MOGADISHU, June 29, 2021—Over 100,000 children residing in Somalia’s most educationally disadvantaged areas will benefit from a World Bank financed education project that aims to increase access to primary education in underserved areas, particularly for girls.
This is the first World Bank financed investment in Somalia’s education sector in 30 years. To mark this critical milestone, the Federal Government of Somalia and the World Bank today signed the agreement for the $40 million Somalia Education for Human Capital Development Project to support Somalia rebuild its education system and get its children back to learning. The project will directly address constraints to girls’ enrolment by reducing distance to school, providing safe and conducive learning environments, recruiting female teachers and building a mindset of inclusion in the school and community.
“Investing in Somalia’s children is the most important investment that can be made to help the country return to prosperity,” said World Bank Country Manager, Kristina Svensson. “Ensuring that girls are empowered through education is at the center of building a more just, economically strong, politically stable, and peaceful country.”
Somalia’s education system was destroyed over years of conflict resulting in only 20%of its children accessing primary education. With 75%of the population under the age of 30, low educational attainment constrains future economic growth and poverty reduction and puts youth at risk. Girls have been especially disadvantaged with more than 72%of women in rural areas of Somalia having never attended school.
The project focuses on rapidly expanding access to education while strengthening public institutions that can contribute to the state building efforts of the country through basic service delivery to its citizens and addressing the drivers of fragility. It will support the government in developing and operationalizing fundamental elements of a functional education system, including a national student learning assessment.
“Education is a powerful means of socialization and identity development through the transmission of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes across generations which can contribute to breaking the cycle of violence and fragility,” said World Bank Senior Education Specialist, Huma Waheed.
Less than 40% of the country’s teachers are qualified to teach. To ensure high quality instruction takes place in Somalia’s classrooms, the project will develop a Teacher Professional Development Program to support 6,000 teachers improve instruction using digital technology. The initiative will take advantage of high connectivity in the country to provide digital devices and content to ensure that teachers can continue to teach and build their capacity, and that children can continue to learn even during times of pandemics and other shocks in the future.
With IDA support, Somalia is increasing its investments in human capital development which will be essential for the country to move out of a cycle of violence, instability and vulnerability.
*The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.