From 19-22 October 2015, the pre-execution symposium for the Building Federalism through Local Government Dialogue project took place in Entebbe, Uganda. The objective of the symposium was to discuss the results of the regional assessment in the region of Middle Shabelle, Somalia, which was carried out for 5 weeks in August and September 2015 to collect citizens’ views on federalism and the ongoing federalization process in Somalia, issues of local government and governance, and the subject of conflict. Based on the results of this assessment, the project stakeholders gathered at the symposium in Entebbe to discuss in detail the method and logistics of both the upcoming capacity development workshop in Mogadishu and the project’s first Shir (dialogue forum) to take place in Jowhar in January 2016. A particular focus was on issues such as the identification of target groups and themes to be addressed at the upcoming activities, the approaches and methods to be used, and the potential risks, together with options for their mitigation.
Participating in the symposium were representatives from the Ministry of the Interior and Federal Affairs and the Office of the President, as well as representatives from the regional administration in Middle Shabelle, the region in which the project activities and dialogue initiatives will mainly be carried out. Furthermore, Somali civil society organizations and the three Somali partner universities for the project were represented as well. The discussions at the symposium were open and collaborative and the project stakeholders reiterated their enthusiasm for and dedication to the project.