From 29 November – 1 December 2015, the first capacity development workshop in the framework of the project Building Federalism through Local Government Dialogue was held in Mogadishu, Somalia. The workshop was attended by Berghof project staff, our partners from the project’s three collaborating universities (SIMAD University, University of Southern Somalia, and Puntland State University), and representatives from the Ministry of the Interior and Federal Affairs. In addition, representatives from both the Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan regional administrations were invited to attend the workshop together, in light of the current merger process between the two regions currently underway to form a new Federal Member State in Somalia.
The principle aim of this workshop was to build the capacity of these local officials with regard to understanding federalism, leading an effective local government, and encouraging conflict resolution and reconciliation in the region. This workshop therefore also served as a preparatory phase for the first Shir (dialogue forum) scheduled for Middle Shabelle in January 2016. The workshop also gave the regional administration officials from both regions the unprecedented opportunity to discuss issues of federalism and the country’s federalization process together, potentially providing a framework for consultations between the local authorities of the two regions in the framework of the merger.