Access to education is essential but it remains a big challenge in a protracted crisis environments like Somalia due to prolonged conflict, climatic shocks and weak governance systems.
Education in Somalia by the numbers
According to the Somalia Education Sector COVID-19 Response Plan, there are approximately 4.9 million school-aged children in Somalia, of whom an estimated 3 million are out of school. The majority of them live in southern and central Somalia. Those living in rural and refugee set-ups are found to be affected the most. The United Nations projects that a paltry 17% of them are enrolled in pre-secondary education- mostly in temporary learning institutions managed by non-governmental organisations.
The fragile education system was worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which found the sector already on its knees. COVID-19 disrupted learning across Somalia, forcing the closure of schools from March 18th, 2020 to September, 2020. According to the reports, approximately 814,000 school children were affected by the pandemic, with many feared to have dropped out of school.
Africa's Voices response to the crisis
Africa’s Voices partnered with the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) to support the implementation of the Education in Emergencies in Protracted Crisis 2019-2023 programme. AVF deployed radio dialogues and SMS feedback as an effective mechanism for an Education in Emergency (EiE) response that is accountable, inclusive and responsive to citizens’ voice.
AVF and its partner Katikati deployed in tandem two unique approaches:
The Common Social Accountability Platform for radio dialogues and SMS feedback
Kati-kati for 1-1 SMS engagement
The aim was to ensure that citizens are meaningfully consulted, and their voice, agency and influence are used to inform education service delivery. AVF's interactive radio platform allows to gain a community-level understanding on the barriers to education service provision using a large, inclusive and valued space for consulting citizens. Particular focus was paid to the impact of COVID-19 on the quality and accessibility of education services.
AVF in collaboration with MediaInk deployed radio talk shows across a network of seven (7) radio stations in 4 weeks. Different topics related to the education sector in Somalia were covered. Audiences were asked one open ended question each week to which they responded in their own terms and language via toll-free SMS. Participants were asked for consent to use their answer in the analysis and to ask further questions such as gender, age or location.
AVF also deployed a one-to-one SMS platform called Katikati (meaning ‘in-between’ in Swahili) aimed at opening up private two-way conversations that helped to delve deeper into personal stories from specific groups such as caregivers, teachers, students and school dropouts.
Total messages received - 28,121
Total participants - 6,585
Participants who consented to be included in analysis - 5,848
Participants who participated in the 1-1 conversations - 35
iskulada xafada ma ahan kuwa tayo leh una diyarsan dadka danta yar waxan qabna bahi waxbarasho o ah in aysan dadka dantayar oysan adin carurtoda iskulada
The schools in our neighbourhood are of poor quality and they are not equipped to serve the vulnerable people who don’t usually attend school.
Asc magacayga oo jooga magalada mugdisho gaar ahaan degmada dharkeenlay hadaan u soo laabto so aashi aniga hadaan tayda caruurta inta badan mahelaan waxbarasho ku filin dadka qaanra caruurtooda duruuf dhaqaale awgee guriya ayaa iskaga joogan barakacayaasha magadoodaba hasoo qaadin cid ugurmanayso way yartahay
My opinion on the topic is that most of the children don’t get enough education that covers their needs and some of the children are staying home and not going to school due to financial challenges. IDPs are worst affected because nobody supports them.
Magacu Waxay daboolaan baahiyaha bulshada laakiin waxaa jiro caqabado waaweyn oo kamidka tahay waazaarada waxbarashada
The schools cover the needs of the community but there are bigger challenges, one of them being the ministry of education.
FARIINTEEDA SU"ASHA HAGE. WAXBARASHADA DEGAANKEENAKA WAXAA SAMEEN KU LEH MA HEESTAAN GOOB KU HABOON TACLIINTA. MA HEESTAAN DARYEEL MAAMUL MACALIMIIN MANHAJ . WAXAA SAAMEEYEY COV19. DADKA DEEGANKA OO TABAR YAR BADANKOOD . MA AWOODAAN QARASHAADKA FIIGA ISKUULKA. MA HEESTAN GAADIID BASKA GEEYO ISKUULKA.
The challenge of education in our area is that we don’t have schools, we don’t have administrations, teachers and curriculum. The community was affected by COVID19. Even though most of the people in the community have only had limited training and they can not afford the costs of school fees and they don’t have cars that can transport their children to school.
Asc waan idin salaamay asxaapta hage run ahaantii halkaan wax waxbarasho kama jirto walal hal school oo kaliya ayaa kajiray kadib dagaalkii qawaa ilada waa laxiray halka school hadda waa 0/0
“Greetings, in reality there is no education here. We only had one school, after the civil war the only school was closed. Now we have zero schools” Man, Lower shabelle.
Waxaa Loo Baahanyahay In La Dardar Galiyo Tayenta Waxbarashada Dalka Iyo Muujinta Maamul Wanaag Ku Saleysan Xaga Shaqo Ku Helista Waxa Uu Qofku Soo Bartay! Mahadsanidiin
There is a need to enhance the quality of education in the country and to show good governance as well to prioritize educational-based hiring (what one has learned)! Thank you.
Waxaan Sojedina In Lafuro Gobo Waxbarasho Oo Lacag La Aan Ah Si Shahsi Walbo Ugu Dhirado Inu Waxbarto
I would suggest free educational centres to be opened so that everyone gets the courage to seek education.”
- Many participants reported satisfaction with schools but many also reported issues related to the poor quality of education, affordability and access.
- There are clear demands, especially from displaced populations but not exclusively, for free education and support for those most vulnerable.
- There is a view that teachers are not qualified to deliver good quality education, especially in light of the changes in the school curriculum which teachers are seen as not prepared for.
- There is a demand for teaching to be done in vernacular Somali language.
- Insecurity was mentioned as a factor hindering education in Banadir.
- There are also demands for teachers not to be selected based on the 4.5 clan system.
- There is need for job prospects to encourage schooling among young people.
- Participants largely asked for awareness and advocacy, especially on education for girls.
- There is need for support and encouragement from authorities by monitoring and inspecting schools and training teachers.
- Schools are not prepared to respond to the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on education system.
- Both formal and Quranic schooling are perceived important, but some participants explained how Quranic education is prioritised in some cases or intertwined with formal education, causing drop-outs and delays.
The provision of affordable, suitable and accessible education in Somalia, remains important to communities in Banadir. Efforts to support education in the emergency crisis and to ensure access to and quality education calls for collaboration among all stakeholders including the communities.
The deployment of the interactive radio methodology alongside the use of Kati-kati for more in-depth 1-1 conversations has helped to shed light on important issues and areas of prioritisation for supporting education in Banadir. Affordability and lack of accountability and monitoring are key. In addition, the many barriers and obstacles appear even more insurmountable for displaced communities and girls.
The findings demonstrated the long-term impacts of conflict and instability on access to education in Mogadishu, but also show pathways for change. Future actions and policies can harness these pathways suggested by participants to improve access and quality of education in Banadir.
Africa’s Voices Project Team:
Fatima Dahir Mohamed (Programme Officer), Nasra Ali (Project Officer), Zakaria Adan (Project Officer), Mohamed Abukar (Research Assistant), Alexander Simpson (Software Engineer), Lucas Malla (Senior Quantitative Researcher), Anna Colom (Director of Innovations and Learning), Hiba Salem (Education Consultant), Sharath Srinivasan (Senior Advisor), Mariana Marasoiu (Senior Software Engineer), Luke Church (Senior Advisor), and Samuel Kimeu (Executive Director).
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