102 students received scholarships to be trained in veterinary
medicine and animal husbandry courses in an event held in Mogadishu this
week. The initiative allows the scholars to study at the Somali
National University in Mogadishu and is supported by the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the European
Union (EU) through the ‘Resilient Fisheries and Livestock Value Chain
for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in Somalia’ (RAAISE) project.
Through the initiative, the scholarship will support young men and women
for three years and cover the tuition fee and graduation projects. The
last group of students will graduate in January 2025 with a BSc in
Veterinary Medicine and BSc Animal Husbandry.
The launch event was attended by the Minister of Livestock, Forestry
and Range, Hon. Minister Hassan Hussein Mohamed, team leader for the
Resilience, Infrastructure and Productive Sectors section of the
European Union Delegation to Somalia, Mr Jens Hoegel, FAO Somalia Head
of Programme, Mr. Ezana Kassa, and Rector of the Somali National
University, Prof Hassan Omar Mahadallah.
The new scholarship program demonstrates the importance of tertiary
education in building capacities in sustainable livestock management. It
recognizes the sector as a critical avenue of development in Somalia,
requiring joint commitment and a strong skills base.
“It is critical for Somalia’s development that we develop the
capacity and skills of young Somalis and this is at the heart of the
RAAISE project,” said the European Union Head of Section, Jens Hoegel.
“The European Union is committed to equipping the youth with the
training to lead their country towards a sustainable future.”
Managing livestock in a sustainable way
The livestock sector is the most significant economic contributor to
Somali livelihoods, with over 65 percent of the population engaged in
the industry. Thus, the sector is also vulnerable to climate shocks and
external economic impacts, reflecting a need to emphasize livestock
livelihood enhancement, job creation and broad-based sustainable and
Ministries, NGOs, resource partners, private entities
and international organizations often struggle to find qualified
Somalis to take up positions in public and private roles to manage
livestock production and value-addition activities that can enhance the
sector in the long term. This, in part, is due to the lack of
sustainable management components in undergraduate courses of the
veterinary and animal health sciences programs at Somali learning
“The livestock sector plays an important role in the future
development of Somalia. It is vital that young people are engaged in the
development of the sector and have the opportunity to learn how to
manage pastoral livelihoods sustainably,” said Mr. Ezana Kassa, the FAO
Head of Programmes in Somalia. “Undertaking an undergraduate degree
establishes a foundation on which a lifetime of growth and learning can
be built and results in long-term benefits for individuals and the
broader livestock sector in the country,” he said.
Diversifying and strengthening Somalia’s livestock sector
The RAAISE Project builds on recent progress made in increasing
employment and food security for people by sustainably expanding the
fisheries and livestock sectors in Somalia.
In the livestock sector, the project aims to create new jobs,
increase and diversify livelihoods, foster inclusive economic
opportunities, and rehabilitate infrastructure such as animal holding
grounds and livestock markets with supportive shades. It will also
introduce fodder storage sheds and honey houses, forms of infrastructure
that do not exist in Somalia and are essential for supporting the
fodder and honey trade.