Field visit: Aisha Ahmed
During my stay in Mogadishu for the National Youth Conference, I have visited HIRDA office in Mogadishu where I met HIRDA employees and managers in Mogadishu. In addition to that, I have visited schools in Mogadishu that HIRDA Foundation supports.
HIRDA’s local Mogadishu office is located in area called Taleeh which is relatively underdeveloped compared to other neighborhoods in Mogadishu. Security is also less strict in this area because of absence of government and African Union .
HIRDA Mogadishu has many activities that include, trainings for university and college students, providing training for schools in Mogadishu, distributing food to the IDP camps in Mogadishu and building water supplies for schools in Mogadishu. These activities are executed by HIRDA employees and volunteers in Mogadishu.
Student trainings are part of program Diaspora Giving Back! where Somali educated returnees give capacity building trainings to university students so that they can benefit from the knowledge and skills of the Diaspora. Also HIRDA in Mogadishu provides trainings to the teachers in some schools. These trainings which are given also by Somali educated returnees are aimed to enrich the teaching capabilities of the educators. The program includes child behavior seminars.
Water availability in school is very important for sanitation, therefore, HIRDA has helped the schools build water supplies so that schools can maintain clean environment. Moreover, girls receive sanitary pads and trainings on how to use them.
I have visited two schools during my field visit namely; Al-Mathal-Al Madina and Ceynu-Rahma. Both schools have; primary, intermediate and secondary level. Al-Mathal-Al-Madina has one department in school for orphan children. The schools are private and rely on a small fee taken from the students and the support they receive from HIRDA.
The schools have average of 8000 students, and surprisingly one school had large number of girls as schools in Somalia have more boys than girls. Both boys and girls were resilient and eager to learn. I have spoken to some girls who have told me that they want to be educators in the future. After our conversation I sensed the value these girls have for education which was an inspiration for me.
What I also noticed was that the school buildings are houses rented from private owners and it is not shaped as schools. The classes are small, compact and extremely hot. Because the school cannot afford vans for the whole school they opened a side from the ceiling to get air and avoid the incoming rain.
The managements of the school informed me that these rental houses are problematic as there is threat for eviction if the rent is not paid on time. There is no support whatsoever from the governmental institutions.