Community Service Award Goes Far for Somaliland Youth Organization

July 15, 2014

Last year, two DAI employees received the company’s inaugural David H. Gunning Award for Community Service. Each awardee received $5,000 for donation to their respective social service organizations.

One awardee, Mubarak Abdi, chairs the Somaliland National Youth Organization (SONYO Umbrella), where he leads the organization’s ongoing operations, coordinates communication and learning between member organizations, and engages in high-level planning and project support with partners and public service stakeholders. His donation is already reaping rewards for its recipients. Established in 2003, SONYO Umbrella is dedicated to empowering the youth of Somaliland.

One of SONYO’s most successful programs, Youth for Change (Y4C), targets at-risk youth and street adolescents who have no family care. This year, the program targeted 250 such youth in Burao, and provided basic needs and free primary education.

The funding from the David H. Gunning Award went directly toward the purchase of school uniforms and supplies and sports kits for Y4C participants. The award will also cover all costs for an upcoming football tournament.

“Growing up as a refugee on Somaliland’s Ethiopian border in the early 1990s, I saw firsthand the devastation that civil war can bring,” said Abdi, who works as a monitoring, evaluation, and learning specialist on the DAI-led Partnership for Economic Growth project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. “I have devoted my adult life to working and volunteering with organizations focused on conflict management, refugee reintegration, and youth employment as drivers of security and stabilization.”

The distribution and coordination of the new uniforms and gear culminated in a handover ceremony earlier this year. The Deputy Governor of the Togdheer Region, Mohamed Mohamud Yusuf Ubaxle, said at the event: “The Y4C program contributes a lot to security of Burao district by supporting at-risk youth and redirecting their life course. Giving school uniforms will surely strengthen the youth’s desire to go to school. All our gratefulness goes to SONYO Umbrella and DAI who donated these gifts for children. Anyone who helps us to assist the future of our youth to become brighter, we thank them and we salute them.”



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