Somaliland:Giving local governments more power helps improve education in Somaliland

© Alexandra Williams/JPLG/2017 School children at a JPLG supported school in Somaliland.

Berbera, Somaliland, February 2018 – Annisa Ahmed Mohamed Huseen, a Grade 8 pupil at Omar bin Khataab Primary School says she appreciates the high quality of teaching at her school and aspires to be a doctor.

“I like coming to school because I am getting a quality education and the teachers are good,” she says.”I want to make a better future for myself and be a doctor.”

What she doesn’t realize is the way several UN agencies have come together under the UN Joint Programme on Local Governance (JPLG), to enable the local government to offer increased support to her school and 41 others.

Through contributions from JPLG, the Education Ministry and local resources – Berbera district is paying salaries for 112 guards and cleaners at school along with incensitves for 223 teachers in rural areas.

Annisa’s school now has six cleaners and two watchmen.

“We take pride in keeping our school clean,” says head teacher Foozi Bashe Abdilahi. “We have created a child-friendly space in our school compound that is conducive to learning,”

Berbera’s local government is also overseeing the rehabilitation and extension of classrooms, and routine school maintenance such as painting and ensuring water points and toilets are functioning. The Berbera education budget has quadrupled since 2014.

The improvements have led to a 30 percent increase in enrolments since 2014 and now stands at nearly 6,500 with a focus on bringing in girls.

© JPLG/2017
Asia Mohamed Osman, Head of Education Section, October 2017.

“Most of the classrooms use to be full of boys. Girls were left at home to do the housework and help their mothers,” says Berbera District Council’s Director of Social Affairs, Jimcale Abdilahi Jama. “We have been carrying out community awareness raising and more girls are enrolling in school. We have also reached out to children from very poor families and orphans.”

JPLG has helped to clarify the functions, roles and responsibilities of the various tiers of government in line with the Somaliland decentralization policy making it easy for the authorities to work together on education.

The Berbera Mayor Abdishakur Mohamoud Hassan says decentralization has improved accountability.

“Through the provision of local services, communities are getting better education and health services. They are also getting to know their local councillors and understand what local councils do. As the Mayor I encourage local communities to talk to me and ask questions.”

JPLG is comprised of five UN agencies (ILO, UNCDF, UNDP, UN-HABITAT and UNICEF) and together with partners, the Government of Somaliland and donors, it works to strengthen the role and capacity of local governments to deliver services to citizens in Somaliland.

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Contact: Alex Williams, Joint Programme on Local Governance, mobile: +254 (0) 733 801 886, email:

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