Somali Region: Puntland celebrates its youth
June 11, 2014
Some 500 people – including high ranking officials from Puntland – convened in Garowe on Somali Youth Day to celebrate the importance of youth in rebuilding Somali society.
Bringing together youth from remote areas
The commemoration was co-organized by Interpeace’s partner organization, the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC), and brought youth from all corners of Puntland together. Over the course of three days, young people from across Puntland had the opportunity to interact and build bonds of cohesion and friendship.
Highlighting how difficult it is for the young people of Puntland to connect with each other and their political leadership, one participant stated: “I have never before been to the capital of Puntland.”
The acting Director of PDRC, Ali Farah Ali, explains: “It is PDRC’s tradition and practice to work to serve the communities in hard-to-reach areas in Puntland.” PDRC has been working with Interpeace for over 18 years. Its mission is to participate in peacebuilding and reconstruction of the Somali region, particularly in Puntland, and to contribute to the creation of a democratic system of government based on the equality of all citizens.
PDRC recognized for its work
At the celebration event the President of Puntland, his Excellency Abdiweli Ali Gaas, awarded a medal of honor to PDRC in recognition of the organization’s “honesty and commitment” to the communities of Puntland.
Shortly after, President Gaas addressed the young people in a speech in which he discouraged them from engaging in illegal migration and made promises to improve their employment opportunities. Commending the work of the organizers, the President thanked them “for bringing together the farthest districts in Puntland […].”
The event finished with a football game to encourage community building amongst the youth from all parts of Puntland. The match was attended by hundreds of supporters including the youth, residents of Garowe, key government representatives and members of civil society.
More efforts to reach out to the youth
The commemoration featured strong commitments to the youth of Puntland. Pledges have been made to connect with the more remote areas, bridging gaps between youth and creating more employment opportunities for young people. Reaching out to youth from often overlooked locations will help to reawaken hopes, contribute to social cohesion, and set a renewed impetus for youth collaboration.