Authorities in Somalia's self-declared autonomous region of Puntland are offering hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) skills training in a bid to integrate the growing influx of displaced, officials said.
"We started with 250 people selected from the [IDP] camps and the host community and we are training them for four months," said Mohamed Said, head of DANDOR, a local NGO implementing the training in Bosasso, Puntland's commercial capital.
Said told IRIN that 80 percent of the trainees were IDPs and the rest from the host community. "We had to add some members of the host community because some of them are as needy as the displaced."
He said subjects included tailoring, welding, plumbing and electrical services, tie-dye and incense-making, some taught by IDPs.
In the past 20 years of civil strife in south-central Somalia, thousands of IDPs fleeing the violence have settled in Puntland.
There are an estimated 28,000 displaced persons in Bosasso, according to the UN.
Tthe participants were selected with the help of the IDPs themselves and Bosasso local authorities. "Of the total number of trainees, 146 are women and 104 are men," Said told IRIN.
UN Development Programme Somalia was funding the project. "We will continue and expand depending on funding," he added.
Barni Awil Nur has been an IDP in Bossaso for more than three years. The mother of two is learning how to tie-dye clothes and said the training was a "Godsend".
Nur said: "I have been here for a long time and I don’t know if I am going anywhere else any time soon. This gives me an opportunity to earn my living. I don’t have to wash other people's clothes or clean their homes."
Abdullahi Ahmed, from Merka, has been in Bosasso for a year. "Until I got this offer to train here, I was a porter in the market. It is not an easy job and you don’t always get work. There are too many porters."
Ahmed is being trained as a welder. "As soon as I complete the course, I want to start a welding business with some friends."
Said of DANDOR said once the trainees complete their training, they will be provided with a starter toolkit to enable them to begin working.
Abdulkadir Yusuf Dahir, the deputy mayor of Bosasso, who launched the training, said the city was determined to help integrate the displaced into the community but needed help in doing so.
"This training is a good start but we need much more like it if we are going to succeed," Dahir said.
He urged aid agencies to help Bosasso deal with the growing influx of displaced by "giving them skills that will enable them to be productive and reduce their dependency on handouts".
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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