Puntland: Using films for peace
September 10, 2012
The mobile Audio-Visual Unit (AVU) of Interpeace’s local partner in Puntland, the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC), recently conducted an outreach mission to Buralah, Hasbahale and Godob Jiran. The mobile AVU allows the team to access remote areas that would typically not be reached by our peacebuilding programmes.
Reaching out to remote areas
The overall purpose of the trip was to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the issues that cause concern to rural communities. In order to accomplish this, a series of film screenings and film-based discussions were held throughout the rural and coastal communities. Along with these films, advocacy forums for girls and women on youth issues were organized in order to further discussion and understanding about women’s rights. Three public screenings and four film-based discussions and advocacy forums reached a total of 1,180 participants, a majority of which being students, young villagers and nomads.
Identifying pressing problems
During their travels to the different districts and villages, the three AVU researchers noted some of the problems affecting the Somali people; especially in the Godob Jiiran village. Because residents in this region depend on livestock, fishing and farming for their wellbeing, an infestation of pests currentlycauses great stress. The other great concern that the team noticed was the devastation that sandstorms have on the crops and farmland in the region. After recognizing these problems, the AVU team began to document them. Spending two consecutive days in the farming-valley of Balliga Godob-Jiran, they recorded the impact of the crises to the lives and livelihoods of the local people by filming and interviewing victims in the area.
Spreading the word
With the help of the AVU, two local FM radios (Radio Garowe and SBC) aired the programs live on the Puntland airwaves and created greater awareness about these tribulations affecting the region.
A success story
Having listened to the reports on the radio, Mr. Mohamud Sh. Mohamed Ibrahim, the Vice-Minister of Agriculture, stopped by PDRC’s office to address some of the issues that AVU had been raising awareness about.
During his visit, Mr. Mohamud expressed his gratitude for raising understanding of the issues that are troubling the local population. He began to mobilize resources and had meetings with the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit – Somalia. The AVU team was asked to share their clips and pictures, as well as to create a short storyboard about the pests troubling local farmers.
After two days, the AVU team received a call from the Godob-Jiran deputy mayor who said that the Ministry of Agriculture had contacted them and told them that a mission would assess the matter. This is a great example of how Interpeace’s research at the local level can influence policy at the national level.
Later on, the Ministry provided concrete support by distributing supplies such as seeds and pesticides to the farmer community of Godob Jiiran and Garo
we. On this occasion the Minister of Agriculture thanked PDRC for their efforts to reach out to remote communities.
Made possible with the support of the European Commission and the contributions from DANIDA, Norway, Sweden, the Swiss Confederation and USAID Somalia.