Puntland Y-peer Network (PYPN) is a groundbreaking and comprehensive youth to youth initiative pioneered by UNFPA; the network was established in September 2009 after 28 Y-peers have been trained as TOTs on 2008. PYPN is a community-based, non-profit making and non-political youth network and also an active member of Global Youth Peer Education Network. This partnership paves the way for experience sharing and enriching the activities of our organisation.
Puntland Y-peer network intends to promote a healthy life style through peer to peer approach and to empower young people to make responsible decisions. The strategy of empowering youth themselves to take charge of their own destiny has multiple benefits. First, the youth get to own the process and any interventions are seen as their own. That in itself means youth are motivated to drive the process forward recruiting peers for participation in any project design, implementation and review. Secondly, youth pay a heavy price for cultural and social dynamics and enlistment in unjustifiable cause like FGM and piracy. By making them change agents, they are able to reflect on these issues and question their merits and demerits. That way, it becomes easier to collectively and individually change attitudes and take a stand against the long held beliefs which keep the society in shackles.
Third and as a result, it augurs for a future generation which holds universal values of mutual respect, democratic decision-making, respect for womenfolk, rule of law and engaging in productive rather than destructive pursuits. Youth make a formidable force as the largest population group in addressing social, cultural, economic and political injustices and imbalances. The network’s goals is aimed at developing young people’s knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and skills and at enabling those to be responsible for and to protect their own health and environment to sustain their livelihoods as well as the natural resources.
Of equal import, youth are a vital player in leadership. It is therefore paramount that they are nurtured and given the space to participate in governance structures, processes and institutions. This is particularly so, because they are the future leaders, and their political participation ensures that they are part and parcel to decision making process. The Development of the entire country can only come about if and when youth work in concert and with other actors for common good.
The network focuses on programs such as reproductive health (HIV/AIDs and STI) and Human rights, child protection and asylum seekers). The development of sustainable livelihood and environmental protection activities all over Puntland is pivotal in the revival of a progressive, violent-free society which embraces universal human rights principles as enshrined in national and international frame-works. The latter include: UN Charter on Human Rights and Freedoms; Child Rights Convention (CRC), Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination and Violence against Women (CEDAW); And UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Peer education approaches will be used to improve knowledge, attitudes and habitudes of young people to improve their standard of life.
Nature of PYPN
Is an active Puntland local CBO Network of youth associations, which is fully registered with national authorities and has since acquired membership of Global Youth Peer Education Network and Horn of African peace Engagement (HOPE). This accreditation to an international body is testimony of the vibrancy, focus and commitment of PYPN to positive youth programmes. This underscores the organisation’s pursuance of universal values of accountability, transparency, gender mainstreaming, equal opportunities, self determination and collection as well as democratic decision-making. This is the unalienable guarantee that any partnerships will be driven along professional and ethical standards.
PYPN’s strives to realize a vibrant youth network which is pivotal in mobilizing peers to build a community which is free from health and environmental catastrophes, discrimination, violence and creates a conducive environment for livelihood development and sustainable use of natural resources.
PYPN exists to mobilise youth groups to enhance their employable skills, self confidence, and information regarding their livelihood, environmental protection, sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDs, gender as well as to increase youth participation in the country’s decision making process.
PYPN believes in the following core principles which make the acronym -VATRIINA:
- Rule of law as stipulated in the constitution and other national/regional bylaws plus international frameworks.
- International frameworks, policies and structures including Global Youth Peer Network policies and goals
- Nonpartisan and non-political participation
- Nationalism and one person- one vote principle of democracy.
- Adherence to Islamic religion and respect for other religions , Somali culture and good conduct
PYPN programs cover all regions of PuntlandState of Somalia namely: Nugal, Mudug, Sool, Bari, Karkar, Ayn, Sanag and Haylan. The coverage according to the number of program participants is 200,000 beneficiaries, who are direct or indirect beneficiaries of the various programs.
PYPN is a network of youth-focused, community based, development oriented voluntary organizations operating in Puntland. It is also free from all human segregation in terms of race, gender, culture, social status and other values or attributes. This means PYPN carries out appropriate interventions, adopting a position in which there is no discrimination. All our programs and projects are implemented based on objective analysis of the felt and diagnosed needs of vulnerable people.
The activities and programs have and shall continue to demonstrate commitment and devotion to the local community. PYPN’s members are obliged to preserve the principle of this commitment, honesty, independence, closeness to the community as well equity and equality as basis for its activities.
Specifically PYPN objectives are clear set and are as follows:
1) Bring together the different stakeholders [government, private Sector, civil society organisations (CSOs) and community for a cohesive plan regarding youth involvement and empowerment in development initiatives including water, sanitation, hygiene, forestation, family and community health, education, and employable skills training as well as livelihood support activities.
2) Identify and mobilise various youth associations, groups and institutions for development, health, peace-building and human rights activities.
3) Facilitate or support and sensitise/ educate the youth in the developmental work being done in their regions to strengthen ownership and promote sustainability.
4) Strengthen the role and participation of youth as an agent of peace building by holding meetings with the basic traditional agents including religious clerics, clan leaders, elders and women.
5) Attain and maintain the status of an organization at the fore front in mitigating, reducing as well as settling conflict in risk prone areas in Puntland.
6) Raise awareness among the different members of the community on the benefits of peace through traditional methods (circus, poems, and folklore) and through the more comprehensive approaches like symposia in partnership with relevant bodies/organizations.
7) Empower youth, and women through education and life skills training to build their leadership capacity.
8) Assess and build the capacity of different youth-focused organizations in all the regions of Puntland in partnership with relevant organizations/institutions.
Health with focus mostly on preventative information services in primary health care (immunisation) and reproductive health. (STIs, HIV/AIDs, family life education for youth, safe motherhood plus male involvement)
- Education-PYPN aims at supporting functional adult and youth literacy to those who missed out on primary education.
- Democracy and Peace building
- Human rights [Mitigating FGM/SGBV and promoting women’s rights plus child Protection].
- Livelihood support and development
- WASH- [Water, Sanitation and Hygiene]
- Environment Protection
- Food security, nutritional knowledge improvement (Crop growing, animal keeping.
PYPN endeavours to deliver satisfactory benefits to the entire society with focus on the most vulnerable groups. These are:
- Youth; this category entails needy male and female below age 35 years who are residents of the country. The aim is to raise the level of awareness among them to become active participants of any intervention. This age group is vulnerable because being in their prime time, they are energetic and productive. This means if not well mentored, they could put all this energy to self destructive use, becoming a danger to society. Conversely, when well groomed, the youth are a vibrant lot who can contribute in positive and far reaching ways to their own and the community’s development.
- MARPs- Most at Risk Persons; this category includes people who are intentionally or inadvertently marginalised due to social status, family background, caste, gender illness or disability. The aim is to provide the necessary assistance to them and present their problems to state authority for remedial action. This includes OVCs, former street kids, and former child soldiers, children forced into labour, former drug pushers/users, and children from dysfunctional homes. People living with HIV/AIDs call for special programmes including counselling, home care, palliative care, support to access ARVs and family support during illness and inevitable death. The youth are encouraged to use preventative methods (within the local context) to avoid catching STIs and HIV.
Still under MARPs is a category which is fast spreading within Somali community. These are child labourers who are often below 18 years and are illegally and often times, involuntarily recruited to work. While the conditions of abject poverty predispose such children to negative coping mechanisms, the right of the child is paramount. PYPN will continue to be vanguards of these susceptible youth, as the practice curtails their emotional and physical development. In addition, the individual’s progression in school is curtailed.
- Internal Displaced People (IDPs). PYPN shall assist this category with necessary support in terms of human rights information and legal aid with a view to seeking legal redress for their problems. Owing to the fragile situation in South Central, people are forced to flee. Given victims run off in disarray, family members are often separated. Even when together as a family unit, conditions in the hurriedly formed IDP camps are characterised by deprivation, congestion and numerous vices and abuse of rights and freedoms. PYPN has offered timely support to such families to enable them live a relatively meaningful life.
- This organization promotes human rights observance and assists GBV and FGM victims to seek psycho-social therapy (PST). Only with this support does a victim come to live with the trauma without adverse manifestation of absolute devastation.
- Launched a theatre performance campaign in Six Secondary Schools. Theatre is a powerful means of communication especially for delicate issues like FGM, SGBV and ideological differences. This is owing to the fact that theatre employs humour and covertly offers a mirror for the audience to look at themselves without being offensive. As the adage goes, “the way to a person’s head is through their heart.” When the audience views the show, laughing at excesses of certain characters, each person quietly and collectively begins to reflect on the themes raised. PYPN allows audience participation, whereby dialogue is facilitated, and provoking soul searching. School children teachers and the general public has testified to questioning their rigid mindsets after watching our performances.
- Created and produced a quarterly youth magazine. The publication has enabled PYPN to disseminate information with technical accuracy, aesthetic merit and cultural sensitivity. The use of the local language guarantees a full comprehension of what is being discussed. The quarterly magazine has attracted inundated demand and much feedback.
- Established anti-HIV youth clubs in three secondary schools in Puntland. The use of these clubs is multi fold. First they have served as crucial platforms to meet and share ideas concerning the youth in general. Individuals routinely present challenges at a personal level which is then discussed with the youth counsellor of each club. Club members are visibly more confident and exhibit better survival skills than those who are not. No body testifies to this better than teachers and parents.
- Trained 30 youth (19 girls and 11 boys) from the six regions of Puntland as Y-PEER TOTs. This is the first batch of cadres who are mobilising other youth to adopt responsible behaviour. PYPN consciously enlist more female than male youth as a strategy to effectively demonstrate gender mainstreaming.
- Trained 32 youth volunteers working with NGOs in Puntland and South Central Somalia as peer educators. This was a significant achievement as it has led to strengthening of the linkage between civil societies in both regions. This is a milestone which is most desirable as inter-regional can be ushered in, if the peoples of the regions have goodwill towards each other. Such joint initiatives promote the sense of oneness and PYPN is proud of this landmark feat. The other laudable issue here is that by working with 32 NGOs, PYPN is certainly building a network with formidable ties. The multiplier of having a contact person in each of these youth NGOs is far reaching.
- Trained 126 youth peer educators and deployed them in the six regions. This was the second tier of change agents and the increasing numbers is helping in reaching out more effectively. PYPN will work with partners to build this institutional and community capacity.
- The network commemorated International Youth Day (12th August) and World AIDS Day (1st December) for the last three years. In tandem with respective global themes for the day, PYPN mobilise youth to focus on the issues of concern.
- Produced 4 Radio Programs and 2 TV programs on various issues affecting youth. PYPN employs electronic mass media to cover the target areas as well as reach out to many other youth depending on the reach of the radio or TV station. Radio Dajir has been the preferred radio for many youth due to its favourite DJs, music mix and programming.
- Trained in collaboration with Bosaso College of Health Sciences 20 female nurses as TOTs. The college has a well designed training programme in various related aspects and has been instrumental in empowering youth with TOT skills, counselling and community mobilisation skills.
- Conducted training for 40 youth on HIV/AIDS and STI prevention. While there are no statistics on HIV prevalence amongst youth or the entire population, the incidence of STIs (Chlamydia and Candida) noted during exit surveys ( ante-natal care at MCHs) is circumstantial evidence that HIV is more prevalent than thought. This is especially in view of the high traffic along the Bosaso-Galkayo-Kismayo high way. Truck drivers are known to engage in casual sex all along the stop-overs where they easily lure food and milk street vendors with gifts of money, lifts and clothing.
- Produced a quarterly Newsletter with focus on FGM, SGBV, HIV/STI, child protection and piracy. This publication is in-house and updates member organisations of the network with plans, achievements, training opportunities among others.
- Implemented livelihood support project for Ballay village. This area was identified as having faced several disasters yet has a high population. Various mechanisms are being explored to support the community to get back on its feet. Restocking, animal health support, water sources and food items have been provided.
PYPN wishes to give specific attention to HIV/AIDS prevention. While less than 10 households have a known case of TB/HIV, we are offering family support including home visit and plan to do a pilot voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to ascertain the actual number of people infected with the virus. This will enable us to plan meaningfully to support the affected households. PYPN also plans to carry out awareness campaigns in urban and rurals on HIV/AIDs.
Water scarcity continues to be a hazard to people and animals. PYPN plans to intensify the interventions which are sustainable on top of the relief support.
Education is a priority and we have been supporting some schools with scholastic material and renovations. This is to be intensified. PYPN plans to increase employable skills for youth in Puntland.
PYPN will further build the capacity of members to support livelihood activities for youth within the respective communities. Various projects are planned including a Youth Apprenticeship scheme. This is important as youth need to be guided and supported in engaging in some livelihood activities. Short of this, they become disillusioned and prey to criminal tendencies.
Human rights are central to PYPN programmes. PYPN will build its capacity and that of our member organisations to pursue human rights approach to programming (HRAP). Gender issues, child rights, youth rights will be integral in any programmes at PYPN and that of the members. This includes inculcating fundamental principles of democratization and peace Building in our work plan.
The network is currently endowed with:
- 3 internationally trained volunteers including TOTs, and project managers
- 126 peer educators
- Main Office with all the facilities and regional focal points
PYPN partners include:
- Y-Peer International
- Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation
- Ministry of Women and Development of Family Affairs
- Puntland AIDS Commission PAC
- Ministry of Youth and Sports
- Ministry of Health
Puntland Youth Peer Network consists of:
- Board of Directors (BOD)
- Management team or the executive
- Advisory body
A group of chosen prominent and scholarly persons in the society constitute the BOD. This was done in recognition of the immense task at hand. 9 BOD members offer their expertise and will do so until the organisation builds its capacity so as to hire paid staff on a permanent basis. When such capacity is acquired, the BOD will be separated in its entirety fro the secretariat. This is to make lines of accountability clear-the BOD being policy makers while the paid staff implements policies passed at BOD level. In the meantime, PYPN is grateful to tap the vast experience and refined skills of Abdiwali Ali Abdulle who is Executive Director, Fatuma Ali Juma the secretary and Huda Ali Abdi who is treasurer. These straddle the BOD and Secretariat.
Executive Management Team [EMT]
- Executive Director
- Program Manager
- Administration And Finance Manager
- CapacityBuilding Officer
- Livelihood Officer
- PeaceBuilding Officer
- Liaison officer