Somalia is overcoming decades of lawlessness, conflicts and social instability which affected the common moral obligations of citizens, equality, human rights, freedom of expression and lack of political inclusion for the communities in Mogadishu, especially the youths.
The Somali youths who are approximately 75% of the total population have always been locked out of the decision making groups in the public institutions thus promoting poor knowledge, attitude and practice of good governance among the Mogadishu local youths. Rights-share-holders, especially the youths has zero engagements and interaction with their duty bearers in public office, the youths who are the majority workforce group of the Somali community has suffered a long lasting negligence and exclusion while women also remained victims of politics that is widely dominated by men.
The combination of all the above mentioned challenges affecting the effectiveness of youths in social and community development activities prompted the UC willingness to intervene and address some of the key challenges holding the Somali youths behind the social, economical and political scenes.
Three days youths driven awareness raising campaign, discussion forum and strategic online media messaging narratives was undertaken and facilitated by UC and ForumSYD respectively. During these three days, youths in Mogadishu discussed brainstormed and taken record of the federal interim constitution gaps and shortcomings that directly affects the effectiveness of the Somali youths in the ongoing state and peace building programs which is led by the federal government of Somalia along the financial and technical supports of the international community. The participants encompasses youths from all walks of lives including; local university graduates, students, pupils, police, local youth organizations, young entrepreneurs and UC youths volunteer networks. The total participants of the three days youths awareness raising campaign in the review process of the Somalia federal interim constitution was 300 Mogadishu local youth (both girls and boys). Among the participants include 10 MPs who were also members of the interim constitution review committee were invited in the last day of the three days campaign in order to present them with the constitutional inputs of the Somalia local youths in Mogadishu. Different approaches and methodologies have been applied to enable the youths equally participate and share new ideas and recommendation before the final constitution is printed and legalized without the inputs of the majority right-share-holders.
Civil society organizations in post conflict setups have vital responsibilities to establish linkages between rights-share-holders and duty bearers in public office through information dissemination, advocacy, while also promoting the social cohesion and sustainable peace among its citizens.
Main objectives of the campaign
The campaign objectives was to set a space for Mogadishu local youths and federal government officials to interact and enable the local youths with the opportunities to have a voice in the ways the government intends to address the youths that are affected by the compound threats of instability, climate shocks, exclusions, environmental degradation, and socio-economic marginalization.
Some of the key objectives achieved during the three days campaign include;
- Established working relationships between the Mogadishu local youths and legislative bodies of the federal government of Somalia
- Examined youth’s awareness on constitutional review process.
- Increased the constitutional knowledge and awareness of the youths in Mogadishu
- Identified the gaps of the provisional interim constitution that directly effects youth’s common moral obligations as a good and well informed citizens, self responsibility and engagements in the public development sectors
- Developed a space for Mogadishu local youths and federal government senior official to interact, share ideas, and hold duty bearers in public office accountable to their office powers
- Discussed youths led initiatives that promotes and strengthens the social moral values for peace, gender equality, human rights, democracy and good governance
Different types of interactive and participatory methodologies have been applied to enable participants become very active throughout the campaign sessions.
The campaign sessions started with the introduction of day activities and refresher of the previous day activities, three certified facilitators and three campaign organizer were hired to help UC project team to spearhead the campaign and deliver the anticipated campaign objectives
There was a brief pre-test conducted by facilitators which had five questions and was aimed at analyzing the participants’ existing knowledge of the constitution and how much they already know about some of the topics which are to be discussed in the campaign workshop.
The campaign facilitators, in consultation with the participants, set the basic guidelines to be adhered to by every participant during the three days campaign sessions in order to avoid campaign pollutions that may affect the concentrations and attentions of the willing participants
Participants were asked about their expectations from the campaign workshop as their expectation were taken into record by UC project team.
Key campaign workshop methodologies include
- Group discussion
- Panel discussion
- Group work
- Debate session
The campaign encountered some challenges during the last day of the campaign workshop, a third of the invited MPs could not avail themselves due to security fear or the magnitude of the Mogadishu youths led campaign to participate in the constitution’s review process. However the youths input were delivered to these MPs in writing, but their lack of presence at the last day of the campaign affected much of the youth’s awaited opportunity to voice their concern in front of their faces
The whole of the three days campaign workshop was information and idea sharing on the constitution thus enabling participants to acquire new constitution information that have both negative and positive effects on their lives.
UC learned that the Mogadishu local youths needs few facilitation resources to engage with government officials and hold them accountable while also creating the spaces to seek their rights as the majority of the country’s population.
Campaign progress evaluation
The campaign workshop was successfully conducted and all the participants took an active role throughout the campaign sessions. According to evaluation chart, the content of the campaign workshop was well understood and equally participated by all the participants. Participant’s feedback were taken after every campaign session and evaluated by the facilitators and UC project team. Participants were also asked questions at end of every campaign day in order to measure to their understanding about campaign contents.
The participants recommended UC to find ways to facilitate such a campaign participated by youths from all over the Somalia regions in order to promote linkages among the Somali youths for the common obligations as Somali youths and as well orchestrate youths led constitutional campaign that easily withdraws the attentions of the federal government top leaderships and as well the international community.
UC recommended the Mogadishu youths to further strengthen the Somali youths dialogue/forums while enabling a vibrant environment for positive youth movements all over the country