Although Somaliland is yet to achieve international recognition, the country has enjoyed relative peace and stability for the past 23 years unlike the rest of Somalia. However this peace has not yet materialised the level of development expected and poverty continues to be rife in the region.
There are a number of causes for this deceleration in development and continued poverty. These include Somaliland’s lack of international recognition and the impact of the conflict in Somalia on the region. However one of the root causes of poverty in Somaliland is the majority of the population being illiterate. Without the capacity to read and write it is difficult for people to improve their lives and fulfil their true potential.
Lack of data and statistic makes it difficult to estimate the literacy rate in Somaliland but according to the director of planning in Somaliland’s MoE the literacy rate has increased by 25% over the last 19 years, growing from 20% to 45% in a 2010 interview. However this is based on primary and secondary school enrolment figures. Lack of access to education prior to recent increase in school numbers and the non-existence of such a system during the civil conflicts mean the adult literacy rates are even lesser than this 45% rate.
Gross enrolment ratios are amongst the lowest in the world standing at 32% for girls and 48% for boys, 40% overall. This is largely because of inadequate quantity and quality of schools and teaching/ learning facilities, lack of facilities in education offices and shortage of trained teachers. Currently there are only 26 secondary schools in the whole of Somaliland. Girls’ enrolments are lower in the higher grades than in the early years of primary school. Reaching excluded groups such as children with disabilities, orphans, demobilised children and unschooled youth are also a particular challenge when trying to establish equitable education for all.
Primary and secondary education is available at state schools at a cost of $2.50 a month per child. In a country where More than 73% of the population live in poverty and 43% in extreme poverty and unemployment is widespread the cost of sending children to school is in many cases deemed too expensive by many families especially if they have more than 2 children. Therefore many families choose to send only one or two of their children to school and boys are, in almost all such cases, the first choice. The value of being able to read and write is often overlooked by those who have this ability. However for a person who doesn’t posses this very basic skill everyday things such as reading a letter, observing simple instructions & guidelines, reading newspapers, shop names, figures and numbers are a constant challenge. The basic education provided for marginalised girls and boys and literacy classes for illiterate adults have helped these people attain this essential skill and enabled them to overcome the daily challenges presented by illiteracy.
Nagaad's main objectives are to: