SOMALILAND: Government, Education Cannot Wait and UNICEF Launch Education Access Initiative Programme

Press Release

The Somaliland Government, Education Cannot Wait and UNICEF Somaliland launched a multi-year programme today to increase access to quality education for children and youth impacted by ongoing crises in Somaliland.

Education Cannot Wait is providing a $6.7 million seed funding allocation to kickstart activities and to catalyse contributions from additional donors to cover the remaining $57.3 million required to implement the full programme over three years. The ECW investment will support 18,000 girls and boys per year with and with a target to reach 54,000 children a year with more funding supporting the total programme budget of USD 64 million 2019-2022.

“The Somaliland government is proud to be in partnership with Education Cannot Wait (ECW). With over 50 per cent of children out of school, the ECW investment will support 18,000 girls and boys per year to access quality education services, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to positively contribute to the social, political and economic development of their communities,” said Somaliland Vice President, HE. Abdirahman Abdillahi Ismail.

“The Somaliland Ministry of Education is highly appreciative of ECW’s support for this multi-year resilience programme that will give a longer term funding to emergency affected children to complete primary education. The Government is committed to provide quality education to all children,” said Honourable Minister of Education and Science, Osman Jama Adam. Access to education in Somaliland remains extremely limited. The national primary net attendance ratio is estimated at 49 per cent for boys and 40 per cent for girls. Somaliland children are the most affected with more than 51 per cent of children are out of school. Only 16 per cent of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) children and 26 per cent in rural communities are enrolled in primary schools. Drought, food insecurity, poverty and inequality also hinder efforts to get more Somaliland children and youth in schools.

The Education Cannot Wait-supported programme in Somaliland will contribute to achieving improved learning outcomes for school-aged children who are affected by emergencies through increased access to quality, inclusive, gender-sensitive, child-friendly and sustainable education. “In our collective quest to reach the Global Goals, it is unacceptable that one in every two children in Somaliland doesn’t have the opportunity of an education. With the launch of this programme, we firmly stand with these children and youth. We stand with the Government and all our education partners,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “We are committed to fulfilling the right to SDG4 or quality education of all Somaliland’s children and youth. We are committed to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals for those left furthest behind. It is their turn to develop, grow, learn and thrive.”

Education is a central pillar of the Government of Somaliland’s plans for long-term stability and socio- economic growth. Long-term development rests on the provision of good quality education services and

training. The government recognizes that the economic growth of the country correlates with the proportion of people with access to education.

“With more than 50 per cent of children in Somaliland not enrolled in schools, the partnership between Somaliland Government, Education Cannot Wait and UNICEF represents a critical investment in education that will support children to fulfil their right to education, achieve their fullest potential and build human capital in Somaliland,” said Jesper Moller, UNICEF Deputy Representative.

Programme interventions were designed in partnership with a broad group of partners from the government, civil society, United Nations (UN) agencies and donors to ensure greater predictability, sustainability and continuity in responding to the needs of education for various age groups in Somaliland.

UNICEF continues to support the Somaliland government. It is also committed to working with the Ministry of Education and Science to strengthen children’s resilience through education, as well upstream work. This includes technical assistance to shape policy, legislation, guidance, standards and curricula, analytical work to strengthen the evidence-based programming and support for advocacy, piloting approaches and models for improved education financing, quality assurance, and overall system strengthening. UNICEF supports linking education in emergencies and education resilience with ongoing and emerging up-stream education work. This will ensure increased access to children who have never been to school, retention of those already in school, and ensuring children successfully complete a full cycle of basic education with good learning outcomes in Somaliland

Education Cannot Wait is the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. Working with a wide range of partners – governments, UN agencies, private sector and philanthropic foundations and civil society – the Fund seeks to mobilize US$1.8 billion by 2021 to reach close to 9 million children living in crisis-affected countries around the world. About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):

ECW is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure. Additional information is available at


UNICEF delivers relief and development assistance to individuals in more than 190 countries. UNICEF advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs, and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF has been operating in Somaliland since 1972. UNICEF delivers services in Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education, Child protection and Social policy; responds to emergencies and supports peace-building and development

Contact For press enquiries, contact:   Anouk Desgroseilliers, , +1 917 640-6820   For any other enquiries, contact:

Contact for UNICEF:
Chief of Communication UNICEF Somalia    Email:

Contact for the Government of Somaliland   Ahmed Abokor   Director General   Ministry of Education and Science   Hargeisa, Somaliland   Email:   Mobile: +252634243149

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