by | Apr 1, 2024

Ismail Hussein (right) together with his classmates 

Ibrahim Hussein, a 15-year-old student in Al-Hidaya camp in Garasbaley district, Banadir region, Somalia, attends Nadifo Primary School as a sixth-grade student. He and his family were forced to move from Daare village in the Lower Shabelle region due to conflict and severe drought conditions. Their journey to the IDP camp took 15 days and was challenging, with a lack of food and water, and walking barefoot in the heat. Eventually, they reached Al-Hidaya IDP camp, where they were provided with cooked food by one of the families at the camp.

“We faced so many challenges on our way here; the journey was extremely harsh as we lacked enough food, and the little water we had soon ran out. Walking barefoot under the blazing heat also made it difficult to walk for long during the day,” Ibrahim recalls.

Furthermore, they faced challenges in the camp, including a shortage of food, water, shelter, and other necessities. Ibrahim’s mother took on menial jobs to support the household, and Ibrahim and his brother did small jobs in town, such as shoe shining.

According to a 2023 UNICEF Education Snapshot, approximately 4.84 million IDPs and non-displaced children aged 5 to 17 in Somalia lack access to quality education. The report states that children of displaced households are the most affected, with 1.7 million school-aged IDPs, of which 63% had no access to education prior to displacement. The lack of access to education in Somalia is due to factors such as displacement of populations, poverty, inequity, inadequate education infrastructure, conflict, to mention but a few.

Nadifo Primary School is one of four IDP schools supported by Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) and Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH). These organizations are working to improve access to quality education, increase enrollment and retention, and improve learning outcomes for displaced children in the Banadir region. Through this project, child enrollment has increased by 35.5%, and student performance has improved from 55% to 81%.

Recognizing the essential role of teachers, NAPAD prioritizes the professional development of teachers in supported schools. The teachers are provided with training sessions focused on child-centered inclusive teaching practices, improved delivery of literacy and numeracy skills, pedagogical skills, and inclusive and non-violent classroom management. Teachers are also supported with teaching resources, as well as providing learners with reading and writing materials which is meant to improve the teaching technique in the classrooms. NAPAD and its partners, like DKH, are implementing voucher programming to improve access to education for displaced children. Through this project, conditional school fee and food vouchers are provided to each child every month throughout the school year. These vouchers are used to pay teacher incentives and run the school feeding programs. This initiative allows children like Ibrahim to enroll and stay in school without much burden on their guardians’ families. The school feeding programs have been proven to improve child nutrition, school attendance, learner performance, and retention rates.

School feeding improves child nutrition, school attendance, learner performance, and higher school retention rates. 

NAPAD’s commitment extends beyond the classroom through the empowerment of Community Education Committees (CTCs) who oversee the quality of education in the IDP camps. The CTCs conduct community advocacy to raise awareness about the importance of providing a protective learning environment for all children and encourage the enrollment of out-of-school children into schools, especially adolescent girls.

Noor Ibrahim Hassan, a 42-year-old father and an active member of the Nadifo School Community Education Committee in Al-Hidaya camp, acknowledges NAPAD’s efforts in addressing access to education in these camps. This includes the construction of learning centers to increase capacity to safely accommodate learners, age and gender-friendly latrines, and water storage tanks. However, despite these strides, more learners in schools still require support to ensure they have access to quality and inclusive education.

NAPAD calls upon you to champion and Donate to our Education in Emergencies campaign. By doing so, you can help ensure that vulnerable children not protected or not accessing education have the opportunity for a brighter future. NAPAD’s education in emergencies programs aim to address barriers to education for children affected by instability, displacement, social exclusion, traditional gender norms, and poverty in Somalia. Through these programs, marginalized and vulnerable communities can be empowered.