HQ. Mogadishu, Somalia
POP-‐UP! TALK MOGADISHU A semi-spontaneous dialogue forum between community stakeholders and experts, debating current and emerging affairs in Somalia . . .
Jazeera Palace Hotel
Elman Peace & Human Rights Centre (EPHRC)
United States of America Embassy in Nairobi
Elman Peace And Human Rights Centre
HQ. Mogadishu, Somalia
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Unfortunately, in Somalia dialogue has not been seen as high a policy priority as military victory, yet it remains a paramount constituent to peacemaking. It is EPHRC’s belief that military solutions alone are not enough for ending conflict and inclusive approaches such as reconciliation, the promotion of active citizenship, strengthening of the existing social protection structures and community leadership will pave way for a peaceful end to conflict. Peace is more than just the absence of war and conflict; it means freedom and the liberty to have a full and equal participation in all elements of life; understanding what those elements mean to different factions of the community can only be realized through dialogue. To this extent, the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, in conjunction with the US embassy in Nairobi organized “POPUP! Talk Mogadishu”; a semi-spontaneous dialogue forum which introduces an innovative and inclusive approach to understanding and better addressing the current and emerging socio-political issues in Somalia. EPHRC invited a panel of experts who could provide insight on the pre-selected themes of discussion; Public Works, Youth Engagement, Security, Health, Education, Human Rights as well as Women & Politics. With a small audience of academia, community leaders, members of government, civil society and private sector representatives in attendance; the host posed 7 questions to the panel of experts and encouraged a debate between the panelists and took questions and comments from the live audience and those who joined the discussion via social media using the hash tag #PopTalkMog. The objective of the forum was announced at the onset and it was clarified to the participating panelists and the audience that dialogue is not the only goal of the convening, but a means of reaching the goal. And with that understanding, the participants shared experiences as well as short and long term recommendation to alleviating the concerns raised in the forum.
OUTCOME & IMPACT The forum fostered an innovative approach to human interaction in Somalia; centered on the principle of recognizing differences as well as areas of common good, the panelists and audience members demonstrated capacity and interest for change. The visible shift away from marginalization to consultation to participation, as well as the new approach of promoting partnerships between state and non-state actors was documented as a positive development. The forum achieved collaborative problem-solving through genuine dialogue and created a neutral space whereby the panelists and audience members contributed freely without fear of retribution for their remarks and opinions stated. The event was received as timely and most necessary as the conversations began emerging into many sensitive national and sub-national issues that invited views from key and opposing stakeholders. The forum drew from a live audience with various professional backgrounds and influences which deepened the circle of participants and conversation; to further broaden this space, there was an
HQ. Mogadishu, Somalia
opportunity for people who could not attend to participate in the discussion by submitting questions through Twitter or by Facebook. Social media is a great tool to foster awareness and is heavily used by the Somali Diaspora community for instant access to news, discussions and general interaction. The discussions from social media provided insight into the views of those interested in Somalia as well as the online-active stakeholders on development priorities. Also connected, the initiative engaged with traditional (satellite, print, online) media institutions as well as opinion leaders in an effort to bring the event to a wider audience. The forum increased collaborative dialogue among various actors from key and opposing sectors to exchange practical solutions designed to work for the greater benefit of all Somali people and the social good. The forum advanced alternative means of community engagement whereby the input and suggestions can be integrated into the global developmental discussion and ultimately with key figures from international organizations and entities such as the donor community who are actively involved in the humanitarian assistance of Somalia. --------------------
“The government is detached from the community, it does not know what our concerns are and thus, it is not reflected in public policy. I found this platform most successful and timely, because it gave us [the community] a chance to share ideas on the issues we face and a unique opportunity to be heard by those who are in a position to take it forward for change.”- Hassan Ali, University Professor “The discussion this forum brought forth was very important, we need to have such a convening regularly; it is in everyone’s interest to do so.”- Nadifa Osman, Minister of Public Works “I learned a lot and shared a lot, and I felt heard. The conversations were honest and unfiltered, this momentum needs to reach all parts of Somalia.” –Omaar Osman, Youth Activist
PANEL OF EXPERTS: Expert Panelist on Public Works Nadifa Osman is the Minister of Public works. She worked in the Ontario Minister of Energy & environment in Toronto Canada as an engineer. She graduated from the University of Minnesota and has been an consultant with various institutions.
HQ. Mogadishu, Somalia Expert Panelist on Women & Politics
Fawzia Yusuf Adam was the first woman appointed to the position of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Somalia. Founder of Hargaisa University, she is currently a Member of Parliament. Expert Panelist on Youth Engagement Koshin Hashi is a practicing lawyer who graduated from University of Hargeisa with LLB degree in Law. He is currently the Assistant Operations Manager of a rehabilitation project that deals with disengaging combatant youth from Al-‐Shabab Expert Panelist on Human Rights Fartuun Abdisalaan Adan is the Executive Director of Elman Peace and Human Rights Center; a national scope organization incepted in 1990. She established the first rape crisis center and women's safe house in Somalia to assist women who are victims of Gender Based Violence. She provides rehabilitation & reintegration support for children involved in armed conflict as well as economic empowerment for youth.
HQ. Mogadishu, Somalia Expert Panelist on Security
Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig is a current Member of Parliament in the Somali Federal Government. He was also an active politician in the Transitional Federal Government, serving before as the deputy-‐minister of interior, deputy-‐minister of defense, deputy minister of national security. In addition to being a member of parliament, he is also a member of the commission of security in the Parliament of the Federal Government of Somalia. Expert Panelist on Education
Fouzia Warsame is a PhD. candidate at the Ontario Institute for
Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, Canada. Her PhD focuses on sociology and equity studies in education with a particular concentration on teacher education and nation building in post-‐conflict Somalia. Currently, Fouzia is the Dean of the faculty of Education at the Somali National University (SNU), and Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education. Fouzia has an extensive knowledge and work experience in educational research, teacher education and education policy.
Expert Panelist on Health
Dr. Mahad Mohamed Hassan is the Director of Non-‐
Communicable Diseases Unit Directorate of public Health for the Ministry of Health. Dr. Hassan obtained his MBBS degree from Benadir University Somalia and currently is pursuing his MPH. He is also a lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics at Benadir University Faculty of Medicine. He has been a member of the Health Sector Strategic Plan committee working on developing Somalia. From 2009-‐2011 he was a Physician based at Aden Abdulle Osman Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia.