The Somali authorities are launching a wide-ranging campaign to give one million children and youth access to education as part of an ambitious Go 2 School initiative.
The Somali government launched the campaign on World Literacy Day, Sept. 8, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced.
The Go 2 School initiative will cost an estimated $117 million and will run for three years, aiming to give a quarter of Somalia’s young people currently out of the education system a chance to learn, according to Sabahionline.
The campaign will run simultaneously in Mogadishu, Hargeisa, and Garowe and provide for construction and renovation of schools, teacher recruitment and training, basic education for younger children, skill training for older children and specialized programs for pastoral and internally displaced communities.
“Education is the key to the future of Somalia,” UNICEF’s Somalia Representative Sikander Khan said.
According to the BBC, in June Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon promised that his government would give education the same priority as defense and security.
Somali Minister for Development and Social Affairs Maryan Qasim Ahmed lauded the project. “Giving children and young people an education is crucial for their own future and that of their family and community,” she said. “But education is also crucial for maintaining peace and stability. Education can be Somalia’s true peace dividend.”
“We have lost two generations of children to war,” Qasim told the BBC, “the Somali child cannot wait for another generation.”
She said she was undeterred by the security threat from al-Shabab saying that education would prevent children joining the militant group.