Community in Mogadishu Learn About the Role of Police

Police officers visited a primary school to raise awareness about their role and responsibilities. Photo: YODA

The protracted armed conflict in Somalia adversely affected relations between law enforcement and citizens. In particular, youth and police have a strained relationship. With IOM support, Youth Development Association (YODA), an implementing partner, launched a campaign to increase trust between residents and police officers. 

A police officer answers questions at the community awareness meeting. Photo: YODA

On 9 March 2015, police visited a primary school in Mogadishu to meet with students to explain the role of police. As many students were born during the ongoing conflict, their understanding of law enforcement is minimal. The police officers explained who they are and their role in the community. Meeting police officers in person was a novel experience for many, if not all, the students. “This is my first time to meet a policeman. In my early days, whenever I saw a policeman, I ran to my home and shut my room,” said Muna, a 14-year-old student, who used to fear police officers, but now has a better understanding of their role.  

On 12 March 2015, 200 community members attended a police awareness meeting at the district meeting hall. The forum allowed community members to ask questions regarding law enforcement. Adan, a 28-year-old merchant asked about the process of proving someone is guilty. Zeynab, another community member, asked about the treatment and procedures taken with female suspects, especially considering the predominately male police force. The police officers responded to both questions, explaining the processes that would be undertaken in both cases. The school visit and community forum were both critical in raising awareness among Mogadishu’s residents on the roles and responsibilities of police.  

A young boy asks a police officer a question during a visit by police to raise awareness about their role and responsibilities. Photo: YODA