By Yasmeen Hassan
The reason I chose to write about this topic is because seeing lots of youths potential getting wasted and I want to contribute in helping utilize them for the benefit our country and its future In this article, I will focus on the impact of the Somaliland youths have, the role they play, the future of Somaliland . I want us to learn and work together to move Somaliland to the next level, to a brighter future.
The role of Somaliland young people as active citizens has in fact declined in relation to lack of formal political participation such as through elections. Decisions-makers often fail to recognize young people as an important component of society and valuable resource to the country. In spite of these, young people still face many challenges and problems which prevent them from showing their filled potential.
The main message is clear: while the Somaliland government is increasingly putting youth concerns at the heart of their political agenda, a lot more remains to be done. Government should commit to fully engage young people in all aspects of their programs and initiates that target youth and political development. It is, therefore crucial that youth receive the guidance and support they need in this challenging phase of life and sustaining them successful transition from youth to adult hood.
The challenges youth faced are:
- Unemployment: The rate of unemployment in Somaliland is 75% according to Sonyo, due to the poor economy.
- Illegal immigration: which is caused by unemployment, boredom, social media and attractive image of Somali diaspora. The result is due to foreign passports have, for many, become perceived as a necessary item to attain certain jobs. Therefore, even those youth who might otherwise have wanted to stay may be persuaded to leave for their future in-country job aspirations.
- Boredom: a lack of recreational opportunities for them in Somaliland is a factor for a perceived better life outside of Somaliland that should not be neglected.
- Lack of marketable skills: The result of a higher education system with virtually no practical training elements is that unemployed young academics that do not stand a chance to find adequate employment other than through clan structures, which makes it particularly hard for migrants. It should also compare the professions that are less saturated in the market by increasing the number of students in the universities studying that profession.
- Lack of Investment: The lack of a functioning banking/investment sector was pointed out as a hindrance to foreign direct investment and economic growth and subsequent employment in Somaliland. The government is lacking capital and investment to create jobs. Creating jobs requires investment to take place. There is no modernization, just primitive systems. If you ask people here for example why they do not improve livestock production, people will say they do not have the money, there are no banks from whom you can borrow money, there are no foreign direct investment.
- No policies for youth: Another challenge is the disunity among youth. The fact that we are not organized in any meaningful way to pursue and advocate for our interests has meant that we do not get good representation in the Government.
The opportunities available for Somaliland youths:
- Social competencies: Youth build social skills and learn how to interact in new settings, develop empathy for other perspectives, and build teamwork and a sense of responsibility. These new connections can help with future opportunities (e.g., programs and employment).
- They bring innovation of creating a youth organization which can represent and be a voice for the young generation.
- they speak out and raise their voice to be part of the decision makers of the country and to be actively involved in the political parties
- Freedom: Youths have the chance to act or express their opinions without fear unlike other countries.
Somaliland’s youth, despite making up the majority of the society, feels currently excluded from decision-making processes and marginalized in government planning. Youth participation and sustainable youth leadership in Somaliland involves recognizing the wide diversity of young people’s perspectives and challenges, and providing platforms, methods and capital enabling them to progress, develop. Young people traditionally provide a groundswell for change. Many youth do not see a connection between politics and their daily realities, but this does not mean that they are not interested in their futures. A process of building trust may be initiated when young populations have increase access to the decision-making process.
Finally, it is very important that institutions, policymakers, and society as a whole not to only listen but also respect to what young people are saying; and the issues that are affecting their lives.
Written by: Yasmeen Hassan
B.sc: Political Science &International Relations