Urban and Rural Development Action

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Urban and Rural Development Action : Enhancing self-reliance of youth and fresh graduates in Somalia

Garowe, SomaliaGarowe, Somalia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

This project opens new innovative opportunities for the Somali youth to address the root causes of massive youth emigration and their involvement in criminal activities such as terrorism and piracy. The project introduces a mentorship program that gives the youth an access to economic development.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the Somali youth who are 75 percent of the total populations could be empowered with skills, mentorship and financial assistance and involvement in the leadership to contribute to solving their pressing issues?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

According to the UNDP Human Development Report (2012), 70 percent of the Somalia population is below the age of 30. Every year, public and private institutions produce hundreds of youth fresh graduates with no available job opportunities. Some prefer to emigrate the country through long risky journeys to Libya and then use small boats to migrate to Italy illegally. Others are recruited by criminal activists such as terrorists and pirates.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

This project address leading causes of massive youth migration and their involvement in criminal activities through two components: 1) The project recruits 350 fresh graduates through a competitive process every year. The project makes training and mentorship opportunities available to them through a partnership with the public and private governance institutions. Fresh youth graduates are placed at these institutions for gaining experience and skills. 2) The project selects 50 youth entrepreneurs from universities through a competitive process every year. Each young person will be given an opportunity to submit an innovative business plan. The selected entrepreneurs will receive a seed grant of USD 3000 to invest in the new business.


The Founder received an award from Energy Globe Award that recognised the project as the best one in Somalia in 2014
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The two components of the project address the pushing factors of youth migration and their involvement in criminal activities. Due to the absence of job opportunities, many youth become vulnerable to be recruited by pirates and terrorist elements while significant number of youth emigrate the country every year. The project is contributing to the reduction of youth vulnerabilities by placing them at public and private institutions and financing the start-up of their entrepreneurship programs. This has created a competition among the youth to enhance their ambitions and redirect their minds to self-reliance and contribution to the nation building of Somalia. The project has significantly reduced the recruitment of youth by pirates.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

According to the International Organization for Migration, 845 young men and women left Puntland state of Somalia in 2013 while 645 youth were recruited by pirates in 2012 and 311 youth disappeared after they joined the militant group of Al Shabaab that is linked to Al Qaeda. Following the launch of our project, the number of youth migrants dropped from 845 in 2013 to 185 in March 2015 while there was no report of youth joining piracy in the same year. The number of youth who joined Al Shabaab reduced from 311 in 2012 to 37 in March 2015. The project contributed to boosting the morale of youth and attracted significant number of young men and women to join the scheme. For example, in November, our organization received 4250 applicants for the entrepreneurship component while 1340 fresh graduates showed an interest in the job placement and internship program.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

With the continuation of the current support for the youth and upgrading the number of fellows and beneficiaries, our organization will enhance the skills of 75 young men and women within the coming 5 years. The key areas to focus will be civic education, strategic planning, financial management, media advocacy and public relations. The project with establish partnerships with 8 private companies and 11 bigger organizations to employ the youth who have benefited from our job placement scheme. Within 10 years, the project will fully engage the youth in the national politics and leadership.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our organization raises funds with local business owners, companies and the Somali diaspora. In addition, the project is working on the development of an income generating scheme that will sustain the growth of our project. For example, we are now raising funds to invest in a luxury guesthouse that will accommodate and provide services to at least 300 international guests. 65 percent of the generated revenue will be used to sustain the project.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Currently, there are no actors who are addressing the problem in the region. Most of the international organizations invest in traditional activities that did't bring substantial impact. Such traditional activities are organizing small-scale public awareness campaigns on migration, terrorism and piracy and establishment of small vocational training centres that don't necessarily address the root causes of the problem. Our project is driven by results to address the leading causes of the youth issues and creates long term complimentary opportunities that will have bigger impact in a short time

Founding Story

2012 and 2013, the Somali state of Puntland observed the largest number of youth who joined piracy. The new criminal activity attracted more than 1846 youth who were recruit to kidnap international ships and ask for huge sums in exchange for the releases. Aside from this criminal activity, these pirates initiated a commercial sex business that increased the vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections. In the same years of 2012 and 2013, 1745 youth moved to south and central regions to join the militant group of Al Shabaab. 80 percent of those who committed coordinated attacks and suicide bombs were youth. I launched this project in 2014 with the anticipation to address root causes.


Currently we have a team that is composed of paid staff and volunteers - 4 full time paid, 1 part time paid staffs and 11 volunteers. The staff and volunteers represent both sexes equally. The team members have different portfolios as follows: 1. Project Manager (Full time paid Male staff) - In charge of project design, coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation and Reporting. 2. Finance Manager (Full time paid Female staff) - In charge of project finances, budget monitoring, allocation and distribution of grants and quality assurance. 3. Accountant (Full time paid Female staff) - In charge of cash disbursements, monitoring the cash follow and project accounts. 4. Monitoring and Evaluation (Full time paid Male staff) - In charge of administering the monitoring activities, scientific researches and coordination the impact assessment surveys. 5. Communication officer (Part time paid female staff) - in charge of promoting project visibility and liaison with the local media. Apart from the staff, the project has 7 volunteers representing both sexes. These are in charge of sourcing applications and follow up of the progress of the business entrepreneurs and fresh graduates. The provide mentorship and guidance to the fellows. Staff and volunteers have come from different backgrounds ranging from business management, financial management and partnership development to resource mobilization, strategic planning, communication and advocacy. The oranization has a board that is composed of 7 members of whom four are women and three are men. The board members are selected from commercial companies, Somali diaspora, the national bank and the members of the parliament. Their role is to review policies and procedures, review the the annual operational plan and financial plan and to oversee the advocacy and resource mobilization activities.