Catholic Entity Facilitating Education Opportunities to Thousands of Learners in Somalia

Sadaq Osman Hussein's dream is to be a civil engineer. Credit:: Maurine Akinyi/Trócaire

More than 5,500 learners at primary and secondary levels in Somalia schools are benefiting from an education program, which the overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, Trócaire is spearheading. 

In a Wednesday, July 27 report, Trócaire officials say that the drought in the horn of African country is having a catastrophic effect on formal education and that majority of learners have dropped out to fend for their respective families.

“Trócaire is working in Somalia to ensure that as many children as possible have the same opportunities for education,” officials of the Irish charity say, and add, “Over twenty schools have been renovated by Trócaire, benefiting over 5,546 students at both primary and secondary level.”

They say that the support to boost the formal education program include the construction of “new classrooms, provision of learning materials, dignity kits for the girls, monthly teacher incentives, new toilets and handwashing facilities and restored water systems.”

In the July 27 report, Trócaire officials rejoice in the fact that education is going on uninterrupted because of the structures that safeguard learners from the harsh weather conditions that are as a result of the prolonged drought in Somalia.


Trócaire’s main focus is to ensure that the schools have “the basic essential teaching and learning materials in accordance with the Somali curriculum in order to enable the children to study well for their future,” officials of the Catholic charity say.

In an effort to foster formal education in Somalia, Trócaire personnel is “engaging the community through awareness and mobilization activities designed to encourage families and communities to send their girls and boys to school.”

“Trócaire has recruited and trained community facilitators who now mobilize communities and raise awareness about the value of education to encourage parents to enroll their children in school,” officials of the Irish Catholic charity say, adding that “every student’s enrolment or re-enrolment is celebrated.”

They underline “safe environment” as paramount to ensuring that the attendance of the children is boosted especially in the country’s Gedo region where they say “instability is high”.

“In order to encourage attendance, it is absolutely essential that protection and safeguarding is of the highest priority so that the children are provided with a safe environment, particularly in places like the Gedo region where instability is high,” Trócaire officials say.

More in Africa

In their contribution towards ensuring a safe environment, officials of the Catholic entity say they have incorporated in the education program protection mechanisms.

They say, “This protection and safeguarding work includes child protection and psycho-social support (PSS) training for all teachers and community education committees.”

In the July 27 report, other protection mechanisms are highlighted, including “the establishment of girls’ clubs in all funded schools; the introduction of mechanisms for reporting occurrences of abuse and referral paths for protection services; and ensuring schools are safe for children through regular safety assessments.”

The leadership of Trócaire highlights Caritas France, Kindermissionswerk, Misereor, Irish Aid and the public in Ireland as key partners in ensuring that the “children are now able to learn in a secure environment and can look forward to building a brighter future.”

The leadership of Trócaire links the ongoing drought situation to the plight of children that has resulted in massive school dropouts.


“Over 86% of Somalia’s population depends on agriculture and animal herding for a living and the drought and other pressures, such as conflict and the economic impact of COVID-19, have led to huge vulnerabilities amongst the population,” Trócaire officials say.

“An estimated 3 million children are thought to have dropped out of school to help support their families,” they say, adding that boys help their fathers to sell water in IDP camps while girls help their mothers at home.

“This is extremely worrying as Somalia already had a very low proportion of children attending school, with only 24% percent of children accessing formal education,” the officials say.

They explain, “This low percentage is linked to a lack of safe schools, an insufficient number of trained teachers, inadequate government support and the fact that drought and conflict are driving thousands of people to leave their homes.”

In the July 27 report, Trócaire officials regret the fact that many teachers have abandoned their jobs due to security in their employment and also due to lack of resources and incentives.

(Story continues below)

They highlight Kowsar Mohamed Abukar and Sadaq Osman Hussein as being “among the fortunate few” beneficiaries of the Trócaire education initiative in Somalia and that they aspire to be a pilot and civil engineer respectively.

“Kowsar and Sadaq are among the fortunate few to have the option to attend school, as opposed to children from IDP camps, whose families view education as a competing priority with addressing their basic needs like food and water,” Trócaire officials say in the July 27 report.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.