Better education and vocational training are not enough to steer young people in Somalia away from radical and violent groups such as al-Shabab. Instead they must be combined with opportunities to take part in community and civic projects in order to reduce violence, a new report has found.
This is the main conclusion of the “Critical Choices” study by international aid agency Mercy Corps, which collates the findings of an impact evaluation of their five year USAID-funded Somali Youth Leaders Initiative.
The report found that interventions that combined secondary education with civic engagement opportunities — such as taking part in local sanitation and hygiene campaigns or planting trees in school grounds — led to a 14 percent reduction in young people’s propensity to participate in violence, and a 20 percent drop in their likelihood of supporting violence.
In contrast, the results showed that while better access to secondary education by itself reduced actual participation in acts of political violence, it actually increased ideological support for political violence.
Somalia: Turkish foundation’s school hosts 500 students
Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV) on Tuesday said the Sheikh Sufi Imam Hatip High School in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, which it restored six years ago, currently hosts 500 students.
According to Turkey’s religious services consultant in Somalia Ahmet Akturk, numerous students were orphans. TDV said 270 of these students are boarders.
”All of the students’ costs are covered by TDV and the foundation will make sure the students continue their university studies,” he added.
Turkey began to set up various projects in Somalia in 2011 when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched an initiative to help the East African country, which was undergoing a famine due to drought.
The initiative later grew to other humanitarian activities and educational projects, according to the statement.
Sheikh Sufi Imam Hatip High School, which has existed in Mogadishu since 1960, stopped functioning in 1991 due to civil war.
According to TDV , a new protocol signed with the Ministry of Education of Somalia in 2012 led to the resumption of educational activities.
Approximately 2,000 students apply to the school every year but only a hundred are accepted due to quota restrictions.
Eleventh grade student Muhammad Hasan said the school was a “great opportunity” for all students there.
“We get a combination of scientific and religious knowledge, we learn in the best way,” Hasan added.
According to Leyla Sherif, another student, the school provides not only education but safety and health services too.
“Our school is one of the best schools in Somalia. We learn both religion and science and my favorite course is Turkish,” Leyla added.
Since 2011, TDV has built centers for the disabled, hospitals, and orphanages in Mogadishu.
Somali graduates praise peace, harmony and good social development in Malaysia
SINTOK: Despite the unrest in some parts of their country, two Somali graduates from Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) are keen to return home to serve the people.
Abbas Mohamad Mahdi, 28, and Ahmed Derow Isak, 32, from Mogadishu, are determined to return home and work in their home country after completing both their Bachelor and Master degrees in Information Technology.
The duo received their Master of Science (Information Technology) from UUM Pro-chancellor Tan Sri Osman Aroff today.
Abbas said as the second of six siblings, he wanted to support his younger siblings to further their education.
“My father passed away when I was eight years old and my mother raised the family by doing odd jobs.
“I was able to further my studies here thanks to my elder sister and a younger brother who helped me financially,” he said when met.
Abbas said he chose to come to UUM after he heard about it from friends who had furthered their studies at the university.
He initially planned to further his studies in Sudan but when he came to know about the peace, harmony and good social development enjoyed by Malaysians, he decided to come here to study.
Ahmed Derow said life in Malaysia was better than Somalia but he would still return home to work in his own country.
“My wife is there and so are my siblings who have helped to finance my studies here.
I will use the knowledge and experience I gained in this country to give back to my people back home,” he said.
Ahmad Derow said although his mother has migrated to United Kingdom and he could further his studies there, the cost that he need to bear was too high.
He said Malaysians should be grateful by the various benefits that they enjoy especially in the furthering their studies locally.
Turkish NGO puts Somali doctors through medical school
Five Somali doctors on Friday graduated from medical school under a special program organized by a Turkish NGO.
The new MDs got their diplomas from the program organized by Doctors Worldwide Turkey (DWWT) at a ceremony in Mogadishu, the capital of the Horn of Africa country.
Safa Simsek of the NGO told Anadolu Agency: “Apart from nine physicians who graduated last year from the program, which we started in 2013 in Somalia, five more doctors graduated this year, including three general practitioners and two internal medicine specialists.”
Simsek also pointed to Muhammad Osman, a 12-year-old Somali who got cataracts six years ago, and was cured by Turkish doctors in a free operation.
“To date we have performed 3,000 cataract surgeries in Somalia,” he added.
Cataracts are an eye condition that results in cloudy vision.