Promote gender equity among Somali families by providing access to Public Education

My name is Ridwan and I am from Mogadishu, Somalia. Currently, I am an Atlas Fellow (Class 26) serving at Save the Children US. I am here today to tell you about Somalia and some challenges we are facing with our education system.

Since the collapse of the central government of Somalia in 1990, the education sector has broken down which has led to the highest illiteracy amongst our population in history, particularly young girls and women. According to UNICEF, Somalia has one of the world’s lowest enrolment rates for primary school-aged children – only 30% of the children in Somalia are in school and less than half of those children are girls. Furthermore, only 18% of children in rural households are in school.

“MY BEST moment(s) of becoming Atlas Corps Fellow”

I don’t know where to start but to be honest I’m Ridwan Sheikh-Nor because of Atlas Corps It’s where I got this opportunity of serving in US for one year and met with talented nonprofit leaders across the world. Three specific dates mark my best memories of this great institution. First, I won’t forget that my friend Noman Mustafa from Pakistan in 2016 recommended me to apply Atlas Corps fellowship. For many that looks normal, but being a young,fresh,energetic person and joining one of the best nonprofit leader’s network in the world was a dream came true.
Next, it was January 2017 that I will never forget when I transitioned from being interview round of selection process of semifinalist’s was the hardest part of getting this fellowship since I didn’t hear any update till that date. Although I got moved in the finalist stage it was not easy to find placement easily. after five months I got an email from Brittany Gropp that notified me my application has submitted to Save the Children for further consideration in June 2017 and I don’t know how I can express my feeling when I got that email.
Third, I’ll always remember the email from Atlas Corps extended my fellowship offer which will start on September 9,2017 that resulted me to come in in US. At the time, I got new contract from my employer in Somalia, which offers me good pay, highly satisfied my work performance but I decided to think the future and the change of life and it will pay me off. No one can understand the impact of that decision in my life considering my background and that’s why I’m totally indebted to Atlas Corps. All these events carry big details that deserve a book. And surely, I’ll write a book of my journey with this institution.
There are colleagues who shaped my life and I personally thank them all. Noman Mustafa who was the first person who saw my potential and personally asked to apply this. My thanks also go to Katie Capp who made good recommendations. The two years that I have worked while she was in DC was joyful and enjoyment to me and her supportive gave me the platform to shine and perform well. Jasmina Dimac also has a special impact in my career. It’s when I worked with her that I learned what it means to be a middle-level manager. My thanks also go to Nick Cortina and rest of the Atlas Corps staff who made my dream true. Also,f there’s someone who mastered the concept of personal development, it’s Scott Beale who made happen to bring all these talented people from arround the world. I still emulate his leadership style and my role model from the time I joined Atlas Corps as a fellow until today.