The European Union jointly with the Government of Puntland launched the second phase of the Puntland Education Sector Support Programme. The Waxbarashadu Waa Iftiin (Education is Light) phase II programme launched today is implemented by a consortium of NGOs comprising CARE, Save the Children, ADRA and VU Amsterdam University, and in close coordination with the Ministry of Education, Puntland.
The new programme will consolidate and expand the gains made under Waxbarashadu Waa Iftiin I which terminated in November 2015. The mentioned project was successful having directly benefited 21,000 primary school children, 6,700 secondary school children and 830 youth, the latter were equipped with vocational skills. In its bid to improve the learning environment, the programme constructed 10 new schools and 145 new classrooms.
The programme reflects full alignment with the education priorities set out in the Puntland's Education Sector Strategic Plan, Peace and State-building Goal (PSG 5) of the New Deal Compact as well as the recently unveiled Sustainable Development Goals. It will contribute to the deepening of the sector-wide approach to education programming introduced in 2012 in Puntland.
With this new and significant education support from the EU, educational infrastructure will be expanded, teachers will be trained; textbooks will be distributed; youth will be equipped with marketable vocational skills and the capacity of the Ministry of Education to deliver education services will be strengthened. The programme also incorporates special measures for children with special needs, children from pastoralist communities and girls. Waxbarashadu Waa Iftiin II will be complemented by another new EU funded education programme worth 1.9 Million Euros focusing on curriculum and examinations.
“Education is essential in alleviating poverty, building peaceful societies and promoting social inclusion. Educated youth are less likely to become radicalized, attracted to militias and join other destabilising activities. It is on this basis that the EU continues to prioritize and support education development in Puntland. The programme we are launching today will go a long way in improving and expanding education and vocational training opportunities for Somali children and youth in target areas,” said the EU Ambassador and Special Envoy to Somalia, Michele Cervone d’Urso.
The European Union remains the largest donor in the education sector in Somalia. With contributions of 85 million EUR between 2008 and 2013 and 61 million EUR for the period covering 2014 to 2020, the EU is contributing the positive education trends that have emerged in Somalia over the recent years.