Somaliland: Pastoral Education Project Provides Formal Education

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Abdullahi Mohamed Hassan is 26 years old and lives in Durduri a village on the coastline of Sanaag region Somalilan

By: ADESO

Somalilandsun – Durduri, a village on the coastline of Sanaag region, Somaliland has an estimated population of 40 households comprising of fisher folk and agro-pastoralists.

Prolonged droughts have had a detrimental effect on livelihoods in Durduri. Pastoralists face a continual decline in livestock assets, while depletion in fishing stock due to illegal fishing from unauthorized international vessels, lack of proper equipment and the dry conditions mean that fishing is no longer a viable livelihood option for fisher folk.

In both cases, many are forced to accumulate high debts in order to meet their basic household needs. More and more of Durduri’s residents have become destitute, leaving their traditional livelihoods behind for more sedentary, less productive lifestyles.

Another great concern in Sanaag region is poor access to education for pastoral and fisher folk children. The periodic migration inherent to a nomadic lifestyle makes daily attendance to a fixed school largely impractical, while a lack of schools, poor teacher retention and high school fees mean that livestock rearing is often a more viable option than education.

In response to this, Abdullahi volunteered to serve his community as a teacher. Initially, he undertook this role without any support but his own belief that Allah will help him as he helps others. However, the community soon extended their support by temporarily providing him with an area of shade for use as a classroom. The new classroom lacked furniture, text books and other necessary facilities for teaching. For seating, any chairs available were made out of shrubs, and students often brought mats from their family homes. Overall, the classroom offered very limited protection against rain, sun and dust; elements known to affect daily life in Sanaag region.

From August 2012 to February 2013, Adeso implemented the Pastoral Education Project (PEP) with support from Finn Church Aid to improve access to quality education for pastoral children in Sanaag region, Somaliland/Somalia. PEP targeted 18 schools – eight formal and 10 semi-pastoral – while establishing and maintaining three mobile schools. Activities included the provision of school subsidies and scholastic materials and capacity building of Community Education Committees (CECs) to support schools and ensure sustainable outcomes. PEP also focused on school enrolment drives, targeting school-age children (7 – 14 years old) and youths (15 – 25 years old) through mosques, meetings, the influence of elders and public address systems. In addition, the project established child to child clubs, supporting them through a grant of $475 USD to implement activities that encourage peace-building and good governance.

During PEP, teachers from semi-pastoralist and mobile schools were trained on the Alternative Basic Education (ABE) Curriculum to give pastoral children the opportunity to access formal education. The ABE approach is more flexible in terms of time period and subjects studied, allowing students to ‘catch up’ and make the transition to formal primary and secondary schools.

The semi-pastoralist school of Durduri (among others) received monthly school subsidies of $100 USD over six months, which helped to improve access to education for pastoral children in the area, increasing the number of students to 35. Moreover, another school supported by PEP achieved a higher number of student enrolments than ever before – it had never had more than 15 students prior to the intervention.

Thanks to the grant received by the newly established local child to child club, Abdullahi now has a fully furnished classroom, complete with school materials provided by Adeso, including text books, a blackboard, chalk, solar lamps, and a tent to shield students from the outside elements.

http://adesoafrica.org

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