The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) launched a three-year national strategy to enhance awareness of key FGS policy agendas and initiatives among the Somali people at a high-level donors conference in the national capital.
Known as the National Strategy for Public Awareness 2018-2021, the document will be implemented at the federal and state levels under the guidance of the federal Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
“We expect that this strategy will foster unity and harmony which is good for the socio-economic development of the country. We should be able to resolve our differences through dialogue,” said the federal Minister of Information, Dahir Mahmud Gelle, during the conference, which was attended by FGS ministers, officials of five federal member states, United Nations and African Union officials, and members of the diplomatic corps.
Under the plan, the FGS is expected to carry out robust public awareness campaigns in the media and also work closely with community associations to help promote trust between the government and the public on a wide range of issues, including security matters.
The federal Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Abdirahman Jibril Hosh, said the strategy will also provide an opportunity to highlight the achievements of the government, while at the same time appealing to the country’s youth to shun violent extremism.
“In the end, it will be the responsibility of the Somali people to defeat Al-Shabaab and it is the reason why we are reaching out to the youth. Statistics indicate that about 70 percent of our population is youth, and unless we win their hearts and minds we will not be able to defeat terrorism,” the minister stated.
The unveiling of the strategy was welcomed by UN officials and other international partners who reiterated their commitment to support the federal government and the federal member states achieve their goals of promoting patriotism, volunteerism and national cohesion, among other objectives.
“We welcome today’s launch of the Ministry of Information’s National Strategy for Public Awareness campaign, and the mission takes this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to support the implementation of the strategy over the next three years,” said Carlos Araujo, chief of the Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Group of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia.
The Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, also expressed confidence that the strategy will help the federal government, its security forces and key stakeholders to counter extremism. The delegates attending the conference also expressed optimism that the strategy will help unify the country.
“This strategy is the first attempt to effectively address the challenges facing the youth, and it seeks to involve them in peacebuilding,” said Leila Ad’ed Osman, chairperson of the Somali Women Journalist Rights Association.