Somalia

Empowering young people to protect themselves against gender-based violence and harmful practices

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© UNICEF Somalia/2021

Learning through participation

The Empowerment Transformative Training (ETT) programme aims to empower adolescents (girls and boys) to prevent sexual violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful cultural practices in Somalia and introduce boys to positive masculinity through participatory and playful methods. It forms part of the Safe Schools project which is supported by UNICEF with funding from the Government of Denmark.

Ali (not his real name) is a 12-year-old boy from Maqsuud School in Mogadishu, actively participated in the programme and after attending two sessions declared:

“I have only participated two sessions and I feel my value system, my personal strengths and my self-image. Knowing myself means separating who I am and who I want to be from what the world thinks I am and wants me to be and hoping more changes on me”

“These activities brought a lot of changes to our school where we are discussing more important topics that help the school, the community and our society. I am hoping having more activities to our school”.

Nine-year-old Salima (not her real name) is from Jalaqsan School, where she is in grade five and one of the active participants in the session. She offered some encouraging words to the other students at the session:

“This ETT training gives me the courage to talk about the emerging issues on life planning skills such as puberty, menstruation and hygiene problem-solving, interpersonal skills and assertiveness. And I would say to every girl not to be shy of her puberty and the situation she is undergoing during the puberty”

She concluded her speech by saying how happy she was to have been part of this session, with the other participants applauding in agreement.