In depth

UNDP encourages local government and the private sector to build more resilient and self-reliant communities. 

Entrepreneurship and employment can be a catalyst for economic growth and poverty reduction. Recognizing this, UNDP supports initiatives which benefitted vulnerable communities across Somalia by strengthening economic foundations at the local level. Understanding the local dynamics of the job market allows UNDP to support local economic growth through demand driven investments in skills and capital to micro-enterprises (small businesses that often have less than five employees).

Young people are often the worst-afflicted groups to suffer social, economic and political exclusion. In Somalia, this is painfully true. As identified in the 2012 Human Development Report for Somalia, youth unemployment and isolation are some of the most urgent obstacles to the country’s development. However, by offering alternatives and support to disenfranchised youth, there is an opportunity to change these dynamics.

In particular, piracy-related crime will continue to be a concern as long as Somali communities are unable to secure sustainable economic opportunities. UNDP provides viable options to Somali communities and livelihoods training to at-risk youth to reduce the potential for crime and piracy.  This work is being funded by the Anti-Piracy Trust Fund (including Shell, BP, Maersk, MYK, MOL, K Line, and Stena).

These alternative livelihoods activities include vocational trainings for young people, rehabilitation of basic social and productive infrastructure, and initiatives to increase market access. Project beneficiaries were involved in projects including the rehabilitation of access roads and the renovation of three markets, four vocational centers, four business centers, and one youth facility.

In Somalia, women face a number of barriers that limit their abilities to fully participate in social and political life. UNDP understands that these dynamics foster a greater negative impact of piracy on the women in the target communities. To address these challenges, UNDP’s Private Sector Development Project directly supports and empowers women in the target communities through consultation, specific skills training, and providing women access to microfinance and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Local communities must have a say in the use of the natural resources around them. They must be empowered to analyze, participate in and advance recovery and development, local enterprise, conflict and sustainable environment management. UNDP’s Environment Project has been working with local government to ensure that Somali men and women benefit equally from improved natural resource management. With support from Japan, Norway and the Global Environment Facility, UNDP works directly with communities on projects like water harvesting schemes to enhance the resilience of communities to alleviate the impact of seasonal droughts and floods.


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