A view over the city of Hargeisa



Improving youth employment through quality vocational education and entrepreneurship skills

Rajo means ”hope”. In the Horn of Africa, where the youth unemployment rate is one of the highest in the word, access to vocational education and possibility to gain entrepreneurship skills brings the youth hope for the future.


The future of the Horn of Africa lays in the hands of youth as even 75 % of the population is under 30 years old. At the same time about two-thirds of the youth are unemployed according to the official statistics. Despite the high share of the under-30-year-olds in the population, the youth’s possibilities to take part in the decision making are very limited.

The challenging situation in rural areas – harsh climate conditions, lack of education, no job opportunities – forms circumstances where youth see no hope for the future, and they are at point to be excluded in the society. This pushes the youth to move to urban settings where even youth with education often end up doing odd jobs in the informal sector. Lack of decent work and income excludes the youth from the society and exposes them to extremism.

Education opens doors to employment and entrepreneurship

The project offers an opportunity to attend vocational training for youth that are outside of education and employment. During the pilot phase of the project training is offered in the fields of electricity installation, beauty and handcraft and tailoring. These sectors have been chosen by the criteria that the sectors have local demand for labor and business opportunities, but not enough training opportunities nor qualified candidates for the jobs. Learning of entrepreneurship skills is included in all the trainings to offer the students understanding on entrepreneurship as a profession and a livelihood option and to equip them with needed skills to pursue a career as an entrepreneur.

The aim is that half of the students participating in the vocational training are female as girls and women are in greater risk to be excluded from the education and employment opportunities. The project also supports the vulnerable groups’ right to education. 60 % of the students will belong to the discriminated groups such as internally displaced people, ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities. As a part of the project the local partner organizations will work on raising awareness on the rights of persons in vulnerable position in the society and enhance these groups’ equal opportunities in the education and employment.

Raising the valuation of vocational education

One of the reasons behind the high youth unemployment rate is the mismatch between the supply of and demand for skilled vocational professionals. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is only organized and offered by few individual schools and training centers while the TVET sector still remains unorganized and the resources, such as qualified teachers, teaching premises and tools, are often inadequate to organize good-quality training.

In addition, vocational education is currently not valuated in the same way as higher education. Through awareness rising activities and by improving the quality of the education the project aims to rise the valuation of vocational education and youth’s awareness on the possibilities the vocational education can offer in the terms of employment and income opportunities. The project cooperates with HAMK University of Applied Sciences to train teachers in pedagogical skills and develop the vocational training program contents. A model for practical training in companies as a part of vocational education will be created.

Local project partners’ capacity to offer vocational education will increase during the project though the project aims even further. A long-term goal is to have an influence on the process that will develop TVET sector into well-organized, good-quality and valued sector of education in Somaliland and Puntland. To reach this goal the project will cooperate closely with local authorities to showcase the significance that well-organized quality vocational education has for the communities. Cooperation and involvement of the local authorities is also crucial to improve the resources of vocational education in the future.


Vocational education and training on entrepreneurship skills for youth. Improving the quality of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and increasing its valuation among the youth.


In Hargeisa, Buhodle and Gardo.


The project starts in 2021 with a two-years pilot phase.

For whom?

The target group is 15–25 years old young persons who are not in education nor employment. Local vocational schools and training centres, companies and communities also benefit from the improvement in the availability and quality of the education.

With whom?

Rajo is a joint project of the Finnish Somalia Network, three Finnish civic society organizations, three partner organizations in the project area and a Finnish university of applied sciences.

The coordinating organization is Finnish Somalia Network.

The partners in Finland are: Bado, Iftin-seura and Sool, Sanaag and Hawd Development Association (SSHDA).

The partners in Somaliland and Puntland are: Knowledge-Action Center (KAC), Somali Social Forum (SSF) and Nomadic Development Association (NDO).

The project collaborates with Häme University of Applied Sciences HAMK in the training of the vocational teachers and developing the quality of the education.

Further information:

Samuli Salmi
Finance and Fundraising Coordinator
Rajo Project

+358 44 735 7563
samuli.salmi (at) somaliaverkosto.fi