Mogadishu, 10 November 2016—UN-Habitat has launched a programme intended to give Somali youth a greater say in issues affecting their lives.

Known as Shaqeyo (‘to work’ in Somali), the programme is anchored on the understanding that the youth can play an active and valuable role in bringing peace and development to their country.

“In Somalia, where youth form a significant portion of the population, their inclusion across social, political, and economic aspects of development is even more relevant. To see real change, there must be investment in Somali youth, and the Shaqeyso programme, offers just that,” UN-Habitat said in a statement.

Part of the UN Joint Programme on Youth Employment Somalia (YES), the Shaqeyso (‘to work’ in Somali) programme is a three-month intensive, integrated, and comprehensive training programme that addresses the needs of the youth through four core activities:

  • 120 hours of comprehensive life skills training with a new curriculum developed by UN-Habitat Somalia
  • 120 hours of vocational (construction) training with a new curriculum developed by UN-Habitat Somalia
  • 20 hours of ‘build your own business’ entrepreneurial training delivered through a licensed curriculum and business development trainer
  • Up to 240 hours of community works activities guided by various stakeholders, including UN-Habitat Somalia, youth participants themselves, city officials, and partner groups in the city

One hundred and eighty vulnerable youth from six districts of Mogadishu (Hawl-Wadag, Shingani, Bondhere, Shibis, Karan, and Abdi-Aziz) were registered for the first cohort. To ensure that there are equal opportunities for all, the participation of young women was highly encouraged, culminating in the registration of 70 females.

Having completed the first month of the programme, these youth have benefited immensely through learning about conflict management, problem solving, decision making, interpersonal and communication skills, teamwork and cooperation, and youth rights, while also gaining vocational training skills in construction. This combination makes them marketable within the local economy.

Avenues for achieving sustainability are built into the programme through entrepreneurial training. The training includes teaching youth how to establish their own (or a collaborative) production site, thereby providing them with the foundational management tools to successfully start a small-scale business.

In addition to building the capacity of the youth, the programme has become a platform for youth to engage with a range of local and federal leaders, including President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud.

Observing the life skills and vocational skills training, the President had the chance to appreciate the benefits the programme brings to Mogadishu youth. Taking the time to engage with the youth directly, he encouraged them to continue with the training, highlighting how their optimism towards positive change can contribute to the development of the nation.