The Somalia Human Development Report 2012 - Empowering youth for peace and development
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The HDR presents information collected for the first time from young women and men in Somaliland, Puntland and south central Somalia through a comprehensive survey conducted by local research institutions in each administrative zone, as well as focus groups discussions and interviews conducted with the youth.
The Somalia Human Development Report (HDR) 2012 advocates for Somalia’s stakeholders to recognize the untapped enthusiasm and potential of youth, encouraging investment in young Somalis to ensure they have opportunities to serve as responsible citizens, as a driving force of the economy, and future leaders of the country.
The report also provides Somalia’s status in terms of human development, shedding light on inequalities that need to be addressed to improve overall development in Somalia.
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Outlining empowerment as the cornerstone for human development, the HDR argues that it has the revolutionary potential to remove or amend policies and institutional barriers and encourage community-led interventions that empower people—socially, economically and politically. In line with the concept of human development, empowerment would result in every individual having the opportunity to make informed choices to lead a better life, deepening democracy and diminishing causes of conflict in Somalia.
Slow pace of human development
Somalia’s Human Development Index (HDI) value, a summary measure of development which takes into account average achievements in health, income and education, is strikingly low at 0.285 out of an ideal of 1. If internationally comparable date were available, Somalia would probably rank among the lowest in the world, at 165 out of the 170 countries in the 2010 global Human Development Report. If one accounts for the level of inequality in the distribution of income, education and health, Somalia’s HDI is even worse, with the average loss at 42 percent as measured by the Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI).
Gender inequality is alarmingly high at 0.776 out of a value of 1 (complete inequality), with Somalia at the fourth lowest position globally on the Gender Inequality Index (GII) if internationally comparable data were available. Women suffer severe exclusion and inequality in all dimensions of the index—health, employment and labour market participation. Somali girls are given away in marriage very young, and violence against girls and women is widespread. Traditional laws, used in lieu of a state judiciary, are highly discriminatory against women.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) afflicts an estimated 98 percent of Somali women. Despite national gender equality policies and provisions, for example, gender-based violence and discrimination against Somali women continue to brutally suppress human rights and often go unpunished. Traditional Somali society is conditioned not to openly discuss issues such as domestic violence and rape, which further hampers women’s access to justice.
Many courageous efforts of Somali women to rise above patriarchy have been isolated and short lived, and they have yet to achieve the critical mass in decision-making required to effect wider change. Young women end up greatly disadvantaged in all spheres of life, a reality that hinders their rights and development, and perpetuates intergenerational cycles of gender inequality and the feminization of poverty.
In terms of measuring deprivations related to poverty, Somalia’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) of 0.47 out of 1 would place it at 94 out of 104 countries in 2010 if comparisons were made to the ranking in the global HDR for that year. An estimated 82 percent of Somalis (99% of the nomadic population) are considered poor across multiple dimensions. The divide between urban and rural populations is significant—61 percent and 94 percent, respectively. In south central Somalia, 89 percent of people are poor across several dimensions, compared to 75 percent in Puntland and 72 percent in Somaliland.
Status of young Somalis
The HDR recommends that empowerment, particularly of youth, serves as the centrepiece of human development for an inclusive and productive society.
- Youth in Somalia (14-29 years) comprise 42% of the population.
- The youth population in Somalia may continue to swell due to high fertility rates, estimated at 6.2 births per woman between 2010 and 2015.
- Youth exclusion, resentment and grievances are fuel for conflict escalation and risky behaviours — a formidable social cost.
- Conflict, poverty, being jobless and voiceless leave youth frustrated. The overall frustration index that captures the nine socioeconomic and political factors among Somali youth surveyed for the HDR scores as high as 3.96 out of 5. The highest levels are 4.3 in south central Somalia, followed by 3.7 up north.
- The unemployment rate for youth is 67%—one of the highest rates in the world; women lose out more, with unemployment rates at 74%, compared to men at 61%.
- Over 60% of youth have intentions to leave the country for better livelihood opportunities.
- Almost four-fifths of youth respondents in south central Somalia, compared to less than half in Somaliland and Puntland, strongly agreed that youth suffer more social, economic and political exclusion than other groups.