Puntland: Reviving a culture of peace
April 25, 2013
The Mobile Audio-Visual Unit (MAVU) of Interpeace’s local partner in Puntland, the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC), has released a film documenting the civic education campaign for secondary schools it has carried out over recent months. The film showcases PDRC’s Civic Education Programme, which uses traditional tools such as oral literature to spread messages and entrench ideals of peace, democracy and unity among Puntland’s youth.
Expanding the societal dialogue
The Mobile AVU seeks to incorporate rural communities and those with poor literacy skills into the societal dialogue using film as an outreach tool. In particular, MAVU focuses on empowering youth by creating a culture of dialogue and participation.
The Civic Education Programme was launched in 2012 and reaches out to secondary schools in Puntland’s most remote areas, encouraging the participation of both male and female students. The interactive programme is based on students’ performance of poems and songs on an array of topics such as the need for gender equality, the importance of education and unity, and the need to increase youth appreciation for the traditional culture. The significance of poetry is particularly prominent in Somali society, which has a very strong oral tradition.
Fostering a culture of participation
The programme promotes civic education and involvement among Puntland’s youth through the dual approach of spreading values of cooperation, leadership, education, and equality as well as the reviving of the traditional culture. Following their involvement with the programme, the students in the film discussed their enhanced appreciation for the local culture and the way in which the programme inspired them to engage in building the future of Puntland.
The film contributes to the Civic Education Programme by documenting and sharing the voices of rural youth. “The video project works to engage Puntland’s youth so they will be inspired to help achieve the best possible future for Puntland,” explained Abdinasir M. Yusuf, MAVU Researcher. This provokes a dialogue about the way forward for Puntland among a previously disengaged segment of the population.
Motivating Puntland students
The recent screening of the film during an awareness-raising workshop for students in a secondary school in the town of Galkayo illustrated its inspirational power. The video was an eye-opener for many students, who were surprised by the ability of their peers to write high-quality poems. As one of them shares: “The film has really inspired us. It is a motivating project for all Somali students. Good knowledge of our literature is very useful for our studies and our outlook for the future.”
The students were captivated by the imaginative use of poems to convey engaged messages about social and political issues. In a region where youth are still largely underrepresented in the public and political space, this project demonstrated to students that new and creative means of expression are more accessible than they may have thought.