Transforming the Youth livelihood in Somalia Through Provision of Technical Skills

Omar Hassan Abdi at Dalxiiska Training Center in Kismayo during his training sessions

There are things we want to happen. Sometimes we wish they would happen. And there are times that others make them happen.

For 25 year old Omar Hassan Abdi, he wanted to finish his school, but dropped out in primary school due to lack of school fees. He wished his relatives would help with his school fees, but they also had other obligations to carry out. Out of school for a long time and jobless, Omar tried to make things happen, but it was not easy.

“Being jobless is difficult. I tried to open a business in the camp with some little money that I had saved from doing odd jobs, but it failed to pick up and I had to close down, he reveals.

The educational and training needs of youth to gain legitimate employment are often not met due non-alignment of skills development to local and traditional job markets and livelihood opportunities. General unemployment levels in Somalia are estimated to be over 50% while youth unemployment stands at 67%.

Jobless and with no source of income, Omar felt like his life was spiraling out of control until he got admission at the Dalxiiska Training centre.

“I got information about the centre through community mobilizers. I got encouraged and went to the centre where after looking at the courses being offered, I settled on solar.  This is because I saw the technicians in this field are few and I wanted to be among the few who offer solar services in the town.”

Omar with a colleague at work. After graduation from Dalxiiska Training Center, he got employment with Solagen Company, one of the biggest Solar company in Kismayo

In collaboration with UNICEF and state authorities, ADRA through Youth Engagement in WASH Services (YEWS) project, established the Dalxiiska Training Centre in Kismayo to train youth on various courses like plumbing, hand pump and electromagnetic pump repair; solar installation and repair; latrine construction and desludging; and soap making and henna application. The skills gained would guarantee a long-term engagement as well as empower the young people by offering employment and meaningful roles aligned with their skills, experience, enthusiasm, and interest.

Through the training, Omar knew he had a skill to offer that would benefit his community.

“The training has enabled me to become a skillful technician and now I work with Solagen company, which is one of the biggest solar company here in Kismayo,” he proudly says.

Having a source of income has changed everything as he is now able to support his mother and have enough to save.

“I wasn’t earning before, but now I earn at least US$ 15-20 per day and I also ensure that I save US$ 10 every day.”

Omar, at work checking on a solar panel. He now works with Solagen company, one of the biggest solar company in Kismayo

However, with the corona pandemic, he hasn’t been able to save for a while since most activities were affected.

“Most activities were so low and for almost four months I didn’t get any work except for two installations that ADRA engaged me in one the schools they support,” he states.

Somalia reported the first COVID-19 case on 19th March. Since then, 3,051 cases have been confirmed as of 11th July. In Jubaland state of Somalia, over 200 cases have been confirmed in the same period.

Despite the virus’ setback, Omar is proud of the achievements he has made so far.

“I have advanced my entire life and I am proud that I am a professional solar technician.”

With an assured income, Omar is also hopeful to have a family of his own someday.

Approximately 292 youth (147 males; 145 females) aged between 15-30 years hailing from various informal IDP settlements were trained through ADRA’s programme at the Dalxiiska Training Center. The training has empowered the youth who are now gainfully engaged in the improvement of WASH services in Kismayo and other locations. 

The Youth Engagement in WASH Services (YEWS) project was aimed at increasing community access to WASH services and youth engagement through water, sanitation and hygiene vocational training and work in IDP settings in Kismayo, South Central Somalia. The project targeted the great Dalxiiska IDP camp in Kismayo District with an estimated population of 52,950 persons and the outlying villages in Kismayo.