Established by Somali Family Services in 2007, the Puntland Library & Resource Center is the first and only public library in the region. The Center provides a comprehensive collection of reading materials, a computer lab with Internet and IT services, large conference halls, a coffee shop and much more. In addition to maintaining a large collection of books, the Resource Center—in partnership with Books for Africa, Counterpart International and UNICEF—has distributed over 2 million volumes to local schools, the government and community NGOs. Each year over 6,000 community members visit the Resource Center to read while another 13,000—over a third of which are women and girls—visit the Center’s state-of-the-art computer and IT lab. This accomplishment is especially notable given Somalia’s extremely low school enrollment and literacy rates for girls (15 percent and 13 percent, respectively).
Apart from providing much-needed services to the community, the Resource Center plays a critical role in helping advance SFS’s work in Puntland by providing a safe venue for carrying out activities in some of the organization’s key programmatic areas.
SFS regularly holds capacity building trainings, workshops and forums for other civil society organizations (CSOs) at the Resource Center. The Center provides the necessary space for civil society, local government, traditional leaders, and other stakeholders to engage in open dialogue that is critical for democratization and peace building. Through the Resource Center, SFS has also facilitated over a dozen successful workshops, including several trainings for Members of Parliament and forums on promoting human rights, democracy and governance, and security and peace building.
Empowering Women and Youth
SFS utilizes the Resource Center to provide job skills and other trainings to women and youth. In the last year alone, SFS has used the Center to train nearly 200 youth in job skills, business, marketing and other practical skills. In addition to facilitating such trainings, the Resource Center provides women and youth with access to the Internet and to its Computer Information Center.
Building for Tomorrow
Through the planned addition of new recreational facilities and sports programs, SFS intends to expand on the existing success of the Puntland Library and Resource Center. SFS believes that recreation and sports are not only critical to build healthy lifestyles and leadership skills, but that they can also plant the seeds for peace through cultivating an understanding of and appreciation for ‘the rules of the game.’ Currently, SFS is exploring the possibility of constructing a new playground, recreation room and basketball court.
- Adventist Development and Relief Agency
- Books For Africa
- Counterpart International
- Diakonia, Sweden
- Education Development Center
- International Labour Organization
- National Endowment for Democracy
- State of Minnesota Department of Human Services
- UN Political Office for Somalia
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- United Nations Population Fund
- World Movement for Democracy