On October 10, 2019, the United States Embassy Mogadishu through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced nearly $50 million in additional education funding to help the Somali people. Creative Associates International, Inc. will implement the five-year program Bar Ama Baro (“Teach or Learn” in Somali) that aims to increase access to quality education and support accelerated learning for out-of-school children and youth who have been persistently left behind.
This latest announcement brings USAID’s ongoing investments in education in Somalia to $65 million. USAID is currently supporting a $10 million project implemented by UNICEF and a $5 million contribution to the Girls’ Education Challenge program managed by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.
Ambassador Donald Y. Yamamoto explained: “This U.S. Government investment will give vulnerable Somali students vital skills so that they can contribute in a meaningful way to their society. The program focuses on teacher quality and student learning, and invokes the spirit of other successful Somali-led literacy campaigns.”
Bar Ama Baro will target Somali out-of-school children and youth between approximately 8-15 years old. The program aims to: increase student enrollment in schools; create safe spaces to learn; improve students’ literacy, numeracy and socio-emotional skills; and enhance the Federal Government of Somalia’s capacity to support these schools.
The Minister of Education, Culture and Higher Education Abdullahi “Godah” Barre said: “I welcome the launch of the new USAID project and overall support from the People of America. My gratitude goes to USAID for its tireless support in education for our children, particularly disadvantaged groups. I trust that this intervention will make a positive impact on our education system, particularly access, quality and governance.”
The U.S. Government recognizes that investment in education is essential for Somalia’s growth and prosperity. Educating girls, in particular, has positive impacts on society such as lower fertility rates and healthier, better educated children and families. Students who fall behind early in life continue to stay behind. For these reasons, the U.S Government will continue to focus on out-of-school populations, those who are marginalized – rural; girls; linguistic and ethnic minorities; and displaced populations from drought, violence, or insecurity.