Somalia| Perched on the tip of the Horn, Puntland is a state that is part and parcel of the Federal Republic of Somalia, a country recovering from decades of prolonged civil war without or limited existence of social services such as socio-economic and environmental interventions.
With more than two decades of civil strife, the systems and processes of running a successful systematic governance have failed, Compounded by the degeneration of the moral values and social norms resulted in problems such as over dependence syndrome. The country was dominated by UN and INGOs and almost everything became project based with little or no attention towards implementing priorities which are citizen focused. This has negatively impacted the sustainability of interventions as the community contributions and ownership was drastically deteriorated.
On the other hand, the youth of the country are not part of the efforts of developing the nation, but are engaged in unlawful activities such as joining the insurgents and piracy. Besides, the deprived living conditions are considered to among the key factors that drive many young people to seek better life in Europe despite the enormous dangers that they face during their journey
Contrary to that horrifying conditions, one promising aspect was recently document at the heart of Garowe, the capital city of Puntland state of Somalia. A group of young people managed to establish a patriotic movement aiming at greening the country for beautification. Their motive is to show a difference that people can do interventions without the support of external assistances.
he Origins of the Campaign:
In a rainy day, driving nearby the recently established public park in Garowe town by the Garowe local government, a journalist by profession, Ibrahim Muse D. “Wadani” had posted this photo on his Facebook account inquiring the public on why it is not possible to green the city? The reaction from the Facebook users was the turning point that has initiated the birth of youth driven campaign “Hal Qof Hal Geed” which meant “One person, One Tree” to plant and beautify the Garowe city.
In a period of less than a month, the youth movement had mobilized enough resources from themselves to commence the first patch of planting 30 trees on a major roadway in the city. They used social media to fundraise for this noble course. Moreover, they organized meetings with the wider public and every step was a community driven and youth led initiative and for the first time they have decided not to trail for external support outside the Garowe residents.
Speaking at launching ceremony; the vice president of Puntland state government – H.E Camey- has praised the initiators of this local initiative; stressing the need for the active role of the youth for the development of this country. In addition, The VP urged the youth to roll out this campaign to the entire cities of Puntland to achieve more green and healthy cities. Concluding his remarks the Vice president also urged the youth to take part in the countrywide efforts to solicit for the drought that hit hard the entire country of Somalia.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, the inventor of this campaign also made a historic remarks expressing the different capacities the youth have towards improving this country. He stated that; “…. I have been dreaming about having a green city, but with the help of the Garowe residents we can all see that we can do it and we can make it”.
The Promising Aspects;
Although, generally the entire civil society remains week that focuses on basic service delivery, this greening campaign has mobilized different youth with different skills and background which exposed a different outlook of the typical Somali youth. Their activities were based with self-reliance and patriotism. Their major goal is striving to achieve better environment through tree planting and public engagement.
Although this may not be enough to beautify cities and restore the degraded fragile ecosystems of Somalia who did not receive much attention for the last three decades. However, the youth led campaign became a promising positive aspect that shows the country is recovering and is heading towards the desired development path.
For these young boys and girls, their major aim is to show a difference, they want to craft the Somalia they wish and dream to live in. their vision is to turn desert like cities into an evergreen towns through community contributions and self-reliance.
Sundus Mohamoud is an Environmentalist by profession, youth advocate and a columnist.