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The primary purpose of this project is to reduce vulnerability of Somali youth by providing economic opportunities and social support. The project will support socio-economic reintegration of youth at risk in South-Central Somalia by engaging them in labour intensive public works or market-based vocational training with business start-up kits as well as de-radicalisation and re-socialisation activities. A total of 2000 youth will be targeted. These will mostly be unemployed youth considered to be at risk as well as youthful ex-Al Shabaab fighters and those dis-engaging from other militant groups. The project will consist of the following three components: "Artisanal skills training and alternative Livelihoods: This component will focus to enhancing the employability of the youth by equipping them with new skills. Under this component, the project will also support a labour market survey, provide vocational training based on skills gaps determined in the survey and engage with other training providers to tailor curricula in line with the skills needed for the country's recovery process. Opportunities will be created through labour-intensive cash for work and community programmes and micro grants will be provided to the youth for income-generating activities. The project will also support the construction of vocational training institutions in selected locations. Youth will also be sentitised to shift their perceptions towards employment including self-employment to appreciate their role in rebuilding the country. "Psycho-social support to dis-engaged youth: Youth in this category will be provided with counseling and guidance to help address stigma and build the social skills needed for normal community life. Training of Trainers (ToTs) for social rehabilitation instructors on de-radicalization and social skills will be provided/ Community volunteers will also be trained in counseling, trauma healing and victim support, mentoring and coaching. "Institutional Capacity Building: The project will help improve capacity of selected district institutions that are involved in fostering peace and addressing vulnerability and exclusion amongst the youth. Support for institutional capacity building will include provision of office space and equipment, support for stakeholder meetings, placement of Technical Assistants to enhance service delivery and facilitate skills transfer, training of local government staff and support to the Ministry of Human Development and Social Services for the development of a youth policy and National Youth Employment Strategy. "Project management: The project will be executed by the International Organisation for Migration in close partnership with selected local authorities. This component will finance project implementation related expenses.
Like many countries in the world, Somalia is suffering from a youth bulge with an estimated 70% of its population under 30 years. The country's fragile situation and long crisis have affected its ability to take advantage of the benefits of this large youthful population and position the youth as a resource for the future. Somalia has a large number of unemployed and frustrated youth in the country with South-Central Somalia being the worst affected. Unemployment amongst young people aged 14-29 in South Central Somalia is estimated at 67% which is one of the highest in the world. The UN in its 2012 HDI for Somalia concluded that Somalia as a whole has a youth frustration index of 3.96 out of 5 with the highest index of 4.3 observed amongst youth in South-Central Somalia. These are serious threats to the stabilization efforts in the country. Unemployed, frustrated and disillusioned youth easily become gullible and are at a higher risk of being recruited into militia groups or criminal gangs. This presents serious challenges to state stability and national security and could distabilise Somalia's roadmap to recovery. Recent United Nation's estimates suggest that most of Al-Shabaab's combatants consist of youth from the Bay and Bakool region in South-Central Somalia. In is believed that the bulk of militia members, criminal gangs and radical groups in the country are young people from rural agro-pastoralist communities or urban slums. There is also evidence that some youth that joined militant groups such as Al-Shabaab are dis-engaging or defecting and seeking other options. Targeting such youth for re-integration and transition to normal community life is critical and needs to be carefully supported to avoid any relapse.
In response to these, the Government of Somalia in partnership with UNSOM and IOM has developed a National Program for Disengaged Combatants and Youth at Risk. This consists of various youth-focused programs and activities incorporating best practices from the UNDP funded Youth4Change programme implemented in Puntland and Somaliland. This project is aligned to the above mentioned national programme and will contribute directly in empowering Somali youth through job creation, social re-integration in the case of dis-engaged youth or ex-fighters and offering youth in general an opportunity to effectively contribute to and benefit from the country's recovery process. The project will provide them with skills to take advantage of opportunities arising from the recovery process. It will be a short term quick impact pilot project with a possibility for scale-up.
The project will target 2000 youth particularly those at risk and ex-militants and is expected to deliver the following benefits: "Reduced youth unemployment and enhanced economic empowerment of the youth through job creation and income generation. "Reduced youth vulnerability and risk of recruitment into militant groups. "Improved self-esteem and participation of youth in the national recovery process "Increased capacity of local authorities to deliver basic services, facilitate peaceful co-existence and address youth unemployment.
SHARAN Mona - RDGE2