Youth public forum entitled “Consultative Youth Forum: Exploring Role of Somali Youth in 2016 Election” was held in Mogadishu. The meeting attracted over 1,300 young Somalis from across universities, schools and business sector. This was the first time in recent history that such large gathering took place in the capital.
According to jabril Ibrahim Abdulle leading Somali civil society who spoke at the forum, Somalia’s youth population presents a powerful opportunity for economic recovery and building sustainable peace in Somalia, yet this demographic are totally excluded from the political process and decision making. Speaking to jubilant youth, Jabril Said “How a country can recover from a brutal civil war when 70% of its citizens (youth) are excluded from political process &socio-economic programs”
AbdisalanNur a university graduate told participants “we cannot longer wait from current leaders who’ve already failed to deliver national agenda, we as youth should design and develop youth-led initiatives with a meaningful voice alongside with decision-makers” He added, “despite of our limitation of not being able to directly elect our leaders, we should actively campaign for those who embody Youth Vision and change for new direction”
At the end of the meeting, youth participants issued five point plan including; Developing national youth manifesto spelling out youth vision and creating national movement that encourages youth to contribute to Somalia’s ongoing political discourse.
Similar meeting was held in Istanbul last week attended by Somali student across Turkey.