Teaching Somali Youth to Create Employment Opportunities
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2 Jun 2014

Youth unemployment is a considerable problem in Somalia, one that Shaqodoon, a skills and training organization that adopted the Somali word for ‘job seeker’, is striving to combat – in part by coordinating the first-ever GEW Somalia campaign last November.

The Somalia Human Development Report, produced by the United Nations in the fall of 2012, found that at 67 percent youth unemployment in Somalia is some of the highest in the world. Considering that more than 70 percent of the population is under 30 years of age, these unemployment statistics are troubling.

One solution to the high rate of unemployment and subsequent migration of Somali youth to other countries is entrepreneurship. Shaqodoon, the official GEW Somalia host organization since 2013, works with youth throughout the country to help equip them with work and life skills to not only improve their future prospects but also increase stability in the region.

GEW 2014 is still a few months away but the team at Shaqodoon is working year-round with the youth in their communities. The following is a guest post by Ahmed Ali, a program specialist at Shaqodoon.

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Shaqodoon is ready to host GEW 2014 this fall. In fact, over the past few months we have hosted a number of events to begin inspiring Somali youth and awakening their entrepreneurial spirits.

In April, Shaqodoon held two regional youth employment symposiums in Sahel and Awdal. The main objective of the symposiums was to bring together leading academics, policymakers, business leaders and development partners in Somalia to advance policies for youth employment, as well as advocate and promote job opportunities that can fuel economic development. The symposium featured a variety of presentations, lectures, group discussions and brainstorming sessions among participants. Ideas regarding the current employment and startup challenges Somali youth face were discussed, as well as resources that could be tapped immediately to tackle said challenges.

A separate workshop called ‘Linking Somali youth to the business community,’ organized by Shaqodoon on May 15, 2014, sought to connect youths to the private sector. The workshop took place in Hargiesa to facilitate linkages between training institutions, labor and business communities. It brought together small and medium enterprises, business leaders, TVET training centers, university graduates, government agencies and business development service providers to explore means to attract investment and expand business opportunities and employment in the country.

In addition to these events and workshops, Shaqodoon has also started training 680 young entrepreneurs interested in learning special techniques related to running small businesses. The trainings take place across seven main cities in Somalia and topics covered include: ‘Build Your Business’, ‘Visa’ (Financial Literacy), and work readiness that will create linkages with the newly created micro finance institutions supported by ARC, SILATECH and FAO. The trainings are designed to inspire youth but also to teach them the right tools needed to succeed at setting up and running a business.

Next week will be the launch of Shaqodoon’s Entrepreneurship programs for the year, including GEW 2014. On June 12, 2014 international delegates from around the world including Dr. Tariq Yousef, CEO of Silatech, international donors, government ministries, as well as representatives from universities, youth organizations and leading businesses in Somalia will come together to tackle youth unemployment and work to further Somalia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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Ahmed Ali Jama is a program specialist at Shaqodoon Organization, the official GEW Somalia host organization. With a background in non-profits and experience as a specialist in the field of entrepreneurship, Ahmed has helped Shaqodoon reach youth throughout Somalia with entrepreneurship mentoring and trainings, business development trainings, youth employment counseling, human resource development and job placements. Over the course of the last eight months, he has run a successful training program for 680 young entrepreneurs throughout Somalia to help combat the country’s rising youth unemployment rate.