August 31, 2012 ·12 Comments
There was pomp, colour and a lot of showoff during the first ever UN, NGO and local humanitarian organizations ever held in Somaliland where eighty two international and local humanitarian organizations displayed their work after a well-organized opening ceremony addressed by Vice President Abdirahman Abdullahi Ismail Saylici, six cabinet ministers, other top government, UN and NGO representatives.
The exhibition, organized by the Ministry of Planning and Development, was held at a massive hall in Maansoor hotel and as expected the entire compound of Hargeisa’s premier hotel was taken over by adverts, fliers, gigantic posters, brochures as well as live running video adverts by a few agencies that spent thousands of US dollars in their quest to show off their invisible activities in Somaliland at the exhibition which coincidentally attracted very few locals contrary to its hype and many hours of preparation.
Security was tight at the venue during the first day on Thursday after extra armed police officers were deployed who manned all entry points and frisked everyone going into the hall causing long queues of people and only allowing those with accreditation cards to pass through thereby barring many locals from attending the first ever exhibition by local and international humanitarian organizations in Somaliland.
As if reading from the same script, Vice President Saylici reprimanded UN and international NGO by urging them to invest more money into their programs rather than in their operational expenses which is the norm saying that there was a huge disparity between their way of life of the poor people and the UN and International agencies staff even though the millions of US dollars spent by these agencies is given to them by donors and foreign governments in the name of supporting the locals.
“These monies that you control and which you have been given by donors should not end up back to you again. Am saying, you have been given the money because of these poor people who are suffering. It is not right for a UN staff to be paid US $ 20,000 when the person in whose name you have been given money to lives on 1 US $. The international agencies should spend 20 to 30 percent of the budget and spend the remaining 70 percent to the people,” Saylici told a large crowd mostly consisting of UN, international and local NGO staffs that gathered at the events opening ceremony.
The international and local organizations exhibitors were seen busy explaining to eager locals who attended the event what their respective organizations was doing in Somaliland. Many of the locals who attended the event were seen carrying many colourful brochures and fliers from their various visits of the booths in which the agencies hired to display their achievement.
Some agencies went to the extent of displaying documentaries beamed by huge flat screen TV’s, PowerPoint presentations of their work narrated in English even though a few of those who visited the event could not read or understand English.
“I came to see what the local and international humanitarian organizations have implemented in our country. Some of them have done a good job and I was very impressed. The only problem is that most of these materials I have been given is written in English and I don’t read or speak that language. It would have been good for the people to be given materials written in Somali,” Amina Yusuf, a mother of seven accompanied by two of her children said.
Jama Ismail, a Mercy Corps official explained their organizations achievements.
“Most of our funds directly go into our programs and that is why we were able to construct 50 primary school and 5 secondary schools under the USAID funded SEEDS and helped locals in Sool and Sanag regions end disputes, distributed 856 Moto Poa environmentally friendly stoves and helped locals to plant 1500 trees in Sool and Sanag regions under the PPEPS program. We have a new program called Somaliland Youth Leaders Initiative (SYLI) which will build on the successes of SEEDS program in education by constructing 20 more secondary schools while targeting to empower 100,000 youth to economically be self-sufficient and become productive members of the society,” Jama said at the organizations booth in the main exhibition hall.Follow @somalilandpress
By goth Mohamed