This month Trócaire celebrated the graduation of 87 young people who participated in an EU-funded skills training project in Belet Hawa, Gedo, Somalia. The new programme was established by Trócaire with the objective of increasing the participation of youth and adults, including those from vulnerable groups, in vocational education and training.
Participants, who were between the ages of 14 and 29 years, took part in nine-month programmes in the areas of electrical installation, tailoring and beauty in a Trócaire-constructed technical and vocational education (TVET) centre equipped with classrooms, labs and workshops.
There are a large number of marginalised out of school and unemployed young people in the region who do not have access to formal educational opportunities due to poverty or marginalisation because of gender or clan.
More than 40% of the project participants were female. Women and girls in the region would traditionally not have access to such opportunities due to cultural norms.
Abdifatah Abdi, the Gedo TVET centre manager, said the project was much-needed and has bridged the skills gap for unemployed and unskilled youth in Belet Hawa. He believes that the project will promote peace and counter youth recruitment into armed militia groups in Somalia.
The graduating students received a start-up kit for their respective trades. Tailoring graduates received a sewing machine, clothing materials, and threads among other items. Beauty graduates received a hair dryer, a henna kit, and other salon items. Electrical installation students received a tool box for their line of work.
Beauty graduate Fartuun said of the course, ‘Before I joined this training course, I was just at home doing house chores like cooking, but now I’m so happy I gained these skills. I can use my own hands to earn a living.’
The project is part of Trócaire’s wider Education Programme in Gedo which currently supports 4,063 school-going children as well as teachers and support staff at 15 schools in four districts.
Trócaire also focuses on increasing the enrolment and retention of girls at school by providing ‘girls’ clubs’, which are extracurricular groups that help girls to support each other to address common issues that might otherwise lead to dropping out.
Trócaire, the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, was established by the Bishops’ Conference in 1973 to express the concern of the Irish Church for the suffering of the world’s poorest and most oppressed people. For more information please see www.trocaire.org.