L'Emploi rural décent

New perspectives for Somali youth


Osman Sheikh Ali is a 24-year-old father of two children and comes from Marka, a city in the southern Lower Shebelle province of Somalia. He is currently working in Bossaso, at the Hidik Boat Factory managed by the 34-year-old director, Yasin Hassan Mohamed. Both Osman and Yacine have benefitted from FAO’s trainings on boat building and repairing, in the framework of the EU-funded Coastal Communities Against Piracy project.

"Over the last two years, there have been significant improvements in the work we do in the factory," said Yasin. "Thanks to FAO's trainings, we have learned how to develop new boat designs, fix electric systems using home battery, also installing fish finders, GPS and navigational lights. Above all, we have learned the best ways to build boats with very high safety standards."

"I was trained specifically on how to build mold frames of boats, which was totally new to me," said Osman, who has furthered his skills and potential employability. Thanks to his work at the boat factory, Osman is now more confident about his future, as he is able to support his young family, while contributing to the economic recovery of his country.

Building rural livelihoods to mitigate youth radicalization in Somalia's coastal areas

After decades of civil conflict, with the establishment of the Federal Government in 2012 Somalia has entered a new phase of peace-building efforts. Nevertheless, the situation remains extremely fragile and conflicting, impacting especially youth. Somalis under 30 constitute around 70 percent of the population, but nearly two-thirds of them would migrate abroad if they could. The youth unemployment rate in the country is among the highest in the world, at a startling 67 percent among all 14 to 29-year olds. Furthermore, young people are extremely vulnerable to radicalization and while the radicalizing factors of youth can vary, they are nonetheless also rooted in socio-economic stimuli or the lack of them.

In this context, the UN and the Somali Government launched the Programme on Youth Employment in 2015, with the objective of creating employment opportunities for youth between 16 and 35 years through vocational education, enterprise training, and the rehabilitation of infrastructure in high potential sectors of the economy. Alongside this initiative, FAO is working with the Ministry of Fisheries at Federal and State levels to implement the 5.3 million Euro project No piracy: Alternatives for youth living in coastal communities of Puntland, Galmudug and Mogadishu, also known as Coastal Communities Against Piracy (CCAP) Project. As the name suggests, the EU-funded project, launched in 2016, reaches out to youth living along the coast to support them in building livelihoods in the fisheries sector and not fall into piracy.

Somalia has one of the longest coast lines in Africa and the fisheries sector is considered to have the largest potential to create new full-time jobs. But the sector lacks key skills and equipment, such as safe fishing boats and the knowledge of how to design and build them. Through the CCAP Project, young women and men have been engaged in long-term apprenticeships to learn how to design, build and repair boats compliant with FAO safety specifications. Thanks to the success of the sea trials, private companies are showing interest in purchasing vessels directly from the Somali boat yards partnering with the Project.

In addition, the Project has trained coastal youths as crew and fishers aboard vessels. The young beneficiaries have also learned new ways to add value to their fish products through processing, in particular by drying fish. Thanks to CCAP, a number of households are in the process of receiving solar fridges, which will allow them to keep their fish fresh for longer periods and thus will make them less dependent on selling their products on the same day, at the whim of the highest bidder.

By expanding employment opportunities for young men and women in rural areas, FAO and the EU together are supporting rural youth and harnessing their potential as drivers of positive change in their communities.