USAID Contributes $15 Million to the Education of Somali Girls

PHOTO | COURTESY

Some 40,000 Somali schoolgirls from marginalized communities will benefit from a $15 million contribution from the US government, the United Kingdom Adolescent Girls Education in Somalia program said Monday.

The money will help adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 15-24 to improve their lives through an 11‐month nonformal education course.   

Patrick Diskin, Director USAID Somalia said young girls and women education would improve livelihoods and contribute to the country’s development.

“We are very excited to contribute to this successful UK-led initiative in order to provide more young Somali women with a foundational education they lack, yet so rightly deserve. These skills will provide women with increased livelihood and civic opportunities, which are critical for advancing Somalia’s economic and social development,” said Diskin.

The UK-funded girl and women education program in Banadir, Hirshabelle, Jubaland, and South West state aims to increase access to quality education and improve the lives of tens of thousands of poor girls.

“With this new USAID funding, we are expanding our approach to reach even more marginalized households and communities. It will build their resilience by providing young Somali women basic financial, literacy, numeracy and life skills,” said Kate Foster, British Ambassador to Somalia. 

More than $17 million in UK Aid, the AGES program supports 42,000 marginalized girls and women to access primary school, accelerated basic education, and nonformal courses tailored to their needs.

Somali girls’ access to primary education remains a major challenge. Only 27 percent of primary school age children receive primary education, with only 25 percent of them being girls, according to the 2020 Somali Health and Demographic Survey.

Sixty-five percent of young Somali women aged 20 to 24 have never attended school or have only received a basic education, compared to 53 percent of young men of the same age.

The $15 million aid will improve the number of girls getting basic education in a country that is recovering from decades of internal conflict.