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Dahir Abdi Ali is a 23-year old energetic man who earns his living, and supports his large family, by working at a car wash service in Dobley Town. Abdi comes from a poverty-stricken family who lost everything during the famine in 2011. Prior to 2011, his family used to keep livestock and practice farming in the Middle Jubba region.

In 2018, Abdi and his family settled in Dobley. Having been severely affected by the drought, they decided to move to Dobley to search for new opportunities. Abdi, who is the eldest son, had never had vocational training and had no skills, nevertheless, in August 2021 he decided to establish a car wash and train himself on the job. With only a few basic tools he gradually improved, but with a daily earning of less than USD$10 he could hardly cover his basic needs.

Shortly after Abdi started his business, a market assessment team from Somali Lifeline Organization (SOLO) visited his car wash. SOLO was targeting youth operating small viable businesses, and Abdi met the selection criteria to be included in trainings focusing on management and generating business ideas. The trainings are conducted by SOLO, with support from UNFPA.

“UNFPA provides trainings, coaching and mentoring for youth entrepreneurs in Somalia. The trainings focus on developing entrepreneurial mindsets amongst youth across Somalia, with the objective to propel them into developing innovative business ideas,” says Fatuma Kuno Muhumed, a Programme Coordinator for Youth and Innovation with UNFPA Somalia.

Through the trainings, Abdi gained valuable insights and the much needed skills to modernize his business and facilitate its growth. The trainings aim to encourage youth to act as agents of change, provide economic empowerment and development. The larger objective of instilling such incentives in youth is to facilitate constructive engagement for youth in society and to preserve peace in Somalia.

During the initial phase of starting his business, Abdi faced major challenges and saw little scope for expansion. He started off with a bucket to collect water, some detergents and a piece of cloth to wipe cars

“I used too much of my energy to do the task and took long to finish any job. Even then, the quality of the work was not good and it proved difficult to get new customers. Lacking a proper water storage container was also part of the problem,” Abdi told the SOLO team.

After completing the trainings, SOLO awarded Abdi with a capital grant of $700. The support was offered in-kind and included a high pressure washer, a 1,000-liter water storage container, a high-capacity vacuum cleaner, protective tools and a structure for shade.

Today, Abdi is able to work efficiently and his business attracts many clients. He has managed to double his daily earnings to $20. In addition, he was able to hire two youth to assist him in his business. Abdi is now optimistic and has a very positive projection for his business. “I feel happy and well-motivated after receiving this microfinance support and proper tools from SOLO to run my business,” said Abdi. I thank UNFPA and SOLO for the support given to young entrepreneurs in Jubaland,” he added.