Somali Voices

"Somali Voices" is a multi media project by the United Nations in Somalia that was developed for the High Level Partnership Forum (HLPF) in Copenhagen on 19-20 November 2014.. The HLPF was a ministerial meeting that took place one year after the New Deal to take stock of progress being made and discuss Somalia's future. The project was all about letting ordinary Somalis tell the story of Somalia's success and how their lives have changed for the better.

Osman Guraye, Director Darwish Primary School, Garowe

Osman Guraye

After two decades of conflict, access to safe water and sanitation is still limited for many Somalis. With funds from the Common Humanitarian Fund, OCHA Somalia and partners have provided a primary school for orphans in Garowe with access to safe water. The Director of the school talks about how it is important to invest in young generations hoping that they will lead the country into a better future.

Watch the video here.



Mohamed Abdullahi, Secretary-General of NUSOJ, Mogadishu

Mohamed Abdullahi is the Secretary-General of NUSOJ

Mohamed Abdullahi, Secretary-General of the National Union of Somali Journalists, has been working as a journalist for over 18 years - despite the dangers that this profession brings. Journalists are frequent targets of attacks and a new Media Law aims at restricting their freedom of expression. "I feel strongly that good journalism can change people’s lives in making informed decisions and putting the government in check. Through my work, I can help and contribute to building a brighter Somalia." Watch his video here.



Ruqiya Yusuf, Director of the Somaliland Women Lawyers' Association, Hargeisa

Ruqiya Yusuf is the Director of the Somaliland Women's Lawyers Association

In 2013, only 17 per cent of reported rapes in Hargeisa resulted in a conviction, and many more are not reported in the first place. 26-year old Ruqiya Yusuf, the Executive Director of Somaliland Women's Lawyers' Association, advocates for better access to justice for vulnerable women in Somaliland. "People often ask 'Why do you work as a lawyer. That job is not good for a woman'. I tell them 'If you knew your rights, you wouldn't be asking that question,' Ruqiya says. Watch the video here.



Shafi Mohamed Abdi, student, Togwajaale

Somaliland school boy

Six out of 10 Somali children do not go to school—one of the worst enrolment rates in the world. However, as relative peace takes hold in some parts of the country this is beginning to change. Shafi Mohamed Abdi is one of the many children enrolled in primary school and benefiting from the meals provided. He talks about how the food being provided by the Ministry of Education and WFP helps him concentrate at school and is also the only meal in the day he can rely on as his family often does not have the means to cook, especially in times of drought. Watch the video here.



Sharah Mohamud, Hope IDP settlement, Mogadishu

Internally displaced woman at Hope IDP camp

Sharah Mohamud and her eight children live in the Hope settlement for internally displaced people in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. When her husband did, life become difficult for the family. In order to access medical services, Sharah needs to travel five kilometres to the nearest hospital. The polio vaccinations provided by the Ministry of Health with support from UN agencies are a relief and mean Sharah has to worry about one less thing in her life: “Thankfully, the vaccinators come to our camp frequently during the year. As I am a mother and know the importance of vaccinations, I wish to vaccinate all my children”. Watch the video here.



Hibo, midwifery student at Edna Hospital, Hargeisa

Hibo is a midwifery student at Edna Hospital Hargeisa

Supported by the international community, the Somaliland Health Authorities are working towards improving health services for the Somali people - including mothers and their babies. At the moment, maternal mortality rates are still estimated at 1044 per 100,000 live births. "I chose to become a midwife to help my community", says 24-year old Hibo, one of the midwifery students at the Edna Adan Hospital in Hargeisa. "Many women in Somaliland don't know about the good health services that are available to them. I would like to change that to make sure they take the advice we can give them and deliver their babies in a safe environment." Watch the video here.



Mukhtar, Accountant, Hargeisa

Mukhtar is a young accountant from Borama

Many youth in Somaliland find it difficult to integrate the workforce after graduating from college. They have high hopes for the future but realize in many cases that there reality looks different than what they had imagined. This leads many youth to try to leave Somalia hoping to find a better life in Europe or Gulf countries. Muktar talks about the difficulties youth face and how he managed to build a life for himself in Somaliland. Watch the video here.




Jawahir Barcab, activist, Mogadishu

political activist from Mogadishu

Starting a career in politics is still difficult for women in Somalia despite the fact that they are widely seen as the backbone of society who kept things running during the conflict. A female activist from Mogadishu talks about the important role that women play in the Somali society and how she and her “sisters” work together to rebuild the country. Watch her video here.




Ibrahim Mohamed, Mine Risk Educator, Afgoye

Mine risk educator from Afgoye

Due to two decades of conflict and insecurity, many Somalis still keep unexploded ordnances at their home that present a danger to the people. UNMAS is training Mine Risk Educators and Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams throughout Somalia to clean up these remnants of war. The young mine risk educator travels from school to school educate school girls about the dangers of explosives and talks about how enjoys his work as it means he can increase the safety of his family and community. Watch the video here.



Ahmed Ali, businessman, Garowe

Ahmed at his stall

Many youth in Somalia get lured into joining armed groups or gangs because of the lack of employment and limited opportunities. UNICEF, UNDP and ILO teamed up to help youth in conflict with the law to turn around their lives through non-formal education, social rehabilitation classes and vocational skills training. Ahmed received business training and a micro grant and was able to start his own business. He tells the story of how he used to depend on others to provide for him but can now take care of himself. Watch the video here.



Aswan Jibril, prosecutor, Hargeisa

Aswan Jibril was one of the first female prosecutor in Somailand.

Aswan Jibril is one of the first female prosecutors in Somaliland. With the help of UNDP scholarship and internship programmes, she was able to complete law school and secured an internship in the Somaliland Prosecutor’s Office. Today, Aswan is one of over 75 women working in the legal sector (compared to less than 5 in 2008). She sees the positive changes of women in the legal sector. “I see this to be a step forward for women, because women were looked down upon and people used to think we could not hold these positions” she said. “I have a dream of becoming a senior prosecutor.” Watch her video here.