Istar Abdi Osman is 19 and lives with 10 siblings in a tiny shelter in an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp, in Dayniile District, Mogadishu. She is full of hope, as she has just completed a four-week solar energy installation training, funded by UNDP and run by Somali energy company SECCCO. The training was run under a Somali Government-led project called RE-INTEG, which is supported by the European Union and the United Nations, and is assisting people who are living in IDP camps to learn skills and gain knowledge that will help them to access employment, and to use what they have learned to benefit their communities.

Istar Abdi Osman ( Photo courtesy UNDP)

Twenty-five young people from three IDP communities in Mogadishu have completed the solar energy training. Of the twenty-five, ten were women. Istar hopes that the training will help her to get a job in the growing energy sector in Somalia. “I’m happy that with this skill, I can go and look for a job in the energy sector, and if I get a job there I will be able to financially support my family,” she said.

Less than a quarter of the population of Mogadishu have access to electricity, and tariffs are among the highest in the world, ranging from $0.80 to $1.50 per kilowatt/hour. This increases the costs of schools, clinics, hospitals and other community facilities, frequently placing their services out of reach for IDP communities and other members of the urban poor. Installation of solar and green energy in these facilities can make them cheaper to run and more accessible.

Isack Hassan is 21 and lives in another IDP community in Dayniile District.  He hopes the solar training will change his life for the better. “Before the training I had no idea about the advantages of the sun and how to harness the sun’s energy. Now I know Somalia has an ideal environment for generating clean energy through solar energy, and with the skills I have acquired from the training, I will help bring green and affordable energy to my community,” he said.

Using their new-found skills, the trainees have installed solar and green energy systems in the primary and secondary schools in Dayniile District, and in the Dayniile District Government Office. This means the schools and the District Office can stay open longer and provide better services to people in IDP and surrounding communities.  With their new knowledge it is aimed that the twenty five young people will then continue on to find employment installing solar and green energy systems in other facilities, contributing to the growth and use of green energy and making vital services more accessible to Somali people.

RE-INTEG is a Joint EU and UN supported Government-led Project aimed at facilitating and supporting durable solutions for IDPs and Returnees in Mogadishu, including improving their living conditions through the establishment of governance systems, increased Housing, Land and Property Rights and social, economic and political inclusion.