Somalia’s population is estimated 11 million and it is noted that 70% of them are younger than 30 years. Due to the prolonged civil war, the organized crimes that happen in the country is high and it is conducted by violent groups with different motivations.
Piracy became one of several violent activities that many youth are recruited in Somalia. The first reason why piracy is attracting the youth especially those from poor families is probably their economic vulnerability and amount of money the pirates earn per activity, which doesn’t really matter because of the great risk to their lives, and the great consequences that could happen. The pirates target the youth because they are more energetic and stronger than they are, this also helps them get the job done faster, and so they don’t get caught.
Lack of effective awareness raising among the youth is the second reason why youth are misled to join the pirates. Most of teenage in piracy are recruited from intermediate and high schools in Somalia after they were convinced of promising future and money. The civil society and the government could fight this by engaging youth clubs and media to sensitize the youth and enhance their knowledge so that they make informed decisions for their lives.
The government should focus on the piracy population growing, because it’s taking the youth of our community and turning the youth into pirates. The least the government could do is make a public appearance, and let the Somali youth know that piracy is bad, and there are severe consequences.
The greatest threat of piracy is in the communities with the less fortunate people because they can barely afford to go to school which makes the youth have plenty of time to do things that might harm the community as well as the country. As well as, they want a job, which means volunteering is out of the picture. The easiest ways to get work is by showing physical strength and not intellectuality, because they were uneducated so the easiest, fastest workplace in the minds of the less fortunate is piracy.
Our vision in terms of minimizing piracy should mean invest in building more and free technical schools for those of who are above the school age and those who cannot afford to go to private school. This will decrease the number of youth joining in the acts of piracy.
Establishing youth friendly centers in Somalia can help the youth to remain positive and contribute the betterment of their communities. It can be a place youth to interact, exchange ideas, obtain knowledge, and motivation from educators and peer educators, to safe them from the violence. The community centers should focus on the youth’s needs, if the youth all focus on one important thing, than it would be better to make that happen. For instance, if they all want to go to school then simply organizing a fundraiser for children who can’t afford to go school, would pay off some of the money for the youth to pay less than they were supposed before.
by Abdikadir Dooy