The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has today convened a youth conference aimed to enhance civic awareness and encourage their participation in the on-going political processes.
The meeting convened by the AMISOM Civil Affairs Unit sought to enable the youth familiarize themselves with government programs and policies, engage in debate on radicalisation and also discuss means for their positive participation in the political processes.
Speaking during the conference, Somali Minister for Youth and Sports Mohamed Abdulahi Hassan noted that realization of government plans and programmes is highly dependent on youth participation, reiterating the need for continuous engagement.
“In 2016 the goals we can achieve include unity and education. These goals can be achieved by establishing objectives and sharing them with other stakeholders. The youth cannot be expected to achieve these goals by themselves because money and power is required, but by working together from the districts level, Mogadishu, to the Somali regions,” he said.
The Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Amb. Maman Sidikou observed that youths are the cornerstone for the growth of any society and should be empowered to play their role in the rebuilding of Somalia. He said, “Any society that forgets to include its youth is doomed to fail. In addition, any society that is fearful of what its youth can propose for changes is doomed to fail. The future of Somalia is its youth and therefore we need the participation of youths in all processes, political, development, security to make sure this place goes back to its past glory.”
The meeting also drew participation from civil society organizations working with youths in Somalia. The Chairperson of the Somali National Youth Council Fatuma Abdi Warsame noted that the youth have a lot of power and need to be supported to exercise it, especially in the ongoing political processes.
“We want the youth to participate more in politics. We need to start with seeking more representation in the consultative forum. When it comes to the presidential elections we are the ones who will emerge victorious because we form 80% of the Somali population,” she said.
This is part of the continuous process by AMISOM to support the Federal Government of Somalia through such efforts including capacity building of various institutions, training of the man power and enhancing civic awareness, for the population to ably participate in the reconstruction of the country.