Somalia: Shir Dialogue Assembly on local conflicts and community responses in Bula Burte


To encourage community reflection  on issues related to conflict and peace and to develop local actions to transform conflict, a Shir took place in Bulla Burte town (Hirshabelle, Somalia). This six-day dialogue assembly was carried out by the Berghof Foundation, with great support from the Hirshabelle administration. The Shir created an inclusive, open space for 50 participants representing a broad range of stakeholder groups from the Bulla Burte community, including community elders, religious leaders, women’s and youth groups, business people, artists and professionals such as journalists and teachers. Apart from the focus on local conflicts and community responses, the participants also reflected on federalism and the federalization process in the country and expressed their perspectives on reconciliation. These views will be channeled into the ongoing drafting process of a National Reconciliation Framework at the federal level.

The district commissioner of Bulla Burte graciously opened the Shir, and the event followed the Somali tradition of poets and singers framing the themes and incorporating them into the discussions. In addition, five trained members of the Hirshabelle “insider mediators network”, which was established in the previous project phase, played an active facilitating role. Further expertise on federalism was provided by our partner at SIMAD University.

The Shir in Bulla Burte was the first in a series of four Shirarka that will be conducted by the end of the year 2018 in the State of Hirshabelle in Somalia. For these events, the project team will continue to collaborate closely with Hirshabelle officials, the Hirshabelle insider mediators network and SIMAD University.