Reform of civil service in Somalia gives better services to the people

Video about the Civil service reform, part of the UNDP Somali Institutional Development Project, funded by the EU.

In Somalia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) are helping government institutions to function more effectively and respond to their citizen’s needs. After more than two decades of conflict, the country’s institutions have suffered immensely, as state structures have been fragmented, government buildings have been destroyed and the civil service has been scattered. The Somali Government and their partners face enormous challenges to ensure inclusive, equitable and accountable governance, in some cases just to maintain a fragile peace, and in others to safeguard effective delivery of services to the Somali people.


Building credible state institutions


Since 2009, the UNDP Somali Institutional Development Project (SIDP) – in collaboration with Somali partners and with the support of the EU – is helping Somalia build credible state institutions. The project aims at developing key Federal, Somaliland and Puntland government institutions, so that they can administer and manage core government functions more effectively and thus become more efficient in providing public services to the population, especially to the poor and other vulnerable groups.


UNDP’s work in governance has largely been behind the scenes – providing advice and financial support to improve the way that government institutions function, and to support civil servants to perform their roles better.


Reform of civil service critical


Reforming the civil service is a critical entry point towards improved government functioning, and it is one of the main pillars of the SIDP; “If we want our nation to succeed we need to really look deeply at what we offer and how we handle the civil servants of this country”, notes Amal, an administrator in Somaliland’s Civil Service Commission.  The project also focuses on improving public administration and public financial management and repairing physical infrastructure.


“We have made a lot of progress thanks to the civil service reform - which is the priority in the public sector reform, because it touches all other sectors”, stated the Director of the Somaliland Anti-Corruption and Good Governance Commission Mohamed Hassan. “A large number of civil servants have been trained and undertaken a university first degree program and some of them, the master program.”


A long term partnership with UNDP has allowed the Somaliland government to establish its own Civil Service Institute, and to gradually improve the variety and quality of training it offers – it now boasts public administration and accounting programmes, and diplomas in English, as well as short courses on a variety of topics.  UNDP provides both technical and financial support to the Civil Service Institute, which includes targeted support for women to enable their candidacy to senior positions. The institute has so far trained more than 2,800 civil servants.


civil service training in Somalia
Civil service training in Somalia. Photo: UNDP Somalia

Amaran Abdi Ismail is one of many women who have improved their professional skills and obtained a qualification, thanks to UNDP and EU support. Before receiving support from the project, Amaran worked at the Central Bank as a secretary.

“The Civil Service Institute changed my life. Today I am a Director General of human resources... I am very happy,” she says.

In 2012, the Civil Service Commission in Somaliland ran a survey in Awdal and Sahal, two regions of Somaliland, asking the people living in each region how they feel about the services they receive: “the citizens of those two regions where so thrilled that the government of Somaliland is finally asking them about what they think”, noted Amal. These surveys, she says “make leaders more accountable in delivering best services to the citizens.”

Mohamed Bogoreh, Director of the Civil Service Institute is sure: “after 15 years, the Somali country system will be as modern as in developed countries. When you invest in your people, you invest in your country”.

About the SIDP


The UNDP Somali Institutional Development Project (2009-2015) is run in collaboration with Somali partners (Somali governments and the Civil Service Institute and Commissions). The EU has contributed EUR 13 million to the SIDP for the period 2010-2013.


SIDP addresses the need for an effective government structure able to guarantee basic services to the people. Its ultimate intended outcome is to foster fundamental institutional reform and development.


In order to achieve this goal the project focuses on four key pillars of action:

  • Development of policies and legal framework for effective governance functioning.
  • Development of human resources.
  • Improvement of public administration and public financial management.
  • Development of physical infrastructure.


Read more about the project