Somalia launches digital outreach section to prevent and counter violent extremism

Mogadishu, 10 December 2018: The Ministry of Information, Culture & Tourism of the Federal Gov-ernment of Somalia has today launched the Digital Outreach Section of the Centre of Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) in Somalia.

Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, H.E. Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng. Yarisow) during the opening ceremony of the digital outreach section said “The Ministry of Information has been leading the efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism for some time, and today’s ceremony is evident to our commitment and determination to reach an end state where conflicts are addressed politically as opposed to through violence. The Digital Outreach section is also part of Strand 4 of the Comprehensive Approach to Security (CAS) in order to implement the Somali National Strategy and Action Plan for Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE).”

“The Digital Outreach Section plans to raise public awareness campaign on CVE, Security and Peace Building, Good governance, Civic Education, and Implementing programs that can provide confidence to the people. This requires holistic approach on media in order to counter terrorist’s narratives of violence and destruction.” Said the Minister

Effective campaigns on social media will contribute to the overall peace and stability in Somalia and the Digital Outreach team aims to: 
(a) Provide accurate and useful information to young people, which in turn helps them to understand the benefits of democratic institutions in Somalia; 
(b) Appealing to young people’s emotions to stay away from joining Al-Shabaab. 
(c) Discrediting Al-Shabaab by exposing their brutality, and hence weakening it’s following and public support. 
(d) Providing a platform for the youth to exchange information and show their tal-ents by taking part in the nation building of the country. 
(e) Increase negative public opinion on Al-Shabaab and its radicalisation process.

The establishment of this Digital Outreach Section is part of Strand 4 of the Compre-hensive Approach to Security: The objective of strand 4 Prevention and Countering of Violent Extremism is to reach an end state where conflicts are addressed politically as opposed to through violence. This includes support to operationalize the Somali National Strategy and Action Plan and facilitate the implementation of the national Strategy by the federal member states and the relevant line ministries in consultation with civil society including Youth, Women, Elders and Religious Leaders, private sector and the diaspora. This will include support to challenge extremist ideology being propagated through private education, religious networks and social media; disengagement and reintegration of AS fighters; political engagement with those who support extremist groups; and support for intra-Somali reconciliation and conflict resolution.

Given the fact that Somali youth is estimated to be 75% of Somali population and majority of them are actively engaged in the Social Media, it is essential that digital outreach campaigns that engages with communities is established. Young people also need to see how communities are building their nation and to see how nationalists and patriots can bring people together so that a united and prosper Somalia can be established. Trust building between the government and the public is very important and the use of the Social media can strengthen this endeavour paves the way for the readiness and the implementation of the government’s vision 2020 Election of One Person One Vote.

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