Djibouti is preparing for a future in which all of its citizens can compete and engage in a rapidly changing global economy. In response to the high unemployment rate and lack of soft and technical skills, the Government of Djibouti identified the need for skills development and internship programs to better prepare the workforce. Advancing these skills will not only provide jobs, but better prepare youth to fulfill private sector needs. For elementary-aged Djiboutians, the current policy environment and pedagogical approaches to reading are not adequate to fulfill education standards, particularly for the most marginalized children. Students in Djibouti are expected to learn to read exclusively in French, a language that most encounter for the first time when they enter school. Teachers lack appropriate materials and techniques. Parents can provide invaluable support for reading in the home but also lack skills to do so. USAID conducted a National Early Grade Reading Assessment in 2012 which informed the design of the current Djibouti Early Grade Reading Activity (DEGRA) activity.
The Djibouti Early Grade Reading Activity (DEGRA) targets children across the nation in first through fifth grades to improve their reading skills. The activity uses international standards for early-grade literacy and the most current pedagogical research. Improving reading ability at the primary school level helps Djibouti achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on education. As girls drop out of school at a disproportionately high rate in Djibouti, every step of the project ensures that all teaching materials, training, and communications are gender-sensitive as well as inclusive of children with learning difficulties. By the end of the project, USAID will improve reading outcomes of more than 55,000 children in grades one through five.
USAID’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) project “Play to Learn” was recently awarded to Mott MacDonald, who will implement the project in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Family and with two local NGOs. The Play to Learn activity's main goal is to increase the number of preschoolers in Djibouti benefiting from high-quality, equitable, safe, and inclusive early childhood education services. The activity will use a variety of media and community mobilization events to facilitate and increase understanding of and appreciation for playful learning and ECE with all parents and caregivers across Djibouti. Collaborating with local leaders, the ECE activity organizes community events that bring parents and young children together in authentic play, teaches games and songs, shares resources, and creates excitement while learning.
The Djibouti Youth Employment Activity is working to achieve The Government of Djibouti’s Vision for 2035 to reduce unemployment for youth. The activity plans to increase employment opportunities that offer greater access, equity, and effectiveness, building on the previous USAID supported activity’s lessons learned, which include strengthening technical/vocational education institutions and coordinating key stakeholders. The Djibouti Youth Employment Activity collaborates with a new civil society strengthening activity that began in 2022 to focus on youth livelihoods. Finally, there will be opportunities for coordination with Camp Lemonnier in an effort to employ more Djiboutians on the base.