With a population of over 80 percent under the age of 35, Somalia is one of the youngest states in the world. Consequently, sustaining peace in a future Somalia depends on the work of and support to young people who are already agents of change. Not only will they become the future leaders of their communities and society, they also already can and do play important roles in the prevention and transformation of violent conflicts now.
For that reason, the Berghof Foundation’s Somalia Team conducted a four-day ‘Mediation Support Workshop’ with young peacebuilders from Hirshabelle State in June 2018 in Mogadishu. The workshop brought together 16 of the most influential young peacebuilders and youth representatives from Hirshabelle State to share their knowledge and experience of reconciliation processes and expand their capacity in mediation. The participants represented a large range of professional, social, geographical and clan backgrounds. Their common denominator, however, was their youth identity and their active engagement for peace in Hirshabelle State.
The workshop contributed to enhancing the capacity of these young peacebuilders in collaborative dispute resolution and reconciliation, by building on the deep local knowledge of the participants and adding practical skills to it. It also provided a platform where youth from the former regions of Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan could connect with each other and exchange ideas on how to best form a network of insider mediators. This insider mediators’ network will be established together with the group of traditional elders and other influential members of Hirshabelle society, with whom the Berghof Foundation has already been working.
The workshop was the last in a series of three ‘Mediation Support Workshops’ focusing on various influential stakeholder groups who can support reconciliation processes in Hirshabelle State. Building on the needs identified in the first phase of the project, this second phase prepared and connected the relevant mediators through joint learning and exchange, ahead of the traditional dialogue assemblies (Shirarka) to be facilitated by this insider mediator network in the upcoming third phase of the project.