The Stabilization Through Education Programme Changes Learning Landscape in Somalia

Mogadishu - The Stabilization Through Education Programme (STEP) has transformed the education system in hard-to-reach areas of Somalia providing a secure learning environment for more than 10,000 students. Launched in April 2022, the programme is now ending, leaving a lasting impact on education in Marka, Kismayo, Jamaane, Barawe and Mahas.  

Three decades of conflict and a myriad of challenges, including limited infrastructure, teacher shortages, curriculum obstacles, poverty and security concerns has caused immense disruptions in the education sector. STEP has addressed these challenges through construction and rehabilitation of 29 schools which expanded access to education and enhanced the capacity of local authorities to deliver basic education.  

These initiatives saw a surge in school registrations a testament to the programme’s effectiveness. To foster an environment of knowledge and exploration, two libraries were built.  STEP ensured these interventions were not imposed but rather government-led and community driven.  

Authorities, communities and stakeholders actively participated in the process of identifying these interventions instilling a sense of ownership and responsibility. 112 classrooms were built, 84 were refurbished and each furnished with desks, chairs and other learning aids, creating conducive learning spaces.  

STEP commenced its efforts in April 2022, aligning with Somalia’s Education Sector Strategic Plan ESSP) 2022-2026 STEP and was implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education and funded by USAID.  

Frantz Celestin, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission, acknowledged the collective effort in restoring education delivery. "Progress in Somalia is a collective effort between authorities, partners, and communities through engagement of all stakeholders involved." 

Over 18 months, 104 gender-segregated latrines were constructed, providing learners with privacy and a sense of security. Clean water for personal hygiene and drinking became a reality through functional water pipeline systems installed in the schools. 

"Before the rehabilitation, learning was not suitable. Now, with clean water and ample space, more students have enrolled, and concentration has improved." Abdulla Ahmed, a student at Qaasim Albarawi School.  

IOM’s innovative matching grants mechanism became a catalyst for community engagement encouraging joint investments by community groups promoting collective action and social cohesion raising USD 50,000. The funding contributed to the construction of the Istanbul Primary School in the Istanbul displacement site, bringing education closer to students.  

Prior to its establishment, the nearest primary schools were in neighbouring villages several kilometers away from the site. Due to the distance, most children stayed at home exposing them to vulnerabilities such as child labour, recruitment to violent extremist groups and early marriages. 

"The matching grants program played a crucial role in educating our communities to be less dependent on aid and promoting preparedness in the face of climatic challenges."  Emphasized Farhan Noor Qorane, Chairman of the Community Project Implementation Unit, Istanbul displacement site.

The innovative matching grants mechanism adopted by IOM became a catalyst for community engagement, raising USD 50,000. This funding contributed to the construction of additional classrooms, staffrooms, and water reservoirs. 

As the world celebrates the International Day of Education, Frantz Celestin expressed his heartfelt joy, "It warms my heart to know that children in Somalia now have an equal opportunity to access education in a safe environment, just like other children around the world."

For more information: Muthoni Njenga, Somalia Media and Communications,