UN announces innovative competition for Somali youth in internally displaced camps

Peter de Clercq, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia, and Resident Humanitarian Coordinator speaks during the High-Level round table on Durable Solutions for Somali IDPs held in Mogadishu on May 8, 2016.

8 May 2016

UN announces innovative competition for Somali youth in internally displaced camps

A devastating famine forced Halima Abdulkadir Ahmed to abandon her home in Qoryole in 2011.  Since then, she and her seven children have been living in a settlement called Rajo, one of the 486 camps and settlements for internally displaced persons (IDPs) located in and around Mogadishu.

On 8 May, the United Nations welcomed the Somali government’s initiative to address challenges facing 1.1 million IDPs like Halima through a government-led taskforce that will develop an IDP policy for inclusion in a future national development plan.

“I want us to focus on the future of the 10 per cent of the Somali population that are internally displaced. We live in changing times, changes that are fundamentally reshaping the way we live, the way we work, the way we think. These changes are broadening the opportunities that exist and widening the inequalities as well”, said the Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arteh, during a high-level roundtable meeting in Mogadishu that discussed durable solutions for IDPs.

“The government has declared IDPs itself as a major issue for them, a major priority and part of their national development effort which has gone into the national development plan, and as one of their main priorities,” noted Peter de Clercq, the Deputy Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General (DSRSG), Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.

The Special Advisor to the DSRSG on IDPs, Walter Käelin, lauded the commitment to action by all stakeholders. “We need to complement humanitarian action with development action to integrate Internally Displaced Persons into the national development plan, as well as state development plans”, he noted.

Addressing the same meeting, the Federal Minister for Women and Human Rights Sahra Mohamed Ali Samatar was optimistic that the durable solutions for IDPs under discussion would lessen significantly the plight of vulnerable youth and women. “The issue of IDPs influences our society, stability, economy and women, and one of our most vulnerable human capital-our youth. It is our youth that are undertaking the long and dangerous journey across the continent through the Mediterranean to the Promised Land of Europe and beyond”, she said.

To mitigate the challenges facing youths in IDP camps across the country, Mr. De Clerq announced an innovation competition to help young Somalis reintegrate into society. “The idea of the innovation fund is small initiatives to be funded at a maximum of $10,000 each, and the overall fund we hope will be $500,000. That will grant quite a few opportunities for the young Somalis who take initiative towards promoting their own self-sufficiency, income for their family and their own dignity and self-worth” he explained.