Laying the physical and institutional foundations for a growing Somalian workforce

New Site TVET Somalia

The Professor Adow Vocational and Training Centre in Galkayo, Somalia will be developed through the project. Photo © GSA.

A project funded by KfW on behalf of BMZ expands the capacity for building skills and generating higher income for Somalia’s youth through highly specialised TVET+ service hubs.

October 3, 2022
  • SDG: #4, #8, #9, #10
  • SECTORS: Development Consulting
  • COUNTRIES: Somalia

As a result of three decades of civil war, Somalia's human and economic development have suffered greatly. The national social and economic infrastructure has been significantly degraded, and the government has been unable to provide an adequate support system to its population. Primary and secondary education net enrolment is 17% nationally, literacy rates among the general population are 40% (and lower still among women), and youth unemployment is estimated at 67%.

The Somali diaspora around the world is active in its support to the country, be it through remittances or investment in sectors like real estate, telecommunications, and energy. Moreover, countries such as Turkey and the Gulf States are actively investing in Somalia in these sectors. In order to address these nascent markets and high youth unemployment, there is a strong need to equip young adults with relevant technical skills. High-quality and sustainable technical and vocational education and training (TVET) interventions are therefore very important to the country's development.

With this background, a Norwegian-Somali consortium, consisting of Yme Foundation and Gurmad for Sustainable Aid (GSA) has developed a concept to build a network of "TVET+ Service Hubs" in Somalia. These hubs will act as vocational training centres, providing integrated services to the business sector while promoting quality and sustainable growth. With our expertise and experience in the TVET sector in East Africa, NIRAS has been appointed as Implementation Consultant to the project in order to advise and assist the consortium to succeed and achieve their objectives.

This project was developed in cooperation with KfW Development Bank on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ). The German Government committed the funding for the TVET+ project bilaterally in the context of German-Somali bilateral cooperation, with Yme Foundation and GSA constituting the project-executing agency with full responsibility for implementation. Yme and GSA maintain a joint Project Management Office (PMO) in Mogadishu, to enable coordination with and the passing of information to the responsible Somali line ministries.

The project's objective is to ensure that trained youth find adequate employment and generate higher income and that local businesses use the TVET+ hub's services. Moody Gadain, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer for GSA, remarks on the project's importance and its impact:

"The project is important for the local community in Galkayo and Somalia as a whole because it addresses the issue of literacy and unemployment; the objective is to ensure that trained youth find adequate employment and generate higher income. The project will encourage women to learn technical skills that will help [them find jobs] and also break social norms to empower women. Encouraging trainees to start their own businesses is also a part of the programme and will contribute to the country's economy in the long run."

Establishing the infrastructure to support change

Launched in February 2021, the project is scheduled to run for six years and is divided into two phases. Phase 1 focuses on the physical extension and further conceptual development of the existing Professor Adow Vocational and Training Centre in Galkayo (established by Yme and GSA, managed by GSA) to expand it into a full TVET+ service hub. The training centre is one of a few that has managed to operate sustainably since its establishment in 2013.

Professor Adow Training Center
The current entrance to the Professor Adow Vocational and Training Centre in Galkayo, Somalia. Photo © GSA.

“Success can be measured in many ways, but as a PMO [project management office] we firmly believe the most significant success so far in the project has been the collaboration and coordination amongst all project stakeholders. We managed to successfully launch a large-scale project during the height of the [COVID] pandemic with dignitaries and project stakeholders spread across the globe gathering on Microsoft Teams to officially launch the project in January 2021. It was quite an incredible experience.”

Monique Iglebaek, Programme Manager, Yme Foundation

The scope of phase 1 includes both physical and conceptual components:

  • Expanding the existing campus with new and extended buildings and facilities;
  • Developing the range of training courses and qualification levels offered;
  • Improving the practical training content and linkages with the business community;
  • Enhancing the training capacities of teachers and instructors; 
  • Developing a sustainable financing mechanism; and
  • Establishing a "business incubator" for graduates and local companies.

Following a review of phase 1, phase 2 will focus on expanding the TVET+ hub service model in a step-by-step approach perspectively to greenfield sites in Jowhar and Baidoa, two secondary cities far south of Galkayo.

NIRAS' core tasks are construction planning and design (together with a sub-consultant from Switzerland, Architectural Pioneering Consultants); construction supervision; procurement of training equipment for nine occupations; compliance with environmental and social standards; financial management; and administrative support and reporting.

Construction TVET Somalia
A newly developed borehole and water supply system will provide quality water to the Professor Adow Vocational and Training Centre and surrounding community. Photo © GSA.

Next steps: Educating teachers and enhancing academic cooperation

In August 2022, NIRAS' team leader Dr Josef Most joined staff from GSA and Yme in an intensive 2-week programme. The main activity was to prepare equipment lists and specifications to subsequently procure and equip the TVET+ hub with specialised vocational equipment for nine occupations. The programme also included signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Yme/GSA and ETU, one of Ethiopia's foremost TVET centres located in Addis Ababa.

"The objective of this MoU is to express the willingness of both parties to engage in academic cooperation involving the training of trainees, and collaboration on curriculum development for the Professor Adow TVET Centre supported on behalf of the German Government, KfW, and BMZ," explains Josef Most. "Teachers from the centre will receive training at the ETU, whose objective is producing highly professional and technically efficient TVET teachers, trainees and leaders, so this is a great opportunity to facilitate advancement of knowledge and improve the quality of teaching at the centre."

In addition to these activities, the bid opening session for the contract of construction works at the Professor Adow Centre was completed in Mogadishu. The mission was viewed as very productive and assists with upcoming activities.

The Yme, GSA, and NIRAS team at the Ethiopian Technical University (ETU). A new Memorandum of Understanding between ETU and Yme/GSA promotes academic cooperation and exchange between the TVET institutes. Photo © GSA.

The project is now entering an intensive development phase at the Professor Adow TVET+ hub, including the start and supervision of construction works, the completion of a water supply facility, the procurement and installation of vocational equipment, and the development of the TVET+ service hub concept and complementary activities. The NIRAS team looks forward to continuing to offer support and advice to Yme and GSA, enabling them to pursue their worthy vision and improve the lives and livelihoods of Somali youth. 

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Gregory Pearn

Gregory Pearn

Project Manager Disaster Management

Stuttgart, Germany

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