Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A UNDP gimmick: providing vocational training for 1190 youths in a country of 67% youth unemployment, using their own figures!!

First item that showed up on my twitter feed this morning was of few Somalis retweeting a story published yesterday, 12th August, by the AllAfrica.com titled: “the UNDP provides vital job-skills training for youth in Somalia”. This had me intrigued since employment in Somalia is a subject close to my heart, so I went to the site and read the article.

Usually websites, more so than print media given the rapid pace of online media, would print a current or recent relevant story.  Instead, AllAfrica.com, one of the biggest African news portals has published a story, for internet years, ancient and based entirely on a self-claim success by the UNDP.

The story is based on a study commissioned by the UNDP on youth unemployment and it found that a staggering "73% of Somali population is under 30 and 42% is between 19 and 29 years" I am no statistician but I could guess that much given the average Somali household consists of a single mother and 6 children! The report goes on to state that "the unemployment rate for youth aged 14 to 29 amounts to 67% - one of the highest in the world." The UNDP then goes on to share its success story of having given 1190 youths from across Somalia a vocational training...In 2012!! Out of 67% of an estimated population of 15 million!! The fact that the UNDP is able to share these embarrassing figures of vocational training in the context of the magnitude of youth unemployment is in itself telling of the carelessness in which the UNDP deals with Somalia! 

This story is baffling, to say the least. Has the UNDP run out of new and interesting stories to tell about its massive operation in Somalia to be sharing an outdated and a really embarrassing story of under-achievement? What has the UNDP done in Somalia and on the subject of youth unemployment, apart from a study that tell us what we already know, that youth unemployment in Somalia is really high…Duh! A 5 year old could tell you why Shabaab exists and where they find their recruits! This outdated but still fashionable way the “do good but you don’t have to prove you really did any good” industry uses the opportunity to 'share their peanuts achievements' when a “new study of youth unemployment” is published is not only cheesy but really a piss-take in addressing an issue as serious as youth unemployment in a devastated country like Somalia. 

Secondly, we have no way of knowing if the UNDP really did train these youth beyond their claim. It gets better, the UNDP in this story claims 40% of the 1190 trained youth have found employment at the end of their training! Wow, with such success rate and knowing how the UNDP overstretches its success stories, I would have expected them to paste these youths pictures and job titles in the achievement section of their 500-page report to justify all the money that gets spent on white-employment salaries, Rest and Recuperation from the dreadful experience that is 2-day "field work" and hardship allowances.

Meanwhile, will the UNDP ever publish how many of its Somalia staff are Somali nationals? Why is the UNDP employing so many non-Somalis when there are qualified and competent Somali nationals for those positions? How many Somalis does the UNDP employ at top policy, managerial and decision-making levels? We can easily find out how many Somalis the UNDP employs at the bottom, as drivers, cleaners, cooks and tea-ladies, and they are so many.  The UNDP has been working in Somalia for far too long to be publishing a report on a subject so familiar to Somalis and then using these “findings” to celebrating having provided a handful of youth vocational trainings!! The UNDP has the resources to address youth unemployment in Somalia in a meaningful and honest way instead of this gimmick and disrespectful manner.


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  2. I have enjoyed reading this so much Fatuma! I hope that the UNDP will at least be able to answer some of your questions but I don't think it will happen to be honest. We all know that this is a money making machine/industry and that its primary goals are not to develop Somalia. You see no one wants to cut the hands that feeds it. I just hope that one day Somalia will be able to stand in its own feets and wave bye bye UNDP. As long as we are dependent of organisations like this one the light on the other side of the tunnel is VERY far away. The sooner they get out of Somalia the better.
    Once again thank you!

  3. A very well articulated article ! Awesome work walaashiis !

    Time has came where our educated people will have to do atleast a reality check with so called NGOs and international organizations that claim they work for the betterment of our country !

  4. Thanks guys! Glad you liked the article and thanks for taking the time to leave your kind comments. @Hashim, totally agree that it is time to take responsibility for our complacency in how NGOs and UN deal with Somalis. We have allowed them to almost run this country, time to create proper checks and balances mechanism to ensure Somalis are taken seriously and not treated as a begging bowl faces for fundraising.

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