IOM combats irregular Somali migration with youth employment
In an attempt to curb irregular youth migration from Somaliland to Europe, IOM, in partnership with local authorities, has concluded a ten-day soft skills training for 40 unemployed graduate youth from Gabiley and Borama in Somalia.
Through the end of May this year IOM missions in Greece and Italy have tallied nearly 6,000 Somali nationals arriving as irregular migrants by sea. Most are young men who were unable to find employment in their home communities.
Following this intensive training and a second one coming up in a month, 60 graduates will be placed in a six-month internship programme that is designed to help them gain competitive advantage in the work place. The internship programme is also being rolled out in Puntland’s districts of Bosaso, Garowe and Galkayo targeting another 60 unemployed graduate youths.
“This is a step in the right direction, but future programmes need to scale up in order to meet the need on the ground. The issue of unemployed graduate youth is a national disaster that requires a massive scale up of this internship programme,” Mustafe-shine, the Regional Governor, said at the end of the training.
According to a soon-to-be-released IOM-Samuel Hall 2014-2015 study on youth, employment and migration in Somaliland and Puntland, unemployed youth are more likely to plan on migrating than youth who have jobs. The desire for better employment opportunities is the biggest driver of migration abroad.
This is corroborated by the 2012 UNDP Human Development report on Somalia that states two-thirds of youth are unemployed in Somalia, which is one of the highest rates of unemployment in the world.
Owing to limited funding, only 115 unemployed graduate youth in Somaliland’s various districts have participated in IOM’s internship programme since 2013. To date, 67 per cent of this group had been employed by the government institutions and private sector. IOM’s 2014-2015 study further points out a skills mismatch between youth and employers.
While educated youth feel entitled and empowered by their education, they are frustrated that their education does not translate into expected work opportunities. IOM has been working with local authorities and local universities to identify skill gaps in the public sector and match these gaps with the skill set of unemployed graduate youth.
IOM’s Migration Crises Operations programmes in Somalia are funded by the Japanese government.