HIRDA at National Youth Conference in Mogadishu
HIRDA was invited to participate in National Youth Conference organized by Ministry of Youth and Sport of Somali Federal Government. The main purpose of this conference was to involve youth into the political process. The ministry invited youth and civil society organization to contribute to solving issues such as; migration, unemployment, lack of quality education, radicalization and many other issues that Somali youth face in daily bases.
HIRDA has record of youth engagement both in the Netherlands and Somalia and was invited to this event to advise and consult the ministry in areas such as; youth empowerment, sport and peace building. Aisha Ahmed, HIRDA communications officer in the Netherlands has, on behalf of HIRDA participated in the conference.
The two days conference was opened by President of Somalia; Hassan Sheikh, who urged Somali youth to unite and get involved in the decision making of this country. He said; ‘Unless you actively participate no one will hand you anything’. He highlighted the importance of youth of Somalia, as they make up almost 3rd of the total population of Somalia. The minister of Youth and Sport also advised the youth to demand their rights.
Total of 100 youth participated in the conference from all regions of Somalia and abroad. There were group discussions that were held during the conference to discuss issues such as; unemployment, education opportunities, youth and leadership, migration and radicalization of the youth. Each group put forward a draft that includes possible solutions for the existed problems.
Aisha Ahmed said when asked about her experience in the conference “The youth were very active during the discussions, they were eager to put forward their grievances in constructive and productive matter, which to me was very inspirational”.
HIRDA’s recommendations were investment in Sport and using it as a tool for peace building. HIRDA has seen the impact of sport in battling conflict and peace building. Football is for instance very popular in Somalia therefore, investing in building stadiums, organizing tournaments can be beneficial in long term.
In conclusion, the ministry of Youth and Sport drafted a report that included the ideas generated by youth participants and civil society groups and promised to work toward turning the recommendation into policies that can be implemented in near future.