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Successful girls' school needs funding

A Somali girls’ school is fighting the stigma that girls are inferior to the boys, but struggles to get teaching materials for its students because of lack of funding.

(Photo: Henrik Stabell)

Hanaqaad primary school in Las Anod started its work in the year 2004 by umbrella women groups. Its establishment was necessitated by lack of education among school going age girls from poor and destitute families that could not afford to educate of their girls. The school gives free lower primary education to young girls who are orphans, those from poor families and more importantly those young girls that are denied the chance to see the door of class by their families because of their gender. Furthermore they are considered inferior to the boys, therefore based on that perception parents see, sending them to education means wasting resources.

This school is unique in that it is the only girls’ school in the whole region where girls’ education is prioritized. Since it was formed the school, which is a lower primary school, uplifted girl child education in the region.

The school started with only one room. But later in collaboration with Norwegian People’s Aid Somalia (NPA) Programme four classes, two latrines and office for teachers has been added to the school.

The school now holds 170 Pupils and has four teachers and a headmistress.

- The school has contributed to the reduction of negative perception towards girl’s education and eradication of stigma that girls are inferior to the boys, says Ahmed Farah, programme manager for NPA Somalia.

He says that the school also has become a resource centre for young women, who missed their childhood education, to participate the literacy, numeracy and skills training programmes offered to them as well as other programmes that concern their life such as gender issues.

- This year the school and NPA are undertaking a skills training programme for 200 girls from poor, minority and IDP families (aged 17 – 24 years) in various skills. The programme is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Farah adds.

He says that despite the success the school is still facing several challenges due to lack of finances.

- They lack of enough classes to enable the pupils complete their primary education up to standard eight, they lack recreational facilities like play-grounds and games-kits, and there isn’t enough funds to pay the teachers, purchase teaching materials like text books and converting the school in to a boarding school in order to allow girls to concentrate solely to their education, he explains.

Hanaqaad School hopes for cooperation with individuals and other agencies in order to improve the education for the girls.

22.01.2013 | Victoria Uwonkunda