Child Poverty

Somalia has a poverty rate of 73%, according to UNDP statistics. The country has 70% of its population under the age of 30 with a wide range of social, economic and political challenges facing this young population. Youth unemployment rate is 67%, one of the highest in the world. Save the children is confronting this reality with a focus on tackling child poverty in Somalia.

First grade students at Borama girls primary school, Somaliland, which is supported by Save the Children  Photo Anna Kari/Save the Children

Why focus on child poverty in Somalia/Somaliland?

We hold a strong opinion that:

  • harm that poverty inflicts is often irreversible
  • poverty leads children and young people to lose self-esteem, ambition and hope
  • poverty is transmitted from generation to generation

We also understand that the cost of this harm is borne by children, young people and also by the wider society. We acknowledge that the issue of child poverty in Somalia/Somaliland is a complex one due to recurrent disasters and a fragile political environment. Nonetheless, we strongly believe that children are not able to learn, survive and remain protected, if their families are too poor to invest in them. It is on this premise that our child poverty programming is anchored on with an understanding that if we reduce child poverty and increase basic income,  we will help children survive, learn and be protected.

Our ambition for 2030 has 3 core program areas:

  • Child –Sensitive Social Protection:  Involves securing basic incomes and reducing risks for girls and boys in extremely poor families and without family care    
  • Child –Sensitive Livelihoods: Involves helping families to manage threats to their incomes and assets and to find pathways out of extreme poverty     
  • Transitions to work: Involves providing disadvantaged adolescent girls and boys and young people with hope for their life-chances and skills for obtaining decent work

Key Child Poverty achievements in 2015

Child sensitive social protection: A total of 68,411 people were supported in increasing their purchasing power through social transfers. This translates to 9,773 households out of which 3,322 households had children under the age of five and/or had pregnant women. In terms of specific transfers, 16,555 people were supported with unconditional cash transfers, a further 26,089 supported with unconditional food vouchers and 8,057 with cash for work transfers. From post distribution surveys, households reported increased food intake (100% of supported children sustaining 3 meals per day), improved household dietary diversity (from 4 food groups to 8), debt repayment and improved ability to pay for non-food needs such as health and education. Other forms of social transfers reached 17,710 people. These transfers were done in South Central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland and involved emergency food security and livelihood restoration, lean season support and social safety nets.

Child sensitive livelihoods: A total of 40,432 people (5776 households) received support for asset protection and growth for food security and livelihood improvements. Supported households were able to adopt strategies that promote sustainable and resilient livelihoods, which directly benefit children. A total of 3,430 people were supported with short term entrepreneur training accompanied by provision of business grants. About 90% of the supported households have reported improved household incomes and are able better their families for improved child survival, learning and protection needs. Another 22,190 people have benefited from different trainings and on-farm support to improve production system and disaster preparedness. Other activities include 23 irrigation equipment to 4480 people, improved water access for 4900 people, livestock restocking for 2562 people, shoat dips for 2100 people, donkey cart for 1050 people and flood protection for 3150 people. The improved assets and production capacity led to increase in own food production and incomes to purchase food and non-food needs. All these activities were implemented within the different resilience building projects.

Adolescent skills for successful transitions: A total of 2,923 youths benefited from different skills training and employment promotion activities, which has indirectly benefited 20,461 people. Out of this, 1888 youths (786 females) were given vocational skills training and 99% passed their exams and were certified. Further, 116 Technical & Vocational Education Training (TVET) instructors (including 25 females) in 19 centres were trained on competency-based skills training on established Vocational Qualifications Framework and integrate life skills. A total of 919 youths (477 females) were supported with employment and advisory services. From tracer studies conducted, 65.8% of youths who have graduated in the last 6 months from TVET centers were engaged in gainful employment.