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Published On: Wed, Jul 12th, 2017

Expanding opportunities for Somalia’s youth as the Somali National University gets back its main campus

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Mogadishu 12 July 2017 – UNICEF has welcomed the handover of the Somali

National University’s main campus to the Federal Government as an important step

forward in expanding opportunities for youth in Somalia.

The campus had been used by different militaries, and secured by the Burundi

contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as a battalion

headquarters for more than ten years. The troops are now being relocated to Middle

Shabelle. The campus’ buildings and grounds were renovated before the handover.

“This is a very positive move and sends a strong message on the importance of

making sure all qualified Somali youth have the opportunity to continue their education

after primary and secondary school to become the leaders of the future,” said Vincent

Lelei, the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, who attended the handover ceremony.

The Somali National University (SNU), which was the first university in Somalia when it

was set up in 1954, reopened in 2014 after being closed for more than two decades

during the conflict. Since then students have used its other campuses to study

education, law, medicine, and engineering among various subjects.

The re-opening of the SNU was aimed at ensuring the provision of an affordable and

high quality education which would expand access to higher education to those who

did not have the means to attend one of the many private universities that have

proliferated across the country.

Somalia has one of the lowest enrolment rates for primary school education with only

a third of children in school and the prolonged drought has led to many thousands

dropping out of school. Since the start of the year UNICEF and partners have

supported over 104,000 children to remain in or return to school.

The handover ceremony, attended by senior government officials, UN and AMISOM

representatives, was officiated by the Federal Minister for Higher Education,

Abdirahman Dahir Osman, who said education was the anchor for sustainable

development. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia,

Michael Keating, emphasized the importance of education as the core foundation in the

rebuilding of the country.

“It is important that education and health facilities remain free and disassociated from

military use to allow people free access to essential services especially in the current

prolonged drought,” said Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Somalia Representative a.i. “We

should also look to the future. Somali youth make up the majority of the population

and a public university offers them a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

ENDS

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.

Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that

commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most

vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org/somalia

Follow UNICEF Somalia on Facebook and Twitter

For more information, please contact:

Susannah Price, UNICEF Somalia, +254 722 719867, sprice@unicef.org

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