The City Youth Need: Closing of the Urban Campaign in Mogadishu, Somalia

The City Youth Need: Closing of the Urban Campaign in Mogadishu, Somalia

The youth in Mogadishu are passionate, ready to make changes and ready to leave their imprint on the city. This was the consistent message delivered by youth throughout the urban campaign, a series of roundtable discussions which sought to cultivate the ideas and vision youth have for their city. Launched by UN-Habitat Somalia Programme on 18th June 2016, the urban campaign was a prime opportunity for youth to define a clear vision of what their city looks like as well as provide youth with the platform to develop clear goals for achieving that vision.

Held at the Mogadishu One Stop Youth Centre youth from across the districts in Mogadishu as well as key stakeholders in the community were invited to participate in urban campaign sessions designed to economically, socially and politically empower youth in the city and focused on the following:
  • The city youth need is economically vibrant and inclusive
  • The city youth need is collectively managed and democratically governed
  • The city youth need has a shared identity and sense of place

Recognising the immense role youth can play towards making substantive contributions to the development of their communities, and society at large, the urban campaign was an opportunity for youth to be placed at the helm of the discussion as they engaged with political, economic and social leaders. With close to 700 youth participating across all the sessions, the roundtable discussions successfully brought together various stakeholders from across the city.

Coming to a vibrant close on October 13th, 2016, the closing ceremony focused on social inclusion and ways for youth to build a shared identity for their city. Hundreds of youths thronged the Mogadishu One Stop Youth Centre in Shangani district for the event, which was addressed by the Mayor of Mogadishu, Sheikh Yusuf Hussein Jimale, and the UN Youth Adviser, Joao Scarpelini, among others. The Mayor of Mogadishu welcomed the views of the youth but challenged them to join efforts to transform the city. “How can you have a peaceful city if you are not taking part in security? How can you want a beautiful city when you are not taking part in beautifying it? You want a city with clean water and cheap electricity. If that is what you want, we have to work together to make it happen,” said Mayor Jimale.
 
 
In his remarks, Mr. Scarpelini noted that young Somalis constitute the majority of the population and their views and aspirations should be heard and used as a basis to build the kind of nation and city they wish to live in. “We need to make sure that we create space for young people to become partners, not only beneficiaries. We need to create an opportunity for young people to be empowered, to gain economic means, to engage socially and politically and to become change agents for building a Somalia they want,” the UN youth adviser said.
 
“I want to live in a city that is peaceful, a city where I have access to free education, proper health services, clean water and other basic things that will allow me to lead a meaningful life,” said Fardowsa Hussein Ali, a young woman from Shangani district.  A culmination of the challenges and solutions presented by youth throughout the urban campaign, youth reiterated their need for a vibrant capital city capable of fostering economic prosperity as well as social and political inclusivity. 
 
UN-Habitat Somalia