Wed. May 29th, 2024

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) along with the Somaliland Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Government of the Netherlands successfully inaugurated the Berbera Youth Center. This event marked a significant milestone in UNFPA’s commitment to empower Somali youth and women and foster their socio-economic development. 

The establishment of the Berbera Youth Center marks a collaborative effort between UNFPA and the Somaliland Ministry of Youth and Sports, with local partner Shaqodoon Organization, under the umbrella of the Accelerated Socio-economic Empowerment of Youth project funded by the European Union and the Netherlands.  

The inauguration ceremony of the Berbera Youth Center witnessed the presence of key Somaliland government officials, highlighting their commitment to foster an environment that nurtures the potential of the youth and ensures their active participation in the socio-economic development of Somaliland. H.E. Abdirisak Musa Farah, the Minister of Youth and Sports, along with Hon. Yurub Abib, the Vice-minister of Employment, Social Affairs and Family, and Mr. Khadar Ibrahim, the Director of Somaliland National Youth Development Fund, were among the officials who graced the occasion. Additionally, the event was attended by Mohamoud Hindi Adam, the Deputy Governor of Sahel region, Nur Abdi Jama, the Deputy Mayor of Berbera, Mr. Saeed Hassan Abdillahi, the Director of Somaliland Ports Authority, and Members of Parliament Khadar Ali Hakin and Noradin Ahmed.  

Minister Abdirisak Muse Farah cut the ribbon to symbolise the commencement of this transformative initiative. Following this, Nima Harir, Director of Planning, extended a warm welcome and delivered opening remarks, setting the tone for the event. During his address, Netherlands Ambassador for Youth, Education and Employment, Jurriaan Middlehoff strongly emphasised the profoundly positive impact such investments yield on communities. “The significance of this Youth Center goes far beyond its physical structure. It symbolises our collective commitment to investing in our most precious resource—our youth,” said Faisa Ibrahim, Assistant Representative for Hargeisa Sub Office at UNFPA while emphasising the need, and significance of investing in youth potential. Interactive sessions followed, and a town hall-style discussion session allowed youth to share their aspirations and discuss the challenges they encountered, further emphasising the need for and the centre’s commitment to empowering the youth and women of Somaliland.  

The centre will take a comprehensive approach to empower the youth of Berbera, Sahir Region of Somaliland. By providing access to quality education and vocational training, promoting economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, offering crucial services like sexual and reproductive health counselling, family planning, nutrition, and psychosocial support. Moreover, it will conduct community outreach and awareness programs and extend assistance and referrals to those seeking justice and protection from Gender-Based Violence. 

Since its launch, the Socio Economic Empowerment Youth Initiative has transformed the lives of over 5,000 young Somalis. Through bootcamps, entrepreneurship, social enterprises, and financial literacy/management training, the initiative has equipped these young individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary for success. Additionally, mentorship programs, future-ready skills training, and start-up grants have been instrumental in empowering the youth to pursue their dreams and create their own opportunities. Youth Centres also serve as co-working spaces and provide incubation, research, and acceleration services for new start-ups. These spaces provide a supportive environment for young entrepreneurs, enabling them to develop their ideas, access resources, and receive guidance to turn their concepts into successful businesses. 

The support accorded by the Government of the Netherlands, as part of the European Union, showcases their commitment to supporting sustainable recovery and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Somaliland. By investing in the youth and providing them with the necessary tools and support, the EU and the Netherlands are contributing to the long-term development and prosperity of the country. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

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