Arts, Culture and Talent Show Promotes Peaceful Coexistence in Baidoa, Somalia

Baidoa – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in partnership with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), supported an arts, culture and talent event in Baidoa, Somalia, on 26 October 2017. The event promoted social cohesion and common identity among communities from locations impacted by displacement and returns. Baidoa is currently hosting the highest number of drought-displaced people in Somalia.

The event attracted nearly 240 people and was planned and organized by a Core-Facilitation Team comprising local government authorities and line ministries working with representatives of displaced families and host communities living in villages around Baidoa. The event was made possible with funding from the Peace Building Fund, and was graced by Baidoa’s Youth Chairman, village leaders, religious leaders and representatives from women groups.

“Today is a historic day for South West communities gathered here to present their talents and culture. This event has the power to transform entire societies, strengthen integration between communities and show a sense of identity and belonging for people of all ages,” said Aden Ali, Deputy Mayor of Baidoa. “Such activities play a very essential role in promoting sustainable social and economic development for future generations as youth can act as a bridge between cultures and serve as key agents in promoting peace and intercultural understanding,” he added.

Different clan-based groups will continue to migrate from one place to another in order to manage risks related to armed conflict and other drivers of displacement. Refugee returnees and internally displaced persons are also expected to return to areas such as Baidoa that have been recovered from armed groups. Against this backdrop, communities will continue to face resource-based conflicts and be divided, particularly along clan lines, with weak social capital and latent conflicts that could easily resurface if they remain unaddressed.

While Somalia has made progress towards recovery, stability and the return of legitimate authority since 2012, major drivers of instability and conflict remain present, resulting in complex mobility patterns.

Baidoa is home to many internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees whose social bonds can be improved greatly through art, cultural and recreational activities. Social interaction through such events have been proven to break down unfamiliarity, fear and isolation, all of which are factors associated with clan-based conflicts. They also promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence amongst diverse community groups, including IDPs, returnees and host communities.

Eight teams participated in the event and the winning performances were determined by a committee of four people selected by the Core-Facilitation Team.

“We are not the only group who won today. By choosing peace, the rest of my brothers and sisters from other groups who participated and showed their beautiful talents are also today’s winners,” Said Aliow Mad, a member of the winning team.

For more information, please contact: Ben Mbaura at IOM Somalia, Email: bmbaura@iom.int

IOM

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