Research Urbanization Dynamics in East Africa: Insights from Malawi

PhD Session, researching urbanization dynamic in east Africa: insights from Malawi.  Wednesday 13/02 at the 7:45 pm – 10:30pm the Hargeisa Culture Center (HCC).

Academic dialogue in Hargeisa aims to assist in the production of knowledge in the field of Somali studies, also to act as a network for student and scholars during fieldwork in Hargeisa. Similarly, ADIH aims to help scholars gain a better, more nuanced understanding of Somaliland as a subject of study whilst exposing students to a wealth of locally produced
knowledge.
Dr. Jama Musse Jama started the event with the importance of research cooperation introducing Dr. Donald Brown to the audience and stage.
Dr. Donald Brown is from the Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London (UCL) he started sharing his research experience on his research titled “Researching Urbanization Dynamics in East Africa: Insights from Malawi” Sub-Saharan Africa is simultaneously the world’s least urbanized and one of the most rapidly urbanizing regions. However, while the sub-continent’s population is urbanizing as a whole, there are substantial differences in urbanization patterns and trends within and
between regions. In this talk, Donald Brown shared his experiences from his PhD researching urbanization dynamics in East Africa based on the case of Malawi. Particular attention is focused on to how the research process unfolded, with a focus on study approach and design, and methodological issues faced in the field. The objective of the talk was to spark discussion on what makes Somaliland’s urban transition exceptional in the East African context, and how its study might be approached from both an academic and
policy perspective.
One of the questions raised from the public was ‘How increasing urbanization shrinks space and whether similarity blue between Somaliland and Malawi?’’ Dr. Donald Brown answering this question said ‘’Urbanization involves communal interaction that not necessarily involves neighborhood but villages’’
At last, Dr. Donald explained how urbanization process involved a whole range of socio-economic transformations that are important to note , because of this new settlements newtrade centers and small business emerge Pointed Gender division of labor in the process,
Centrality of statistics and how it’s the discus Regarding settlements.

Mother Tongue Day

February 21 st is a day devoted to celebrating mother tongue all around the world. Therefore, we also arrange an event at Hargeisa Cultural Centre each year to come together and talk about the importance of Mother tongue and the role it plays in our identity.

Ismaaciil C Ubax, the project manager at Hargeisa Cultural Centre was leading the first part of this event giving the audience a brief background about how this day became significant. Bangladesh fought for recognition for the Bangla language in February 21 st 1948. Pakistan who was separated into east and west had fought after the government of Pakistan declared that the sole language of Pakistan will be Urdu which upset the east. The
east had more population than the west so they argued that Bangla must be the sole language as well. A civil war broke out as a result. Since it was a tragic event inspired by the recognition of mother tongue, February 21 st became the international language day. UNESCO also officially announced it in November 17 th 1999.
Mawlid Adan Biixi began this event with speaking about the richness of the
Somali language. He took examples of words that have multiple meanings and that can be used in different contexts. He also mentioned how there are names for certain things and sub-names as well because our language is rich. An example of such things is Waran. Waran is Spear in Somali but it also has other sub-names such as Hooto, Eello, Xalaash, Qaash and Garmaqaate. Maliid continued taking more examples and tracing back to the original meanings of some Somali words.
Awale Ismail Saleban was our second guest speaker who prepared a poem
for this occasion. The poem was about education and the doors it opens for
people. His poem inspired learning and that included learning our mother
language also.
Dr. Jama Musse led the second part of the event calling Mr. Saed Jama on stage. Mr. Saed is a creative writing teacher and has written many short stories as well.
He shared some of his stories as a motivation for everybody and to also show his contribution to the Somali language. Mr. Saed concluded his speech by saying “We are the only ones who can uplift our mother language and give meaning to it”

The last part of the event was dedicated to Mr. Mohamoud Sheikh Ahmed
Dalmar’s book Irdho.The book metaphorically tells a story about the Somali
language migrating to London. The Somali language screams and shouts for help. It seeks asylum saying that Somali people are here and it followed them therefore wants to be granted asylum so it can stay and live in London.
Overall, this event was successful; there was also a singer who sang a few Somali songs. All the guest speakers presented something important and special for this mother tongue occasion. The purpose of it was to honor our mother tongue and inspire the youth to value it so the upcoming generations will also continue
strengthening it.

Caweyska Qaraamiga (Qaraami Night)

The event of Qaraami songs was different from the regular events that usually happen at Hargeisa cultural centre.

The night was dedicated to Qaraami songs and understanding what Qaraami really means. The guests of the night who were chosen to educate people about what Qaraami is; were Caabi Mire, Marduuf, Buulo and Mohamed Burco.

Dr. Jama Musse Jama started off the event with defining what Qaraami Music is

Jama said “Qaraami are songs with certain tunes (Laxan), Just because a guitar is played for a song does not mean it is Qaraami” After Dr. Jama’s short introduction, Caabi mire who is a well-known singer and his crew started the night and played a series of fifteen Qaraami songs.

The types of Qaraami songs the crew played were Aroor, Beerdillaacshe, Carwo, Hayaan, Madiix, Iskushuban, Kaar, Laac, Nugul, Raaxeeye, Riftoon, Subcis, Rogaal, Xaafuun and Murug. The audience was given a chance to sing as well to keep them engaged in the event.

This was a very Interest event people enjoying the music at the same time learning more about what they were listening. We hope people enjoyed the night and are able now to tell which songs are Qaraami and which are not.

Adolescent Health

On Tuesday night 7:45pm February 19 th, an event held at Hargeysa Cultural Centre assembled a group of professionals who discussed Adolescent Health in Somaliland. This event took place with the help of joined young activists, different organization workers, health professionals and government officials. They spoke about how different factors such as income and education affect Adolescent Health and how they are interdependent on each other.
The event was not held only to inspire Somaliland youth to seek medical help when needed but also to highlight the lack of medical check-ups and counselling that are accessible for the youth.
The guest speakers also touched on the importance of staying healthy and preventing diseases in the first place. Mohamed Dhamac, a member of Sonyo said “a common disease which is prevalent among youth globally is HIV/AIDS and a good way we have always prevented it is marriage”.Other guest speakers also suggested effective ways of avoiding or living with other
types of diseases.
Abdiqani Abdillahi spoke about the adolescence period and the various health related issues that are commonly observed at that this stage of human growth. Important worth mentioning here, is the need to seek out professional health help which, as Abdiqani pointed out, will be disastrous if not taken seriously. The discussion then took another turn with Mohamed
Dhamac, discussing the importance of maintaining a healthy youth and how it’s of immense importance to have a healthy youth as it will lead to healthy community as rightly pointed out by Dhamac.
Our third speaker was Dr. Hamda Abdirahman, a Psychologist and a lecturer who spoke about the mental health of youth. The message she was sending is that, young people want to be heard. Because traditionally we (Somalis) do not consider children’s opinion that much which as a result can cause them to mentally suffer. She suggested that we talk to
children about their opinion and personal problems so they won’t get depressed and end up becoming mentally ill which can actually cause them taking their own lives. Poverty and healthcare was another major issue touched upon in the event and Dr. Barkhad Hussein brilliantly explained the relationship between poverty and healthcare accessibility and he shared a touching story about a young boy who suffered from diabetes. He told us the boy’s journey from middle school to university and the obstacles
he faced on the way. What was deeply sad about this story is the fact that the young boy struggled to pay for his medication and even taking them while in school. “Double 2 Burden” is the term he used to describe the boy’s situation. Dr. Barkhad said, “This is how I will transmit my message, and it is for you to get the point out of it.”

– Dr. Mariam spoke last before the discussion group. Mariam asked the audience “where
do you go when you need medical help?” Then she explored different options people
normally have and what they do instead. Dr. Mariam highly recommended people to go
to pharmacies or hospitals and seek counselors to maintain a good health. The event was
concluded with engagement and thoughts by the audience whose discussions centered
around;

a) The fact that Somaliland Youth doesn’t have a special healthcare system and
b) people/ government’s perspective of youth and the Psychology of adolescence.
The main idea behind this event was for people to hear and learn from each other then spread their ideas to the community especially to those it concerns. They concluded that Adolescent health needs special attention and raising public awareness of the issue. Achieving this would also improve not only youth’s well being but the economy and education of Somaliland.

Breast Cancer

 

A group of female doctors arranged the event on Sunday night March 3rd where they spoke about Breast Cancer and how common it is in our country particularly among women. Breast Cancer is globally the second most common type of cancer. A lot of people die from it due to delay in seeking medical advice but in the case of Somaliland, Women are shy about reaching out for help which as a result causes early preventable deaths. Breast Cancer is not a disease that happens to women only but men can get it as well although it is estimated that only 1% of men get it.

Dr. Saynab was leading this event and introduced the importance of this topic and how they created their team. “We decided to initiate this team in 2015 in the hope of helping people to be aware of this disease but we officially started in March 3rd 2016” Dr. Saynab also talked about the causes of breast cancer. She said “Some of the things that cause cancer are prolonged take of birth control pills, Alcohol, Cigarettes and Qat. It could be hereditary too”

 

Dr. Shukri Daahir spoke next about the percentage of women affected by Breast cancer in the world. She reported that “17.5 million women get cancer per year and 9 million of them die. 1.7 million get breast cancer” Dr. Shukri also mentioned that in every 182,000 women in America 26% of them get breast cancer so it is pretty serious. Dr. Shukri touched on how there is a good medical help in America. The survival rate is very high. However, in the case of Somaliland, women are not as worried as they should be about their health. “Part of it is lack of health awareness and the fact that Chemotherapy is not available in Somaliland. Another obstacle on the way is using herbal medicine which in terms of cancer is not useful at all.”  Dr. Shukri also classified the areas in Africa affected by breast cancer into three different parts. Central Africa, South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa. She said that breast cancer is most common in the Sub-Saharan area because it is where women die at home mostly.

Dr. Sahra Caydiid listed the symptoms of breast Cancer. She said “if you see these signs then you should immediately contact a doctor. Symptoms are Change in your normal breast color, change in size, unusual hardness of the breast, swelling, blood or milk leaking from your breast, severe pain, and laceration as well as skin holes.”

Lastly, Dr. Afnan spoke about the treatment of breast cancer in which she categorized into four stage treatment. She said “When the tumor is only in the breast and has not spread to any other place then we cut out the breast. If the tumor reaches the muscles around the breast and the glands, we also cut it. However, when it spreads to the entire body, there is nothing we could do about it.” Therefore Dr. Afnan highly recommended that we (both men and women) do checkups every now and then.

This event was very important for it was an eye opening to our community and will eventually save lives. It was a motivation to those who are too shy to come get help and enlightening to those who don’t understand the risk they are taking by dealing with breast cancer at home. In the end of this event, the audience was given a chance to ask questions and all three doctors answered them. We had ninety people come to the event twenty six of them males and sixty four females. What we hope people to take away from it is that breast cancer is a life threatening disease and should be dealt with in hospitals and to also prevent it by staying healthy and checking yourself up regularly.

Dacar Cas/Somaliland Red Aloe: New species of Aloe described in Somaliland

By the two researchers Mary Barkworth who is a plant taxonomist who retired from Utah State University in 2012.

In 2015, she became interested in helping Somalilanddevelop, in Somaliland, resources for studying its biodiversity, particularly its plant diversity, Mary’s research was focused on two groups of grasses, neither of which is well represented in Somaliland, but she was able to assist in
bringing the Somali Red Aloe to the attention of scientists because as a taxonomist, she is aware of the requirements for formally naming species that has not previously been recognized. And
Ahmed Awale is well known in Somaliland for his passionate commitment to the Somaliland’s environment, which is reflected in his many publications and his work as Chair of Candlelight, an organization devoted to the environment, education, and health in Somaliland. He discovered the first population of the Somali Red Aloe while traveling for Candlelight in 2013.

Because of his knowledge of Somaliland’s plants, particularly its succulents, he realized it might be undescribed. The recently published paper is an outcome of his insight. Formal recognition of the Somali Red Aloe will, it is hoped, aid in promoting conservation of Somaliland’s rich natural heritage and its recognition as an integral part of Somaliland’s cultural heritage. Mary Barkworth talking about the researcher process and the researcher’s hypothesis while describing the new Aloe.
Ahmed Ibrahim Awale talking about the discovery of new species of Aloe in Somaliland and Description and identification of a new alone species, material and methods, figs and introduction of the Researcher. Also A new species of Aloe ( Asphodelaceae )is described from Somaliland. It differs from other species in forming large clumps and in having sap that is initially yellow but quickly turns bright red and then dark red or reddish-brown, paniculate red-flowered inflorescences and uniformly colored
leaves with red teeth. And recognitions raise the number of species known from the combined area of Somaliland and Somalia from 31 to 36.
Also differed from other Aloe species in the region in having leaves with reddish teeth and, when cut, an exudate that rapidly turns from yellow to bright red.
Also noticed the plants, referring to them as (Dacar Cas), or Red, to distinguish them from other Aloes in
the region, such as Da’ar Buduk (Dacar Budhuq), the name used locally for A. retrospections Reynolds.
Also noted he is collected cuttings to grow and observe in Hargeisa. The flowers were protandrous, forming plump, well-filled anthers that matured before the styles had fully elongated. Both the anthers and the styles appeared fully functional. These observations made it unlikely that the plants were hybrids. After very interesting presentation that questions and discussion session starting, Ahmed Awale
and Mary Barkworth reflecting on the question.

International Day of Disability: 2018

3rd December marks the international day of people with limited ability. In the occasion, Yoonis Cabdiraxmaan, a student at the New Generation University, Hargeysa, with a limited sight, gave a public talk on the situation of the people with limited ability (physical or otherwise) at the Hargeysa Cultural Centre focusing especia.lly on educational possibilities and challenges.

Yoonis Cabdiraxmaan shared with us the challenges a young person with limited ability faces daily and the their future.  Yoonis said: “When I first wanted to join the field of journalism, I faced some challenges. I remember people telling me ‘how can you get any benefits from this field when the ones with sight couldn’t get any’ so I managed to get a scholarship after paying for the first month of the school by myself. My own family couldn’t agree with me in the first place to go studying in the university’’.

He continued “The massage I want to pass on tonight is ‘people with disabilities are part of the community and they don’t belong to stay home,  they deserve to  play their part in the community as well, they need to participate in the politics, I want to be able to  contribute in the politics of my country despite my disability’’.

President of the New Generation University, Mr. Cabdiwaasac, also gave an enriching speech to honouring today’s people with limited mobility as well as to Yoonis Cabdiraxmaan, by saying “We are willing to offer Yoonis to do his Master’s degree with us”

‘The Africans: A Triple Heritage’ – ADIH Documentary Night

Documentary Screening of June

‘The Africans: A Triple Heritage’ By Dr. Ali Mazrui

ADIH Documentary Night

With the start of the Independence Day celebration for many nations in Africa, June shines up as a month of wish come true for many African countries specially for the Horn of Africa with Somaliland being the first to get its independence on 26th of June from its British protectorate status. Hence, what perfect timing will there be to talk about the issue of independence, indigenous knowledge and identity of Africans than this month even though the quest for answer seems a vicious circle with more than a finger count can do to answer it.  Who is an African? Where are African indigenous knowledge and wisdoms? Where does Africa fit in the ever-changing global system? Many more “where” “what” “Who” and “How” for Africa and Africanness are questions been in search for answer as long as the age of the organization of the continental union which has its foundation on the dreams of the early Pan-African advocates which include leaders such as Haile Selassie, Julius Nyerere, Ahmed Sékou Touré, Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara and Muammar Gaddafi, grassroots organizers such as Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X, academics such as W. E. B.

Did we get the answers? Not yet even closer in spite of all the changes such as a name and amended vision for Organization of African Unity (OAU) to Africa Union (AU) along with the current initiatives such as African Solutions for African Problems (AFSol), establishment of Panel of The Wise (PoW) as one of the five pillars for AU and its regional organization, nothing yet seem to give a resting point for the quests. The number of people asking “do we even need to define Africanness at this day while aspiring for global citizenry?”  to “What does the African Solutions for Africans Problem really stand for?”  with the inseparable mix of the western and other cultures thanks to the globalization which has a tilted field structure that slides and roll down western norms more on Africans than the things it dropped on the west for countless reasons.

These were the foundations for our Documentary screening of June “The Africans; a Triple Heritage by Dr. Ali Mazrui that guided our academic discussion for the Academic Dialog in Hargeisa session. The Africans: A Triple Heritage is a documentary history, written and narrated by Dr. Ali Mazrui in the early 1980s and jointly produced by the BBC and the Public Broadcasting Service (WETA, Washington) in association with the Nigerian Television Authority. The film series premiered in 1986 on BBC and controversially on local PBS stations throughout the United States. The documentary has a central argument and narration that the triple heritage of Africans is a product resulting from three major influences: (1) an indigenous heritage borne out of time and climate change; (2) the heritage of Eurocentric capitalism forced on Africans by European colonialism; and (3) the spread of Islam by both jihad and evangelism. The negative effects of this history have yet to be addressed by independent African leaders, while the West has tended to regard Africa as recipient rather than as transmitter of effects. Yet Africa has transformed both Europe and America in the past, Mazrui points out, and the difficult situation in which Africa finds itself today (economically dependent, culturally mixed, and politically unstable) is the price it has had to pay for Western development. The series was in nine parts even though the documentary has summarized in a precise manner which are 1. The Nature of a Continent 2. A Legacy of Lifestyles 3. New Gods 4. Tools of Exploitation 5. New Conflicts 6. In Search of Stability 7. A Garden of Eden in Decay 8. A Clash of Cultures 9. Global Africa.

Using the documentary as entry point discussions were directed towards  many point of interest as it touched up on a multilayered issues overthought the highly voiced issue was the state structure of Somaliland where by the indigenous knowledge of conflict resolution through the elders which now is a constitutionalized part of the state structure making the upper house of the parliament named as Guurti in parallel  with the multiparty western democratic system to create the Hybrid government system of Somaliland. Questions and reflections were how much effective this has been and what are the challenges it is creating for the fundamental principles of rule of law, separation of power and accountability among many others. Participant were firm on the fact that these layers of rule and regulations that are reflection of the triple heritage Dr. Mizuri was talking about are a real reflection of the situation in Somaliland now as the Islamic rule, the western rule and the indigenous justice system all are in place hard to say having an effective marriage and are serving the best interest of the community specially the youth and women who are significant part of the society.

Stepping out of the government structure arguments, discussion was also towards even on self-depiction of a Somalilander by proxy any African who has to deal with the same issue due to the colonial legacy, the globalization system and the wish to stay loyal to the cultures and norms of the indigenous founding fathers of the African nations. How do we dress? what language we speak? and what shapes our moral value? are questions that became pandora box than gained a solution in our interesting discussion of the documentary screening.

Of course, it would be an over ambition to address these questions which have been with us for more than 50 years celebrating their power for confusion and remain a question with unpreventable changes just like the years of independence days marked by independent days of nations in the continent. Will it have answer any time soon? we leave it as a question knowing many will keep on asking themselves and use it as a critical mirror to evaluate the changes happening around them until our next socially significant documentary screening of July.

By Tirsit Yetbarek

Academic Dialog in Hargeysa Coordinator

Doing research: a workshop on research approaches and methods

Somaliland is attracting an increasing number and diversity of research projects, offering interesting opportunities for researchers to participate in interesting and potentially valuable projects designed to better understand Somaliland, it’s people and its context. A significant number of young Somali scholars are also pursuing PhDs and other research degrees which call for a similar understanding of research methodologies. This workshop will provide an introduction, over four days, to the different approaches and methods used to collect data in academic and policy-focused research projects. It will cover both qualitative and quantitative methods, and will consider research ethics and the ontologies and epistemologies related to different ways of understanding the research process.
This workshop is being supported by the Development Planning Unit (DPU) of UCL (University College London), UK.
It will be take by Dr Mohamud Hashi Hussein and Dr Michael Walls.
Dr Mohamud Hashi Hussein is an economist with over 20 years of experience in industry, the public sector and research in the UK, and more recently in Somaliland. He has an excellent understanding of the challenges and opportunities for research in the Somali Horn of Africa, as well as in a wide range of thematic areas employing both quantitative and qualitative methods. His research skills and expertise include the quantitative analysis of business responses to regulation and market incentives, and qualitative analysis of behavioural drivers for the uptake of new technologies. Most recent work includes extensive research on the political economy of regulatory policies, including regulatory capture by industry interests.
Dr Michael Walls is a Senior Lecturer at UCL’s Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU) and, and for the past fourteen years, his research has focused on the political economy of the Somali Horn of Africa, including the evolving political settlement in Somaliland. He was Chief Observer for the international observation mission to Somaliland’s 2017 presidential election, and has also been a member of the coordination team for missions in 2005, 2010 and 2012 as well as the 2016 Voter Registration process. Michael was Principal Investigator for the ESRC-funded research project ‘Political Settlement in Somaliland: a gendered perspective’, and is currently part of the research team looking at Complex Land Markets in Somaliland and Uganda.

About

The Hargeysa Cultural Center was opened in August 2014 in Hargeysa, Somaliland. The Center was established by Redsea Cultural Foundation (RCF). Since its establishment, the Hargeysa Cultural Center has become an important feature in Hargeysa’s cultural landscape. The success of the center owes much to the respect that RCF has gained from its work on running the annual Hargeysa International Book Fair, which, now in its eighth year, has become one of the most admired cultural events in the region.

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