Education Above All (EAA) foundation partnership with UNICEF to enrol more than a quarter of a million Somali children intoprimary education

Intiqab Rawoof

April 2, 2022


The announcement builds on previous successful EAA-UNICEF partnership in Somalia to reach the country’s most marginalized children

The global education foundation, Education Above All (EAA), signed a partnership agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to enrol more than a quarter of a million Somali children in primary education on Sunday. Somalia’s State Minister of Education, Culture and Higher Education, His Excellency Abdurahman Mohamud Abdulle pledged support to ensure access to quality primary education for 300,000 additional out of school children (OSSC) in the country. MinisterHaji attended the signing, which took place at the 20th edition of the Doha Forum, where world leaders, policy makers and thinkers convened to discuss this year’s theme“Transforming for a New Era.”

“The education of Somali children and youth is a key priority for our government. We look forward to working closely with EAA and its partners to enrol out of school children into education,” explained Somalia’s State Minister of Education, Culture and Higher Education, His Excellency Abdurahman Mohamud Abdulle. “With this ground-breaking project, we aim to provide quality education to students and thereby avoid even more generations missing out on learning or be deprived of this fundamental right.”

Three in five of Somalia’s children and school-aged youth are out of school. EAA and UNICEF will focus on the most marginalised children, including those displaced, those affected by violent conflict or climate-related disasters, children with disabilities, and children from nomadic populations. This latest partnership is part of EAA’s innovativestrategy of working through localised and partner-led models to target the hardest to reach OOSC at the primary level. It follows the successful EAA-UNICEF project launched in 2014, which enrolled 65,755 children in Somalia, exceeding its original goal of reaching 64,000 OOSC.

“It is heart-warming to be able to support another project that enables young Somalis to get a chance to start their education as the basis for a better future. Ourcollaboration with partners in Somalia is almost a decade long and it demonstrates our shared commitment to educating OSSC in the country, regardless of the challenges theyface,” said Dr Mary-Joy Pigozzi, Executive Director of EAA’s Educate A Child programme.

This latest initiative will be rolled out through the UNICEF-run “Strengthening Educational Pathways for Out of School Children” over a four-year period. It will work to bring OOSC back into the fold of quality, primary education by increasing school infrastructure, improving education quality, and focusing on girls’ access to school, and will improve data collection and analysis on out of school children in the country.

“Decades of insecurity and humanitarian crises have had a negative impact on access to education for all children in Somalia, resulting in low school enrolment and attendance,” said UNICEF Representative in Somalia Angela Kearney. “By working in partnership with the Education Above All Foundation, we

will not only enrol additional children in school but give them the opportunity to reach as far as their talents and aspirations can take them.”

The announcement is the latest initiative in EAA’s wider mission to help children access education globally; it comes off the back of the foundation’s already remarkable achievement, alongside partners, of enrolling over 10.7 million of the hardest to reach out of school children around the world. While education is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations, many countries have still not reached universal primary education. As it stands, more than 59 million primary-aged children are out of school worldwide.