For a number of reasons, Somaliland continues to be one of the least developed countries in the world. Therefore, Somaliland has many problems that are common to developing countries. One of the problems is “information poverty.” Information poverty refers directly to the lack of education and training. The problem of “information poverty” must be addressed if a country desires to develop. The problem-solving capacity of individuals and societies must be strengthened. That is one of the aims of education and it must start with basic education being provided at all levels.
When the development of any nation is measured, education is one of the priorities to be considered. It is accepted that reliable, long-term development can happen only when a considerable number of the threshold community/nation are able to acquire basic education. It is also accepted that development of a nation through education is longer lasting and completely different from that of infrastructure building. Education is an investment in human capital that serves as the basis for all other disciplines and in fact for all areas of life.
As overall development goals are established for a country, the education of citizens is a good, if not the best, way to reach those goals and to measure the positive results of those goals. Research conducted in many countries has proven that countries with a strong emphasis on education always experience increased economic development.
According to African Educational Trust the overall provision and quality of education in all three political areas of Somalia (Somaliland, Puntland and South and Central Somalia) is poor. The gross enrolment rate in primary schools is less than 30% for all students and an even lower percentage for girls. It is no wonder that the literacy rates of these regions are among the lowest in the world.
The good news is that there has been progress in providing better educational provisions and increased quality of education over the past decade both at the primary and secondary level. For example, UNICEF has reported a 16% increase in primary school enrolment in Somaliland in a single year. However, throughout Somaliland, Puntland and South and Central Somalia these higher enrolments, better provisions, and better quality of education are predominantly in urban areas. Many of the rural/interior areas have no schools, which means the majority of children and young people have no access to formal education.
In cases where there are schools in rural areas, they are available almost exclusively to students who live in settled communities. As a result of weak financial support for education in rural areas, students who live in nomadic and pastoral communities have the lowest enrollments, receive the lowest level of provisions, and receive the lowest quality of education.
The current educational system of Somaliland consists of primary level with eight grades and secondary level with four grades. The government provides free education to the primary level. Education is provided to secondary students for an affordable amount of money. As a result of these policies, the number of students enrolled in primary schools, secondary schools and even universities in urban Somaliland continues to grow rapidly. However, enrollment in pastoral communities continue to show little growth with most students being excluded from educational opportunities. Access to formal primary schools and non-formal education classes either within or without their communities is extremely limited and, in many cases, non-existent.
Thanks to the overt peace and stability of Somaliland, there are approximately 911 schools spread across the six regions of the country. While there is a near unanimous demand for education, an overwhelming majority (over 80% of boys and 90% of girls) of the school age population of Somaliland are not receiving any education. One of the main reasons is the absence of schools. However, this is too simple an answer to account for all the school age children not in school. Other reasons relate to the quality of schooling. socio-economic factors and cultural influences.
In recent years an emphasis has been given to the provision of higher education to the neglect of critically needed primary education. Primary education is an important level of education and serves as a foundation for future secondary and tertiary education. It prepares students for the secondary and tertiary education levels, both of which create a competent motivated and innovative workforce that can contribute to poverty reduction, social development, and economic development. The emphasis on and expansion of primary education will provide decentralized educational opportunities. This emphasis will benefit rural communities as their sons and daughters will become contributors to improved lifestyles, improved communities, and educational opportunities for the next generation. This is especially true for the underprivileged, small-scale agriculturalists, pastoralist, nomads, farmers and low-income earning urban residents.
Parents from the rural communities, educators and INGO officials, all described distance from school or learning centers as a major factor keeping children from enjoying and benefiting from a basic primary education. The long distance to travel to some primary schools coupled with low income of the parents make it difficult, if not impossible, for primary school age children to enjoy primary education. As a result it becomes almost impossible for them to enjoy the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty into which they were born. The constraints to their opportunity are:
- Poor parents cannot afford to send sons and daughters to schools located at great distances from the nearest school
- Parents are dependent on the labor their children provide, which means the time the children are walking reduces the time students available for the to help provide for the family
- Parents themselves are illiterate and consequently do not understand the value and benefits of education
- Parents fear harmful traditional practices like abduction, which greatly affects girl students and negatively affects their opportunity to pursue higher education.
Female students in rural areas face additional complications:
- Girls have an enormous workload because during day time they are expected to work in agricultural fields with boys and during the night have household cooking and other duties until midnight
- Girls collect firewood from far away forests and travel long distances to get water, which exposes them to abduction and sexual harassment
- Girls at a young age are many times forced into early marriage, which demoralizes young girls and discourages them from pursuing education.
Children in rural areas of developing nations who take their formal education at the initial age of primary school face great challenges. In fact, studies show that the main determining factor that keeps rural children of primary school age from attending school is the proximity of a school. The maximum distance the children have to travel from home to school varies from country to country depending on the topography. Yet it is commonly accepted that in primary education children should be able to get to school on foot in no more than 45 minutes [which is equivalent to 3 kilometers].
Additional constraints include no transportation, walking long distances on foot, crossing mountains, hills and rivers.
When we evaluate the situation of Ilmadado village at Ilinta Yar location in the district of Kalabaydh there is no primary school in 15 km radius for primary school age children who how live in the area. During the assessment we were told by community elders that there are more than 500 children in the ilinat yar and neighboring location who wants accesses to primary education.
The main reason given by these community elders is neglect. There is no educational support from government agencies nor any priority given to the provision of education. This is the reason given by 77% of a survey group. A second reason comes from the socioeconomic perspective. The rural community is tied closely to both economic and cultural practices. Children, especially girls, are an economic asset and assist their parents in domestic and commercial activities. Distances of 10 km require about 1 hour of travelling time in each direction. This plus the time in school is about the maximum amount of time parents will spare their children. It appears these indirect costs can outweigh the educational benefits for most of the rural community.
Community members at this time are interested in sending their children to school. But, the absence of a primary school in the area has forced them to have less hope for an educational opportunity for their children. They know that children who must travel long distances will sometimes quit their education at an early age. They will become a burden to their parents and the community. They also become a loss to the nation. Thus, local community groups in collaboration with the government and INGOs, have been striving to establish primary schools and alternative education centers in villages and towns.
Innovative Humanitarian Solutions has taken the initiative to change this situation in ilmadado village at ilinta yar location through the construction of a two-room primary school for children who live in the area, as well as in the nearby villages.
Gabiley is a beautiful city located 54 km west of Hargeisa, the national capital of Somaliland. Gabiley is located on Somaliland’s western fertile region known as “Dhul-beereed.” The majority of Somaliland food production (85%) is from this region, The broader Gabiley District has a total population of 320,430. The fertile land makes it the fastest growing population district in Somaliland.The Gabiley District, in which the city is situated, is inhabited by people from the Somali ethnic group. This district is wholly dominated by the Jibril Abokor sub-clan of the Habar Awal clan. Primary schools, Secondary schools and Universities are available throughout the district. The smaller communities have their own primary schools. For post-secondary education, Timacade University was opened in 1999 to serve the needs of the students. The education system in Gabiley region is growing at a faster pace than most of Somalia & Somaliland. However, according to the Somaliland Primary School Census 2011/2012 the distribution of primary schools is still more in Urban areas.
General Objectives of the Project:
- Creating access to primary school age girls and boys
- Contributing to the more enrollment proportion for girls
- Creating better and more conducive conditions for the learning and teaching process with the aim of motivating and attracting the children of the target area
- One standardized block with concrete building for four classrooms
- One standardized block for dry pit latrines
- School fence
- School furniture, supplies, curriculum, etc.
Expected outputs of the project
- The community, which is already motivated to send their children to school, will be more motivated with a school near them
- The government will be benefitted in the implementation of its education policy
- The citizens will benefit in their battle against poverty
The expected outcome of the project is that 500 children from the Ilmadado and nearby villages will have access to primary education.The availability of modern buildings with school facilities as the major factor ensures the prevalence of quality education by making the learning environment suitable for the learning-teaching process. This is on the front page of recent government policies and strategies.
In the near future, the school will have a playground to provide physical education and reading areas to provide students more opportunities for reading. This will have a positive impact on the overall academic performance of the student. This will be a stepping stone to ensure quality education.
There is an available plot of land in the existing Ilmadado village. During the assessment the elders from the community showed a high level of commitment to give this plot of land for the construction of the school. The location also has resources such as labor, water, soil, wood, stone, all of which are crucial to the construction of the school. In addition to the local community, citizens of the nearby ilinta yar area are also highly interested in and dedicated to the project. They also exhibited a high level of commitment to the necessary development endeavors to be undertaken by IHS. The interest, dedication and commitment to development are important resources in completing the project in the shortest possible time
Innovative Humanitarian Solutions has established a strong partnership with the Gabiley area administration, which creates a good environment to complete this project smoothly. Furthermore, other district government officials are highly committed to development issues. Therefore, all these factors create conditions where the project can be effectively executed in the project area.
The Gabiley area administration members confirmed their willingness to support the project in every way they can. In the meeting IHS team had with them September 2018, they expressed a firm belief that this project will have a great, positive impact on the quality of education in the area.
Formal agreement and construction bid
The tripartite agreement will be signed by representatives of Innovative Humanitarian Solutions, Ministry of Planning, and the Ministry of Education. There will be a process by which local construction contractors will have an opportunity to bid on the project. The contract for construction will be given to the winning bidder and construction will begin.
The construction of the building, which is a hollow cement block, plastered and painted is expected to be completed in four months. During this time school desks, chairs, learning aids, books, etc. will be secured. These will be delivered to the school as soon as possible.
Post Construction Plan
Gabiley District Administration and the District Educational Offices have confirmed that, up on its completion of the project, they will take full responsibility of the school by taking the following measures that ensure the sustainability of the project:
- Provide educational technical supports
- Allocate annual financial budget
- Assign teachers and administrative staff
- Make available teaching materials including text books
- Allocate the necessary budget for the maintenance of the school
- Administer and manage the school as the property of the community
- Invite international teams to provide educational training for school staff
Similarity, the beneficiaries has shown their commitment to provide close and all-around support to make the school services long lasting by being fully cognizant of that they are the owner of the school facilities.
Target group participation
The target beneficiaries of the project are the farmers and nomadic population of Ilinta Yar local area composed of eight rural villages. With the community and other stakeholders, Innovative Humanitarian Solutions will establish the project steering committee (PSC) and equip the committee with training on project management and community mobilization. The members of the PSC will participate in identification of the type and amount of the contribution of the beneficiaries, monitoring and evaluation and in the overall management of the project.
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