IOM has secured internships for 75 young people – 29 women and 46 men – selected in consultation with universities, hiring organizations and government agencies. The aim of the project is to combat high unemployment among university graduates, which often results in high risk irregular migration.
The scheme, which is funded by the Government of Japan, was implemented in close coordination with Somaliland’s Ministry of Youth, Sports and Tourism, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, in partnership with prospective hiring organizations in the public and private sector.
The selection was made based on academic ranking and geographical origin. Priority was given to qualified candidates from underserved communities in Gabiley, Hargeisa, Berbera, Lascanod and Erigavo.
According to a study conducted by the Somaliland National Youth Organization (SONYO), high unemployment in Somaliland contributes to irregular migration, drug addiction and conflict. The study which was carried out in December 2010 by SONYO, in conjunction with the Dutch NGO Oxfam-Novib, indicated that out of 800 young people interviewed, only 25 per cent were employed.
That matches statistics reported by Somaliland’s National Development Programme, which says that unemployment among youth stands at 75 per cent, even higher than the national average of 61.5 per cent in urban areas and 40.7 per cent in rural and nomadic areas. Unofficial estimates are that between 65 and 70 per cent of Somaliland’s 3.5 million people are under the age of 30.
To organize the internships, IOM consulted with regional and district-level government institutions, universities and private sector employers. Once it had identified the positions, it asked four universities –Tima-adde, Hargeisa, Gollis and Nugaal – to provide a list of students capable of working in the positions offered.