Joint Shipping Initiative donates $1.5m to grass roots development in Somalia

The Joint Shipping Initiative (JSI) has given $1.5m of extra funds to a programme in Somalia aimed at improving the lives of Somalis and increasing security for seafarers.

The JSI, comprising Shell, BP, Maersk, Stena, NYK, MOL and K Line, donated the funds to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project “Alternative Livelihoods to Piracy in Puntland and Central Regions of Somalia”.

The project targets a reduction in piracy through improving conditions on land in Somalia. By offering training and legitimate employment to Somali youths, it is hoped that pirate gangs will seem a less attractive way of making money.

“Development projects that provide an alternative livelihood to would-be pirates are a vital element of the long-term solution to piracy,” said Grahaeme Henderson, vp of Shell Shipping & Maritime. “We have been very encouraged by progress so far and look forward to positive results from this new phase of work.”

The recent donation follows one of $1m in 2013, which funded an expansion of a market building in the central Somali town of Adado. The development created jobs and opportunities for vendors at the market and the donation also funded infrastructure improvements, building a road between the Hafun peninsula and the rest of Somalia.

Training courses for young Somalis have already been set up in computing, plumbing, building and clothes making, with small grants available to those looking to set up businesses.

“Somalia has one of the world’s highest rates of youth unemployment. Nearly 67% of young people are unemployed. To reverse this reality, we work with local authorities and community groups to identify sustainable solutions – such as infrastructure projects, livelihoods trainings, or reintegration projects – and tailor our support to match the need,” stated UNDP Somalia country director, George Conway.

Today’s funding will enable UNDP to start work in the towns of Alula and Bargal, near the tip of the Horn of Africa, and Balanbal in central Somalia.

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