Restoring livelihoods and hope for a future in SomaliaYears of conflict and a protracted humanitarian crisis in Somalia has left a generation of vulnerable youth without means to provide for themselves and their families. In order to restore the hope of a future among internally displaced, returnees and vulnerable host communities, the Danish Refugee Council with funding from the USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) work to save lives as well as restore livelihoods.
A group of young men and women sit hunched over sewing machines in the camp for internally displaced persons, in Zone K in the district of Hodan in Mogadishu. They are all enrolled in DRC’s Voluntary Skills Training aimed at enhancing their career prospects.
Among them is Fadumo Barre Abdi, aged 28. Divorced and the sole provider of five children, she faced a number of challenges due to social stigma related to the divorce. She wasn’t able to feed her children, couldn’t pay health care and relied on handouts for survival.
Fadumo was nominated for the training by the local community leaders based on the fact that she was one of the most vulnerable IDPs in Zone-K settlement in Mogadishu, Somalia.
“I always had a passion for fashion and fabrics, so I was very excited when I was selected to attend the tailoring classes”, Fadumo says cheerfully.
“I gained a lot of knowledge and skills which I am putting to use, I am sewing new clothes, designing ties and dye fabric and I also mend torn clothes for people”, she said.
Fadumo completed the training in March 2017. Afterwards she and the other people in the training received their completion certificates, they were all provided with start-up kits to establish their own tailoring businesses. Fadumo’s business is thriving and she is grateful to DRC and OFDA for the training and support.
“I can now fend for my family by providing enough food and attending to other household needs”, she says.
In Somalia, many young people suffer inter-generational historical exclusion related to blocked transitions to adulthood due to multiple social, economic and political exclusions related to clan and cultural affiliations, gender, age, illiteracy and poverty, among other factors.
In IDP camps, they are often excluded in the development agenda and are much more vulnerable to their status as displaced people.
“This exclusion limits capabilities, opportunities and constricts their contributions to peacebuilding and development”, said Mr. Simon Nzioka, DRC Country Director for Somalia: “It also dampens the natural energy and enthusiasm of young people, and systematically hinders their potential for positive advancement.”
He fears social exclusion of youth puts them at risk of being involved with militia groups, violence and other negative coping mechanisms so as to survive.
“Provision of skills training and employment opportunities for young people will not only enable them to meet their immediate needs but will also help them to build their livelihoods,” said Mr Nzioka.
"I was very excited when I was selected to attend the tailoring classes”, Fadumo said. PHOTO: DRC
DRC support to Zone-K IDP camp in Hodan district, Mogadishu
In response to the protracted humanitarian crisis in Somalia, DRC with funding from USAID/OFDA has been responding to immediate needs of IDPs, returnees and vulnerable host communities with an aim of saving lives and restoring livelihoods. Interventions have especially been focused in the drought affected areas of Somaliland and Puntland, and conflict affected areas in South Central Somalia.
In Zone-K, an IDP settlement in Hodan district, Mogadishu, DRC has offered vocational trainings and short-term apprenticeships as well as trainings in business/accounting for young people in the area. The trainings identified by DRC are based on input from beneficiaries and the community and include areas of potential business establishments (such as carpentry, masonry, tailoring, electronics repair, computer and telephone repair training centres, beauty salons, etc.).