Access to education is essential but it remains a big challenge in a protracted crisis environment like Somalia, due to prolonged conflict, climatic shocks and weak governance systems.
According to the Somalia Education Sector COVID-19 Response Plan, there are approximately 4.9 million school-aged children in Somalia, of whom an estimated 3 million are out of school. The majority of them live in southern and central Somalia. Those living in rural and refugee setups are found to be affected the most. The United Nations projects that a paltry 17% of them are enrolled in pre-secondary education- mostly in temporary learning institutions managed by non-governmental organisations.
The fragile education system was worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which found the sector already on its knees. COVID-19 disrupted learning across Somalia, forcing the closure of schools from March 18th, 2020 to September, 2020. According to the reports, approximately 814,000 school children were affected by the pandemic, with many feared to have dropped out of school.
Africa’s Voices partnered with the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) to support the implementation of the Education in Emergencies in Protracted Crisis 2019-2023 programme. AVF implemented its Common Social Accountability Platform that combines radio dialogues and SMS feedback as an effective mechanism for an Education in Emergency (EiE) response that is accountable, inclusive and responsive to citizens’ voice.
AVF and its partner Katikati deployed in tandem two unique approaches:
The aim was to ensure that citizens are meaningfully consulted, and their voice, agency and influence are used to inform education service delivery. AVF’s interactive radio platform allows using a large, inclusive and valued space for consulting citizens to gain a community-level understanding on the barriers to education service provision. Particular focus was paid to the impact of COVID-19 on the quality and accessibility of education services.
AVF in collaboration with MediaInk deployed radio talk shows across a network of seven (7) radio stations in 4 weeks. Different topics related to the education sector in Somalia were covered. Audiences were asked one open ended question each week to which they responded in their own terms and language via toll-free SMS. Participants were asked for consent to use their answer in the analysis and to ask further questions such as gender, age or location.
In parallel to the large scale radio dialogue and SMS feedback, AVF deployed a one-to-one SMS platform called Katikati (meaning ‘in-between’ in Swahili) aimed at opening up private two-way conversations that helped to delve deeper into personal stories from specific groups such as caregivers, teachers, students and school dropouts.
Total messages received – 28,121
Total participants – 6,585
Participants who consented to be included in analysis – 5,848
Participants who participated in the 1-1 conversations – 35
The provision of affordable, suitable and accessible education in Somalia, remains important to communities in Banadir.. Efforts to support education in the emergency crisis, to ensure access to and quality education calls for collaboration among all stakeholders including the communities.
The deployment of the interactive radio methodology alongside the use of Kati-kati for more in-depth 1-1 conversations has helped to shed light on important issues and areas of prioritisation for supporting education in Banadir. Affordability and lack of accountability and monitoring are key. In addition, the many barriers and obstacles appear even more insurmountable for displaced communities and girls.
The findings demonstrated the long-term impacts of conflict and instability on access to education in Mogadishu, but also show pathways for change. Future actions and policies can harness these pathways suggested by participants to improve access and quality of education in Banadir.
FARIINTEEDA SU”ASHA HAGE. WAXBARASHADA DEGAANKEENAKA WAXAA SAMEEN KU LEH MA HEESTAAN GOOB KU HABOON TACLIINTA. MA HEESTAAN DARYEEL MAAMUL MACALIMIIN MANHAJ . WAXAA SAAMEEYEY COV19. DADKA DEEGANKA OO TABAR YAR BADANKOOD . MA AWOODAAN QARASHAADKA FIIGA ISKUULKA. MA HEESTAN GAADIID BASKA GEEYO ISKUULKA
The challenge of education in our area is that we don’t have schools, we don’t have administrations, teachers and curriculum. The community was affected by COVID19. Even though most of the people in the community have only had limited training and they can not afford the costs of school fees and they don’t have cars that can transport their childrens to school”