Somalia attention has been put into the configuration of

Somalia has been in a state of turmoil for more than two decades now, leading to its political instability and the constant growth of poverty. Somalia is referred to as a failed state, meaning that its political and economic system is so weak and disintegrated that the country is not in the hands of its government anymore. The country is flooded by famine and poverty: 82% of its population is poor and 67% of its population is unemployed. Since its creation, the borders were hazily defined and not much attention has been put into the configuration of the newly born state. Later events such as the rising presence of Al-Shabaab, a predominant terrorist organization associated with Al Qaeda, have slowly taken over the country as they prove to be a menace to both the people’s security and troops’ safety. Somalia ranks at 165 (out of 170 countries) on the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). According to a 2012 UNDP report, if inequality is accounted for in terms of access to health, education and income, Somalia would be ranked even lower. Incidents of poverty and deprivation are high in all regions of the country.  The decades of colonial neglect followed by the 1990 civil war have caused the failure of the country’s social services. A growing and ongoing challenge in the country is the access to education for girls. In fact, even in the Northern part of Somalia (Republic of Somaliland) where government presence has been installed, most of the women are illiterate. In fact, according to the UNICEF’s database, the country’s primary school enrollment is of 22% as of 2004, and only nine percent were girls.  CURRENT STATE OF GIRLS’ EDUCATION Somalia is ranked as number one in the list of countries where the percentage of poorest females ages 7-16-year-old that have never been to school. In fact, 95% of poor girls in the country have never had access to school. The same studies have proven that the average years of education for the poorest 17-22-year-old females are of 0.3 years, which places Somalia as the country with the lowest education rate in its poorest social classes. Furthermore, the disparity between the two genders when it comes to education is very important. In fact, the percentage of women of all ages who have never been to school is of 61%, whereas the male percentage is of 44%- a majority versus a minority.   The constant state of conflict in the country only increases and strengthens the barriers between girls and their potential education. Since the country is divided into clans, each person’s involvement and help within their militias is valued: tackling threats from their enemies is the priority. The youth is vulnerable in this situation, as they are forced to participate in militarism, thefts and piracy.   Although girls might somehow be involved in these activities, the barriers holding them back from their education are primarily socio-political: parents keep their daughters too busy with chores to let them go to school, lack of parental support when financing the girls’ education because of extremely low wages, discouragement because of the lack of education within the family itself, cultural beliefs such as early marriages but also displacement due to conflicts… all of these are reasons justifying the low amount of female education in the country. Here is where the UNESCO’s involvement matters: how can our committee find solutions to help girls access to education in Somalia?