Young people in Somalia are not just the future of the country – they are also the majority. Nearly three quarters of the population is under 30 years old. Most are born after the overthrow of the Siad Barre regime in 1991 and have only known conflict and violence.
An entire generation has missed out on education, employment and knowing what a stable life is. Many lost hope for a better future.
soyden.netThis report, which was based on surveys conducted in more than 12,000 households in south and central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland revealed that the majority of Somali youth believe they have a right to be educated (82%) and a right to decent work (71%).
However, youth feel disempowered by a lack of skills and missing job opportunities. For young women, finding employment is even more difficult due to cultural biases and traditional gender roles.
When it comes to education, Somalia has one of the lowest enrollment rates in the world. The survey showed that in Somalia overall, 27 per cent of youth aged 14-29 have not completed any type of school, 25 percent attended a Koranic school, 27 percent attended Primary school and 21 per cent went to secondary school or above.
Due to the lack of educational opportunities over the last two decades, only half of young Somalis can read or write. Looking at employment, it does not look much better: nearly 68 per cent of youth aged 14-29 years are unemployed.
Due to the lack of opportunities, many even stopped looking for a job. When asked for the reasons for being unemployed, 20 percent cite a lack of experience and low pay. A lack of jobs and a lack of skills are also high on the list of reasons for unemployment.

Missing out on education and employment creates frustration and demoralization among many youth. They might be tempted by crime, endangering not only themselves, but also their communities. Despite these challenges, Somali youth also shows a great sense of optimism when it comes to the future of their country. They want opportunities to go to school and join the work force. They want to be heard and participate in politics and in rebuilding their nation. They want to shape their own future. If given a chance, youth have the potential to become drivers for peace and stability.


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