A Youth Charter to empower young Somali men and women
There is finally hope for peace and stability in Somalia. However, limited education opportunities combined with high rates of unemployment are still a major challenge for young men and women. According to the Somalia Human Development Report 2012 (HDR), four-fifths of the youth interviewed in south Central Somalia complained about social, economic and political exclusion. Dissatisfaction and vulnerability arising from this kind of exclusion can lead to conflict and risky behavior among the youth. “Youth are inclined to join banditry and piracy because they lack opportunities and financial resources”, said a 26-year-old graduate of CISP’s vocational training in Galkayo.
After extensive consultations with Somali youth for the production of the HDR, UNDP supported the formulation of the Somali Youth Charter, aimed to serve as one voice for the youth of Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia and built on the priorities, which emerged during the interviews, survey and focus group discussions.
Convinced of the importance of youth empowerment, participation and engagement for the future of Somalia, CISP actively supported the Youth Charter initiative. In October 2011, CISP presented the charter to the young men and women enrolled in the vocational training programme in Guriceel, Dhusamareeb, Cadaado, and Galkayo, and promoted group discussion on it.
The young men and women warmly welcomed the Charter, which brings to light concerns and issues that the youth believe need to be addressed to empower them socially, economically and politically.
“This Charter was the first opportunity given (to) the youth. They believed that no one cared about their rights before and with this Charter and its constitution, they feel like their voices can be heard for once. The constitution already states a lot of what they stipulate although there are a few things that are missing from it. Education and their rights as people need to be added to it. With these additions, the Charter can fully empower and accomplish the goals they set out to achieve”. Somali youth at discussion on youth charter at CISP vocational training centre in Guriceel. (Somalia Human Development Report 2012, page 161)
Read also UNDP’s page on the SOMALI YOUTH CHARTER
CISP’s commitment for the Somali youth
CISP believes that if the energy and potential of the Somali youth is channeled towards positive behaviour and opportunities, they can become productive citizens, and agents of peace and change. By investing in youth, we invest in the future of the country and build resilience for maximizing peace dividends.
With this in mind, CISP supports young people in Somalia with a number of initiatives. While providing youth with technical skills and business management capacity, and supporting the start up of innovative, market-driven and sustainable businesses, CISP aims also at developing their life skills, including reinforcement of cooperation, mediation ability and conflict resolution.
Recent initiatives include:
the Vocational Education and Training for Accelerated Promotion of Employment (VETAPE) programme, funded by the European Union (EU) READ MORE;
three Business Information Service Centers for women and young entrepreneurs, opened in Central Somalia with USAID funding WATCH THE VIDEO;
With the overall goal of improving peace and stability in South Central Somalia, CISP has planned new livelihood interventions aiming at the promotion of employability and entrepreneurship of youth.