With funding from Japan, UNIDO offers vocational training to young people in Somalia
Some 240 young Somalis took part in vocational training courses offered by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Kismayo, the third largest city and the main commercial hub in the region. Successful graduates have found employment in the construction sector and established small businesses to contribute to rebuilding their community.
The courses were made possible under the project “Countering violence and extremism through skills training and livelihoods support for at-risk youth in Kismayo”, funded by the Government of Japan.
With 70 per cent of the population in Somalia under the age of 30, youth employment is considered one of the greatest obstacles to the country’s economic recovery.
In the last few years, local authorities have worked hard to restore economic and political stability, however, after decades of conflict the critical shortage of skilled labour and employment generation remains one of the biggest challenges to economic growth in Kismayo.
Jonathan Eischen, who managed the project, brought the example of the so-called Brothers Welding Group. It consisted of six young men. UNIDO’s methodology focused on providing practical on-the-job skills training through the integration of small scale community infrastructure rehabilitation. Practical training exercises for the group of six youth included design and production of steel trusses for a new roof for a government maintenance yard, repair of a gate and fabrication and installation of a parking sunshade at the Kismayo International Airport,” he said.
“As soon as they finished the course and received tools and equipment from UNIDO, they quickly secured their first job, and began fabricating a large industrial-size garbage can for a local hotel. They reinvested their income back into the operations of their enterprise, and soon began producing windows, doors, poles for Internet installation, and doing small repair jobs in the community. Having gained a good reputation in the community for the quality of products and work, they are now also receiving raw materials in advance from local vendors who trust their business. The young guys have doubled their income since starting the Brothers Welding Group, and are supporting a total of 32 dependents.”
“We are very happy to see our business run successfully, and we are very much grateful to UNIDO for the skills we were provided,” said one of members of the Brothers Welding Group who did not want his name mentioned.
Eischen explained that UNIDO conducted post-training surveys which suggested that the project offered a fresh start to many young people, including women who constituted 30 per cent of project beneficiaries. Women who received toolkits reported new confidence in their ability to increase household income and subsequently improving food security and access to education for their children.
The graduates indicated that thanks to vocational and dedicated conflict minimization skills training they developed capacities to not only engage with community members from different clans, gender and age but also received more respect from their community and were less likely to join local armed groups.
According to Eischen, another project, which started in April and is also funded by the Government of Japan, is focusing on helping stabilize communities and restore livelihoods of at-risk youths living along border areas between Somalia and Kenya.
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UNIDO Project Manager