A group of Somali primary school children welcomed some new students for a day, including Rajakumari Jandhyla, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa. Jandhyla led a delegation of U.S. government representatives visiting the Somali Interactive Radio Instruction Program (SIRIP) and Shaqodoon: the Somali Youth Livelihood Program, both programs of Education Development Center funded by USAID. In a statement released after visiting these and a third USAID program, Jandhyla said, “I’m thrilled to see what USAID and the Somali people have achieved together.”
EDC Deputy Chief of Party Abdi Hashi introduced the visiting delegation to SYLP, which provides Somali youth with greater access to training, internships, work and self-employment opportunities in order to productively engage youth and add to the stability and development of the region. EDC's Nura Mohamed and Mustafa Othman demonstrated Fire and Gold, explaining how the series of audio programs is intended to support Somali youths’ understanding of financial management and how youth use cell phones to respond to questions regarding concepts presented in the audio program. Othman then showed the delegation Infomatch, a system that allows Somali youth to connect with job and training opportunities, also using their cell phones.
EDC Chief of Party Khadar Bashir-Ali briefed the delegation on SIRIP, which provides high quality Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) programs to both in- and out-of-school Somali children. On a visit to a SIRIP's Mohamed Mooge learning center, operated by EDC's implementing partner, HYDA, the delegation observed an IRI lesson in progress. Seeing the students engaged in counting in tens and decimals and learning Somali literacy, Jandhyla sat among the children and participated in the lesson. She and her colleagues met with 80 internally displaced and marginalized children in two classrooms--grades one and two--at the center.
Ms. Jandhyla was accompanied by the USAID/Somalia representatives Marybeth McKeever and Ismail Shaiye. With the team was also Shamis Mohamud, Economic/Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy's Somali Affairs Unit.
At the end of their visit, members of the delegation were asked to reward three students with a backpack full of school supplies. Shaiye rewarded a disabled, internally displaced boy who could not stand to accept the bag. As they were leaving, mothers of the children present thanked Jandhyla and McKeever for the opportunity that USAID is providing for their children — to access quality education at no cost.