Third Phase of IOM-Finland FINNSOM Project to Strengthen Education and Health Sectors with Support from Somali Diasporas

Mogadishu – The third phase of the Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) FINNSOM project was launched in Mogadishu on 4 May 2023. The initiative harnesses the expertise and knowledge of the Somali diaspora to enhance the capacity of Somalia’s health and education systems.

Through the project, IOM will facilitate the return of 40 highly qualified Somali diaspora experts from Finland in short-term professional assignments to work across health and education institutions facing technical gaps or a shortfall of personnel. The diasporas will also mentor and train at least 40 local Somali professionals and 40 recent graduates who will benefit from learning and development trainings to strengthen their competencies. 

“Thanks to the MIDA FINNSOM, we have supported over 200 diaspora experts to bring their knowledge and skills back to Somalia, and 126 local professionals and interns have participated in the project. All of these professionals have greatly contributed to improving the quality of services that are being delivered to Somalis,” said Frantz Celestin, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission during the launch.

The project has been supported by the Finland Ministry for Foreign Affairs since 2015, and it is part of the larger MIDA initiative that has been running in Somalia since 2008.

The education sector in Somalia faces significant challenges. Under-qualification and non-qualification of teachers is a pressing issue across the country, and even where teachers are trained and qualified, they may lack pedagogical skills, thus risking compromising the overall quality of education.

The public health system is also constrained by inadequate health infrastructure, low institutional capacity, scarce facilities and supplies and a limited skilled workforce.

“These diaspora experts and Somali professional will bridge the gaps thanks to the long-lasting commitment of Finland to support the Somali government and its partners. Additionally, the MIDA FINNSOM Projects have benefitted greatly from the Finnish-Somali diaspora, which has proven to be a valuable resource for development throughout the programme”, said H.E Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of Finland to Somalia. 

The new phase of the project was developed through a consultative process involving the Somali government and donor to ensure that specific priorities outlined in the Education Sector Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and the Essential Package for Health Services 2020 are achieved. The project aligns with both the Finland Country Strategy for Somalia 2021-2024 and the Finnish Country Programme for Somalia 2021-2024.

This new phase will continue to target institutions in remote and hard to reach areas, to ensure a more diversified geographical coverage, including rural areas too.  

The launch was attended by Nura Mustafa Mukhtar, State Minister of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education, and Maryan Mohamed Hassan, State Minister of the Ministry of Health and Human Services, who expressed their gratitude for the continuation of the project.

Since 2009, IOM has been actively supporting the pivotal role of diaspora as key development actors through the Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) programme.

Some of the diaspora who returned through MIDA FINNSOM decided to remain in Somalia after their assignments and have played instrumental roles in health and education institutions in the country. Read their stories here.

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SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being