Competition Encourages Youth to Showcase Talents

Anab Ali Mohamed, student from Burao District, presents a play about Somali culture during a school talent competition, as part of IOM supported arts and culture programs to provide healthy artistic outlets to youth. Photo: IOM/Muktar Yusuf 2015

Since Somaliland declared independence in 1991, it has achieved relative stability. However, Somaliland remains vulnerable to extremism and violent conflict. To promote peace and stability among youth in Somaliland, IOM supports arts and culture in Togdheer Region. Implementing partner, Somaliland Youth Development and Voluntary Organization (SOYDAVO), engages youth through music and drama to promote healthy outlets that encourage self-expression, confidence, and respect among peers.

On 12 -13 April 2015, SOYDAVO organized talent competitions for two schools in Burao; Sheikh Bashir Secondary School and Togdheer Primary and Intermediate School.  More than four hundred community members, including students and parents attended both events. 

Sixty four students presented poems, songs, dance and plays to a panel of judges and fellow students in the audience.  Anab Ali Mohamed is a 14 year old student and aspiring singer/actress who shared a drama skit about Somali culture. She said, “I am excited about this opportunity to show my talent to all the students and parents.  I can compose, sing and act, but until now there was no platform to showcase our talents.” The Regional Coordinator of the Ministry of Education of Togdheer Region, Hassan Jamac Warsame, met with parents and students at the talent competitions to explain the importance of art and culture activities. “This program is intended to inspire school students to embrace creativity through art and culture and to raise awareness for developing the country's arts and culture programs,” said Hassan Jamac Warsame. He added, “I was amazed by the absolute talent of these young people.” The Regional Coordinator also acknowledged the government’s commitment to sustain the revival of art and culture in Togdheer Region.