Environmental and Water Awareness
Raising Project in Mogadishu, Somalia
Short description of the SCWE Project 2006 in Mogadishu
Somalia has been without a government to provide security for its citizens or to protect its borders and territorial waters for the past 15 years. During this period of crisis, Somalia, a water-scare country has experienced its worst water scarcity situations, and has allowed its environment to degrade to a level that can't be described in words. The country has experienced all kinds of environmental problems and there are no active organisations addressing the country’s destroyed natural and human environments. One unfortunate that will face Somalia, even long after solution is found for the pronounced political crisis, is the damages that have been done to the nation's environment.
This short note gives breif description of the Environmental and Water Awareness Raising Project in Mogadishu. The note will also give aims and objectives of the project, duration and target group. It will also mention the project’s main component and the activities that will be carried out during the course of the project. Somalia Centre for Water & Environment (SCWE) in close collaboration with Mogadishu University (MU) runs the project, which is mainly financed by Swedish International Cooperation Development Agency (SIDA).
Aims and Objectives of the Project
The main objectives of the project are as follows: The project will enable the already established Centre for Water & Environment and the Green Library in Mogadishu to continue its activities. The centre and its library will function as a driving force setting environmental and water issues in Mogadishu on focus. The centre will start a discussion and dialogue with all available stakeholders focusing on country’s environmental and water problems in the aftermath of the civil war. The centre and its library will initiate activities for environmental awareness raising, information gathering and data collection in the field of water and the environment in Mogadishu and surroundings area. The project wil empower the target groups with increased knowledge on water and envrionmet to contribute to changing attitudes towards environmental issues.
The main target groups of the project are university students, school pupils and civil society activists existing in Mogadishu. It will give the target groups seminars and lectures related to the environment and water issues in general and country’s environmental and water problems in particular.
Another important object of the 2006 Project is to provide more books and other text-based material for the Green Library to increase the library’s capacity. Books and other useful materials on water and environment needed for enhancing knowledge of local communities will be collected from all available sources. As the Mogadishu City and Somalia in general suffered from environmental degradations and water problems during the last 16 years, the library will serve the city with important and useful information in the field of environment and water, both globally and locally.
The project is only for one year (2006) and there is possibility to renew it for another year (2007). Qualified staff at MU will carry out the project. These are the director of the project, one librarian and two environmental informants.
Project’s Main Activities
With reference to its objectives, the project will carry out the following activities.
• The project will expand the library by providing new and more books and other text-based materials, to make it enable to receive more visitors. The Centre and its library will move to the newly built campus of the MU.
• Arranging special ceremony, seminars and program for the World Environment Day (June, 5th) and International Water Day (March, 22nd) every year, the project will try to increase the target groups’ knowledge of these important global events on water and environmental issues.
• The project will carry out information gathering tasks and collection of data related to the state and condition of the city’s environment and water points, the project will also document all available information and data useful for future needs.
• The project will pay a visit to destroyed water infrastructures, damaged built and natural environments and other damaged areas of the city to take pictures and photos and document them for present and future needs.
• The project will hold seminars and discussion meetings on the subjects of environment and water of global, regional and local perspectives, the project will also hold seminars for university students and civil society activists at the centre.
• The project will arrange special seminars and workshops for women and youth groups as well as business community, the project will also target civil society organisations in general particularly those which involve awareness rising.
• The project will visit schools in collaboration with MU thus giving pupils and teachers basic and general knowledge about the environment, the project will use these schools in order to reach large groups of people.
• The project will select one or two MU students at each faculty and at each visited school and appoint them as Environmental Ambassadors in order to engage others to act and give and put environmental protection in a better position. These ambassadors will encourage others to act for change.
• Initiating TV-and radio programs focusing on environmental information and discussing ways of protecting the environment, the project will inform the listeners the negative effects of environmental problems and how best to clean and use water. These programs will reach a greater number of the city population.
• Establishing a program for giving City Environmental Prize and Diploma to any individual or organisation showed engagement for environmental protection and information, the project will praise all actions taken to protect the city’s environment and encourage the city’s inhabitants to do so.
Plan for Environmental Awareness Raising Campaigns
The project will create for the first time in the recent history discussion platform in which stakeholders exchange ideas and share information about the damaged and destroyed environment of the country, focusing the need for change. It will also focus on how possible to manage problems resulted or at least to stop further destruction done to the environment. The project will also start with the target groups a critical discussion on how to minimise the negative effects of the environmental problems. It will also discuss existing water scarcity and its negative effects, and how possible to find simple solutions for it.
The programs for awareness raising campaigns will be one of the very important ways to achieve project’s specific objectives and goals for enhancing and increasing the knowledge of target groups on water and environmental issues, changing attitudes and encouraging actions. The project will apply three basic modes of awareness raising and people involvement: Educational mode and media mode.
Educational Mode: This mode of campaign will reach both school children and university students at Mogadishu University as well as their teachers. Involving the educational sector provides great opportunities, because it is an existing system with large groups of people focusing on learning.
Media Mode: Using media in a nonprofit setting could be a very useful approach for social marketing. As media in Mogadishu and Somalia in general became a very powerful source of information, these campaigns will include a wide range of broadcasting methods such as newspaper articles, radio/television programs, announcements, advertising, slogans, internet sites, and door-to-door campaigns. To achieve this goal, it will be necessary to cooperate with local news and media agencies.