"If they have hope, they will put down their guns and pick up pens" PDF Print

Vocational skills and employment opportunities for youth in Central Somalia


Widespread poverty, limited education options, and lack of livelihood opportunities have a tremendous impact on the lives of thousands of young men and women in Somalia. If not provided with alternatives, piracy and recruitment into armed conflict remain appealing options for young men; and without self-reliance and empowerment, women will continue to be highly vulnerable to gender based violence.

The Vocational Education and Training for Accelerated Promotion of Employment (VETAPE) programme, funded by the European Union, is aimed at addressing the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. “I believe that youth can change. If they have hope, they will put down their guns and pick up pens”, says Ali, owner of several auto-mechanics in Somalia, and a trainer with CISP. “Two out of three of the young men who are here today used to be bandits”, he adds, looking at the young men working hard at his garage in Gaalkacyo.


Through a mixture of theoretical and practical teaching methods, VETAPE aims at improving employment opportunities for vulnerable young people. Since its start in November 2010, 2,670 youth have attended functional literacy and numeracy courses, and 1,422 received vocational training in 6 urban centres in Galgaduud, Mudug and Hiraan regions, in Central Somalia. An additional 1,089 trainees are currently enrolled in vocational training courses, and they are expected to graduate in September 2012.


The involvement of women has been very encouraging. In 2011, 45% of the participants in the vocational training courses were women, and women taking part in the literacy and numeracy courses accounted for 74% of the total attendees. “I work for a company as a Finance Officer, where I use the computer a lot”, says Hodon, a young woman from Cadaado who attended VETAPE computer vocational training in 2011. “Before the training, I could not use the computer at all. I value the skills I learned very highly: as a woman, I am now self-reliant.”


The programme has also established an Employment Promotion Service Centre that assists youth graduating from the courses in finding employment. Trade fairs and support to job creation associations are additional activities meant to boost networking and empower youth employment groups.


See the results of VETAPE programme in BeletWeyne, Cadaado, CeelDheer, Dhusamareeb, Galkaacyo, Guri-ceel, between August 2011 and January 2012.


VETAPE PROGRAMME Aug 2011- Jan 2012
Course Total Trainees Young Men Young Women
Auxiliary Nursing 146 61 85
Business Mgt. 15 0 15
Carpenter 15 15 0
Computer 213 128 85
Electrical 45 45 0
Embroidery 15 0 15
Handicraft 10 0 10
Literacy & Numeracy 1600 494 1106
Masonry 50 50 0
Mechanics 85 85 0
Plumbing 10 10 0
Secretarial 45 14 31
Tailoring 108 10 98
Telecommunications 30 30 0
Welding 15 15 0
Total 2402 937 1466




The presentation of the information in this website in no way represents the expression of a political opinion whatsoever on the part of CISP. Country, region, district and community names are used solely for ease of reference and do not indicate a political or territorial preference.The geographical names transcription is the one in use by UNOCHA.