RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced Monday that it would provide additional resources to the ongoing Somalia Growth, Enterprise, Employment and Livelihoods (GEEL) program to help sustainably improve the skills and employability of Somali youth.
This expansion of the GEEL program, which is implemented by RTI International, a nonprofit research and global development institute, will include activities such as skills training for youth, business coaching and mentoring, access to financial services, and increased linkages with the private sector, all with the goal of helping youth to more rapidly enter and earn a living in a range of economic sectors.
During the launch of the new effort at the first-ever Youth Investment Expo in Mogadishu, Somalia, United States Ambassador to Somalia Donald Y. Yamamoto stated, “Somali youth are Somalia’s future and they should be empowered to invest in their own futures and in their nation. Working hand-in-hand along with the Government of Somalia and the private sector, we are investing in our shared commitment to improve Somalia’s economy.”
“Through our work in the USAID Somalia GEEL program, we’ve seen that Somali youth are ready and eager for economic opportunities, but those opportunities are often out of reach due to barriers such as low education levels, weak social support systems, and recurrent instability and conflict,” said Amy Davies, RTI vice president for food security & agriculture. “Through this expansion of the GEEL program, we’ll help break down some of those barriers and create a pathway from poverty to prosperity for an estimated 1,000 more young people in Somalia.”
The new effort — called the Somali Youth Integrated Livelihoods Task Order — builds on RTI’s years of experience helping countries improve self-reliance by enhancing tools and systems that align education and training systems with employer needs, which creates employment opportunities for women, youth and disadvantaged groups.