged the graduates to use their skills to support the local government’s efforts to build a self-sustaining economy in Somalia.
Prolonged conflict and food insecurity has severely affected the lives of many families in southern Somalia’s newly liberated Bay region over the past year. Massive displacements have taken place in most neighboring villages and districts in Bakool region.
Since March 2014, military operations by the Somali Government and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops against Al Shabaab militia have been ongoing. As a result between March and August 2014, a total of 1,780 IDPs arrived in Baidoa in search of assistance. This brought the total number of IDPS in Baidoa to 51,294 (8,549 households).
*Name changed to protect her identity.