Background information

Nomadic pastoralists account for 65 per cent of the population in Somalia. Their non-sedentary way of life translates into a unique set of development needs, as well as vulnerabilities to environmental changes and conflict. Due to their livelihood strategies, pastoralist children are amongst the most excluded from education opportunities. Both girls and boys are engaged in herding animals from an early age and girls look after their younger siblings and work in the home. In addition, a recent assessment in Dollow confirmed that pastoralists were significantly further from the nearest school facility than any other livelihood group. As a result, less than 12% of rural children in Central South Somalia are enrolled in primary school.

Alternative Basic Education (ABE) is a promising avenue in terms of reaching pastoralist children in Somalia. Its flexible approach is adapted to the nomadic lifestyle and offers a second chance for out-of-school children who missed out on the opportunity to enroll in formal primary school. With support from UNICEF, ABE has been successfully piloted and adopted by the Ministries of Education in Puntland and Somaliland, but is still in its infancy in Central South Somalia. ABE’s flexible approach includes an accelerated curriculum, flexible class hours and school calendar, mobile schools, camel libraries and interactive radio instruction.

This programme proposes to pilot the delivery of quality ABE programmes in 35 pastoralist communities in three districts of Gedo region (Dollow, Luuq and Belet Hawa) that have been marginalized from education services. The evidence gathered and disseminated through this programme will be used to inform the Federal Government of Somalia and the State of Jubaland’s wider policy agenda on non-formal education, with the aim of fostering the sustainable management, monitoring and financing of the sub-sector.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education (MOECHE), UNICEF entered into partnership with Himilo Relief and Development Association (HIRDA), to implement this programme. HIRDA works in conjunction with UNICEF, MOECHE and other organizations on complementary components of the programme where they have specific technical expertise and the necessary experience to foster sustainable results and build the capacity of government counterparts.

HIRDA focuses on its demonstrated strengths: community mobilization, establishment of temporary learning spaces, training and mentoring of community education committees and child to child clubs, delivery of teaching and learning materials and regular monitoring.