Somali Youth Leaders Initiative

What is the Somali Youth Leaders Initiative?

Youth are the future leaders, workers and citizens of their nation, yet in Somalia, they lack basic education, employment opportunities, and connectedness to civil society. SYLI’s goal in Somalia is to build a future generation of Somali leaders by increasing opportunities in education, economic growth, and civic participation for 160,000 Somali youth, and to foster stability by: 

How does Somali Youth Leaders work?

It is a Somali-led partnership between Mercy Corps, CARE International, Save the Children, Somaliland National Youth Organization (SONYO), and Mudug Development Association Network (MUDAN), government, communities and, above all, young people. The program:

What has Somali Youth Leaders done so far?

Contact Marybeth McKeever at with any questions

  • Improving secondary education services for 50,000 Somali youth, community members, and education officials.
  • Improving access to, and quality of, technical and vocational education and training and supporting a select number of business start-ups for 10,000 youth.
  • Empowering 100,000 youth to participate in and contribute positively and productively to society.
    • Empowers Somali youth economically, socially, and politically – which begins with Somali youth designing interventions and doing advocacy themselves.
    • Provides relevant formal and non-formal education that promotes literacy and numeracy, economic survival, employment and self-employment.
    • Strengthens Somali capacities in non-violent conflict resolution and mediation to empower youth and educators to contribute to peacebuilding in their own communities.
    • Encourages active participation and leadership by young women and girls.
    • ; Develops the capacities of the government to provide fair, equitable and safe education services. Increasing the visibility of the delivery of education services and the perception of fairness creates trust and promotes stability.
    • Completed construction or rehabilitation of 77 classrooms and 119 other structures (latrines, handwashing facilities, water tanks, office blocks, and perimeter fencing) in 12 secondary schools in Somaliland and Puntland for the benefit of 14,691 students;
    • Conducted labor market surveys and identified business partnerships in all major urban areas of Somaliland, Puntland, and Mogadishu to identify skills training needs and potential youth employment opportunities; 697 youth completed or are currently enrolled in skills training or job placements; 644 out-of-school youth completed literacy and numeracy programs.
    • Trained 158 youth leaders on advocacy and leadership, who in turn organized eleven community service activities, such as tree planting, donations to a mental health hospital, school cleanup campaigns, and girls’ education awareness, in Somaliland and Puntland. Plans are in place for a training of youth leaders in Mogadishu beginning in August 2013.

Last updated: August 15, 2013

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