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Issue 479 -- 2nd - 8th Apr 2011
Voices To Be Heard: Youth Unemployment In Somaliland, Is There Any Government Policy Intervention?
Written by:Mohamed O.Osman Guudle (B.A)
People are the true wealth of Nations, Development is therefore only possible with the full participation of the people using their experiences, skills and energies to every extent possible. Furthermore, development is about expanding the choices people have in order to lead lives that they value. This process goes far beyond economic growth, which is only a means of enlarging people’s choices. The youth of any country especially in Somaliland play a vital role in achieving the real goals of development. The concerns of a population’s youth and their potential as development actors have so far failed to attract the full attention of policy makers and Development partners.
The young people of Somaliland live in a time of incredible change and challenges, they are significant and extremely valuable segment of the society, but are the most vulnerable in terms of employment, health and empowerment. In general the people of Somaliland and young people in particular, are experiencing a range of major development Challenges such as weak public governance institution, limited public infra-structure, in justice of the labor market during recruitment of local, Governmental and International agencies, extensive Khat addiction, high extent of poverty, illiteracy and inflation rates.
However, against all odds, young people in Somaliland are demonstrating enormous resilience and a strong capacity to survive. With adequate support, guidance and skills, they can lay the foundations for the sustainable development of Somaliland. Their participation in the decision-making processes of concern to them – in particular when the future of their country and peace building is at stake - can empower them to be agents of positive change in the society.
Furthermore, young people in Somaliland are not a homogenous group. They experience different circumstances and opportunities depending on their socio-economic status, gender, abilities and geographic location. Certain groups of young people deserve special attention, namely nomadic youth, young people with disabilities, unemployed young people, marginalized young people, out of school young people, orphans and vulnerable young people and internally displaced young people.
The population of Somaliland is estimated about 3.7 million people with approximately 70% of the population below the age of 30 years. Therefore, the challenges related to political, economic and social development during the ongoing young people, who are Somaliland’s future workers, business people, parents, citizens and leaders. For this reason, the Somaliland Human Development Report 2010 (Upcoming) is focused on youth. It examines the problems and challenges they face, their current and likely future role in Somaliland society, and ways to strengthen young people’s developments.
The Young population in Somaliland has extremely live Challenges, their situation and future prospects are of vital concern to us all. Many of them face high unemployment or joblessness and serious difficulties in getting a firm foothold into the labor market. To be clear, let us see some profile fragment of the youth, which provides some insights into the world of young men and women, and their levels of disadvantage. According to Unicef Education survey 2005/2006, out of a Population 200,000 14-17 year olds in Somaliland, there are only 0f 13, 700 Secondary Students. Gross Enrolment Rate (GER of 7%) and 3225 TVET Students (GER 1.6%) are enrolled, for female youth, the GER was only 3.2% and 1.3% in Secondary and TVETs, respectively.
Moreover, this data also shows that there are only 424 Secondary teachers of which there are only 4 female teachers,( less than 1%) . Sexually transmitted disease rates are currently low comparing to other Horn of African countries, i.e. Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, but growing HIV prevalence 0f 1.79%, Syphilis prevalence of 2% and STD syndrome Prevalence of 6.3%. 95% of the young women experience Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The level of Khat addiction is estimated more than 20% of the Population including youth, which cause extensive poverty, laziness and high unemployment rate.
Education, employment, health, starting a family and exercising civic rights are key components of youth age transition. Young people’s ability to face these challenges depends to a great extent on the social and economic environments in which they are living. Decisions made at this time are critical not only for the individual’s future, but for the future of his or her society. Although these decisions appear to be highly personal, they cannot be separated from his or her engagement with family, state and society. All people and institutions therefore have a strong interest in helping young people navigate these transitions.
Coming to the point, employment is a basic right of any young person, nevertheless, Majority of the Somaliland youth are unemployed, which became one of the highest in Poor countries (Including those who have degree level qualifications). In every year hundreds of young people graduate from different faculties, but unfortunately they are absent from the labor market. The nature of recruitment policies of Business companies, private people, Local NGOs, INGOs and also governmental agencies are influenced by Clan Nepotism and personal interests or bias. This problem never encourages ‘the Right person with the right position’ which makes the young people of Somaliland an ignored labor force.
The government Of Somaliland, whether current or previous Administration had failed, to draw upon studies and researches to get adequate data about the youth of Somaliland which represents a major tool of measuring developmental challenge of the youth. Somaliland planners wishing to asses and increases the role and participation opportunities of young people are desperate. There is no clear Job creation strategy, this will put the young people of the Country in to a despair.
This article emphasized that helping young people in their career development is an important task for youth workers and educators. The lack of empirical research in this area represents a general lack of academic and political consideration about young people’s attitudes towards their prospects in the modern labor market. Youth unemployment in Somaliland like any other least Developed countries (LDCs) has its own unique problems and the programmes and schemes designed to help young people find jobs have inherent advantages and disadvantages.
Finally, I would like to recommend the followings:
1. To define the relationship of enterprise-based youth employment initiatives with wider youth employment programmes.
2. To develop an overall conceptual framework for various categories of enterprise-based youth employment initiatives and their major components.
3. To identify major lessons learned to date with regard to the design and implementation of enterprise based youth employment policies and programmes.
4. The government should establish an immediate strategy regarding youth employment policies
5. Expert Group Meeting on Jobs for Youth National Strategies for Employment Promotion should be held.
Mohamed O.Osman Guudle (B.A) (M.A Prospective Candidate in Development Economics)
Somaliland Social and Economics Research Center, Hargeysa
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