The lack of provision of education and training opportunities in Somalia for the past two decades has produced a youth population that has neither the education nor the skills needed for obtaining gainful employment.This environment has heightened the sense of hopelessness and despair among the youth and increased their vulnerability to dangerous influences from extremist groups, risky adventures in the seas, and unsafe migration.
Providing young people with quality education, skills and opportunities for employment reduces the attraction of joining armed groups and getting involved in activities harmful to themselves and their communities. It is against this backdrop that our Developing Appropriate and Relevant Education and Training project was established in Somaliland.
DARET 4 was a one year extension of our initial 3- year Somali Pastoralist Education and Livelihood project intended to provide youth with an opportunity to firm up their numeracy and entrepreneurial skills and establish income generating activities of their choice. Refresher training aimed at strengthening income generating capabilities of the youth by enhancing access to technical skills training for improved livelihoods were offered across the four project areas.The young people were also offered courses in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and digital skills that would enable them to improve their prospects.
Participating in DARET project enabled our young beneficiaries to build their confidence and empowered them to take control of their lives. Moreover, the communities in the four project areas noticed a tangible change in the attitude and mind-set of participating youth, who see the project as an avenue to broadened prospects. AET developed a mentoring programme in which the community elders provided coaching and guidance for the young people.
Unlike other non-formal educational programmes, DARET offered the unique experience of providing its learners with a good foundation in numeracy and livelihood skills. By providing context specific vocational training, supported by life and foundation skills, the project was able to make a significant impact on youths’ ability to develop sustainable livelihoods, thereby improving economic resilience and reducing reliance on negative coping strategies.