EU-funded innovative community projects promote cohesion in fragile areas across Somalia
The Daryeel Project, an innovative intervention in Somalia funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by IOM, has the overall objective of bringing communities together to restore trust and build connections through their collaborative working on projects that will benefit everyone.
The Daryeel Project is taking place in newly recovered areas around Somalia where communities have put aside their political and social differences to raise funds in order to improve local services and infrastructure. The funds raised by the communities are complemented by the Daryeel Project in the form of matching grants or by the provision of additional funding sometimes exceeding the amount originally raised collectively. This joint ownership promotes community cohesion and the sustainability of the intervention.
One example of such joint community initiatives is the Diriye Hassan Health Post in a remote area outside Guriel town in central Galmudug state, serving around 2,700 people. The two hospitals originally used by the local population in Guriel were destroyed during fighting between Government forces and a local paramilitary group while increased insecurity unfortunately forced Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), to stop working in the region, thereby leaving the local community without access to nearby health services.
The Diriye Hassan community came together and collectively raised USD 10,000 towards the building a health post and these funds were topped up by the Daryeel Project with an additional USD 20,000. The health post was built and is now ready to serve the Diriye Hassan community and the more than 14 neighbouring communities without proper access to medical care. The Daryeel project has not only enabled the Diriye Hassan community to acquire fundraising skills but it has also strengthened the community's ties and trust!Ubah Ali Isse, a mother of six children, is happy to finally have a medical facility in her village. “This community used to travel more than 30 kilometres on a very rough road, with unreliable transportation, to receive medical treatment. This caused many people, including pregnant women to lose their lives on the way to hospital” said Ubah. She also added “Rather than face the hardship of travelling long distances, pregnant women used to give birth at home. The new health centre will now be a great help to support pregnant women and will also serve the neighbouring villages that don’t have any medical facilities”.
Another example of joint community initiatives that came under the Daryeel Project is the Arts and Culture Festival in the historic port town of Marka in southern Somalia, which has helped to bring the community together in a district long affected by conflict between clans. More than 500 people attended the festival which aimed to bring together youth and artists to enhance the role of arts in peacebuilding and to advocate for peace and reconciliation where communities came together and addressed issues that would otherwise led to conflict.
Noor Mohammed, a construction worker and father of four from Janaale town in Lower Shabelle took part in the festival and said that he came from a marginalized community and had not been invited to community events before. “It was a great pleasure for me to participate in the festival and to demonstrate my skills to the other community members. Because of this my job has changed – I used to be a construction worker, but now I am an artist and I sing at weddings and events”. He also added “the community now invites me to do paintings and draw murals at different offices and ask me to sing at weddings”.
Initiatives such as Arts and culture festivals promote peace by allowing people to interact and build connections, thereby leading to restored trust and cohesion in communities affected by conflict.