Somalia map


  • 19%
    Female net attendance in primary school*
  • 24%
    Male net attendance in primary school*

Why we work in Somalia

Since 1991 Somalia has been riven by internal conflict and without an effective central government. In 2000 the relatively peaceful areas of Somaliland and Puntland in the north of the country effectively broke away from the rest of Somalia, which remained ravaged by internal strife. Today the situation has stabilised, but the peace is fragile and Somalia faces many challenges as it seeks to rebuild.

Somalia’s economy is weak with 60% of the population relying on pastoral livestock farming and GPD per capita at just $284 against a sub-Saharan average of $1,300 (last available statistics from 2012). The economy relies heavily on aid and remittances from the diaspora.

As well as the huge loss of life and homes in the country, the conflict also badly affected health and education provision. School attendance rates are very low and disproportionately so for girls. Many schools were destroyed in the conflict and educational resources are in extremely short supply.

As Somalia seeks to rebuild its education system we have a vital role to play in providing new, carefully selected books that can help people rebuild their lives and communities. Along with local languages and Arabic, English is an official language for secondary education upwards, so the books donated by UK publishers are extremely valuable.

Our work in Somalia

We began supporting libraries in Somalia in 1969, and today we work with our partners the Africa Educational Trust to send books to the autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland as well as to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. In addition, we also send books to the Somaliland National Library service and to several universities in Mogadishu.

The books we send to Somalia go to secondary schools, universities and colleges and hospitals and health institutions. These institutions are vital as Somalia aims to rebuild after the conflict and the books we send play a key role in helping people to develop as individuals and in their wider communities.

*Unicef: State of the World’s Children 2016

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