UNICEF secures 2.9 million USD to bolster education in northern Somalia

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BOSSASO, SOMALIA - MAY 11: Somali IDPs are seen in Biyokulule Primary school on May 11, 2009 in Bossaso, Bari Region, Puntland State in Somalia. With support from UNICEF the school has teaching materials, sport facilities and spacious classrooms. The situation in Somalia is compounded by the combination of the ongoing conflict, economic collapse, rising criminality and natural disasters. Over one million people are internally displaced, mainly due to insecurities in Central and Southern regions. Children are killed or maimed by the cross fire and shelling, and verified reports indicate that children continue to be recruited into armed groups. School enrollment rate in somalia is among the lowest in the world and only twenty-nine per cent of the population has access to safe water. Bossaso town has became a host city for people fleeing conflict and food insecurity from the central and southern part of Somalia and eastern Ethiopia. About 40,000 internally displaced people (IDPS) leaving in twenty-seven camps in Bossaso relaying on casual employment, petty trade and food handouts for their livelihood. UNICEF (United Nations Children Fund) is providing children who are most affected by the crisis with food, water, and schooling. Somalia is considered the most dangerous place in the world for aid workers with the deterioration in the security situation over the past year, severely restricting access to the most vulnerable population. (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)
BOSSASO, SOMALIA – MAY 11: Somali IDPs are seen in Biyokulule Primary school on May 11, 2009, in Bossaso, Bari Region, Puntland State in Somalia. (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said Wednesday that it has received 2.9 million U.S. dollars from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to enhance access and improve the quality of basic education for crisis-affected children in Puntland, northeast Somalia.

UNICEF said the new funding, which comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, will play an integral part in supporting the UN agency, the Puntland Ministry of Education, and partners to increase equitable access to education, improve the quality of education and strengthen education management systems in Puntland.

“This new funding will not only help to give more children the opportunity to go to school but also equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life,” said Jesper Moller, UNICEF Somalia Representative ad interim.

The funds will help improve learning conditions in the schools, train teachers and mobilize, enroll and retain children in school.

They will also support efforts to make schools safer for girls and boys, including children with disabilities.

The new 2.9 million dollar contribution brings GPE’s funding to Puntland to a total of 13 million dollars for 2020, including 8.8 million dollars to support the education sector and 1.3 million dollars for COVID-19 response in the state.

GPE CEO Alice Albright said support for educating children in Puntland is more critical now than ever before.

“Families, schools and governments are struggling to cope with the impact of the pandemic,” she said. “This funding will help get more children in school and learning.”

Bashir Jama Mohamed, acting minister of Puntland Ministry of Education and Higher Education, said the continued support from the GPE has provided the regional state opportunity to safeguard children, particularly the most vulnerable ones, and give them a chance to learn.

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