The European Union jointly with the Government of the Puntland State of Somalia launched the third phase of the Puntland Education Sector Support Programme worth 7.3 million Euro.
The initiative called 'Waxbarashadu Waa Iftiin' ('Education is Light') is implemented by CARE and Save the Children and in close coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Puntland.
It will enrol over 56,000 students over a 3-year period. It reflects full alignment with the education priorities set out in the Puntland Education Sector Strategic Plan (2017-2021) and Sustainable Development Goal 4.
The President Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland launched the programme at Peace and Research Development Centre in Garowe.
The new programme will consolidate and expand the achievements made under two previous phases of EU support that have reached over 58,000 students; constructed 17 new schools, 228 new classrooms; and 66 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities. This new phase will add 16 schools, 84 classrooms, 23 Water Sanitation and Hygiene facilities and 4 secondary school laboratories. 200 new teachers will be trained while 300 youth will be equipped with marketable vocational skills. The programme also incorporates support measures for children with special needs, children from pastoralist communities and girls.
"Education is essential in alleviating poverty, building peaceful societies and promoting social inclusion. In the face of security related challenges that Somalia faces today, educated youth are less likely to become radicalized, attracted to militias and join other destabilising activities. The programme we are launching today will go a long way in improving and expanding education and vocational training opportunities that will benefit Somali children and youth," said the EU Chargé d'Affaires, Fulgencio Garrido Ruiz.
The Minister of Education and Higher Education for the Puntland State of Somalia, Hon. Abdullahi Mohamed Hassan appreciated longstanding partnership between the EU and the Somali people, and in particular the sustained support to the education sector. He added, "the new programme will support implementation of our education sector strategic plan by prioritizing activities that foster access to quality education, completion and transition."
CARE Somalia's Country Director, Abdullahi Iman stressed, "The EU investment will enable the Ministry of Education, school communities and implementing partners to provide the required curriculum support resources, train teachers, improve the conditions in the schools and subsequently mobilize, enroll and retain the students in target schools. This is the essence of quality education."