Today, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a new partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) to improve access to quality education for Somali young women and girls. The United States is contributing $5 million to DFID’s already existing $33.7 million Girls’ Education Challenge – Transition (GEC-T) program, a global program working in 27 countries. In Somalia, GEC-T is improving the lives of Somali girls, helping Somalia achieve its commitments under Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
With these funds, more than 52,000 marginalized girls in 365 schools and 19 Internally Displaced Person (IDP) schools across rural and urban Somalia will access quality education.
Dr. Phil Evans, Head of DFID/Somalia, noted, “We are proud of GEC-T’s achievements in Somalia. The gains made in attendance, learning and sustainability are significant. With these new funds, we can strengthen our approach to ensure girls’ transition to upper primary and secondary schools, and sustainability at the school, community and system levels.”
Jeffrey N. Bakken, Principal Officer for USAID/Somalia echoed, “The United States is committed to working with Somalia to improve education access for women and girls. We look forward to this expanded partnership with DFID in coordination with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education. We know that when girls go to school, this directly translates into brighter economic prospects for them and their families in the future.”
USAID’s partnership with DFID in formal primary education will complement existing and future U.S. investments in non-formal education in Somalia which target vulnerable, out-of-school children and youth who have had limited education opportunity to attend school due to their location, crisis or insecurity. These include a $10 million Alternative Basic Education program with UNICEF, and its forthcoming nearly $50 million education award that is planned to begin in 2019.