Ceremony for Researchers Training Completion

Author:  Ayan Yusuf is a researcher with OCVP.  Currently applying her analytical and report writing skills with the District Conflict and Security Assessments (DCSAs). She holds a Bachelors Degree in International Relations and Politics (Hons) from University of Reading, United Kingdom, and an MA in International Studies (Merit) from Birmingham University, also in the United Kingdom.

There was a graduation ceremony that took place on the 10th September whereby we had, along with Bristol University in the UK, trained researchers so that we could build capacity within the country.

The training has taken place in Hargeisa, Garowe and Mogadishu but the largest participation and highest achieving has been Somalilanders. All the students worked with mentors for months, wrote research proposals and had the chance to present their findings. Fortunately, there are two or three that are exceptional, already with multiple master’s degrees under their belt. We had arranged an award ceremony for the recipients of the high quality research course.

It’s a two year high quality research training program and the first of its kind in the Somali speaking region. The program is in its second year and co-implemented by the Observatory of Conflict and Violence Prevention (OCVP), the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and Transparency Solutions (TS). It is conceived as a traineeship and is designed for mid-career researchers from and living in Somalia and Somaliland who are eager to enhance their research skills and competencies. During the first year, the program produced 25 graduates who currently work in both private and public sector, some have even published their papers, and others have been encouraged to continue to enhance their research knowledge by pursuing higher education.

In its second year (2016/2017), the program has recruited 30 mid-career researchers (both male and female) from across all the Somali speaking regions; Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia and exposed them an eleven month-long training program that was divided into three phases: training, internship, and mentor-ship.

The first cohort of 2016 gave congratulatory speech and told graduates of 2017 how they have put their skills to use. Maria has led numerous high profile research projects and Hamze from the conflict studies department is involved with university of Hargeisa’s own research projects.

This lady even had a baby in the middle of the course, took short maternity leave and managed to complete her individual research project on time, along with finding a new job at NAFIS. So very determined participants indeed

About 70% of researchers are Somalilanders. They were split into 2 teams: one working in Hargeisa and the other team worked in Garowe consisting of Puntlanders and 1 guy from Mogadishu.

Savannah, who is a Research Fellow from the UK and who works with Transparency Solutions, mentored one of the Hargeisa team. She is quite fluent in Somali.

The ceremony is in Hargeisa at OCVP headquarters inside the University of Hargeisa. But all the participants from Somaliland and Puntland are sitting together in the hall and took a group photo outside the building. They were quite positive actually and at that point during the 3 month training spent considerable amount of time in Hargeisa.

One of the guys had entered into a friendly discussion with some of us saying the usual mantra; Somalis can work their issues out if outside influences are less. I just told him about Sweden-Denmark relations, cousins by blood, where one can live in Sweden and commute to work in Denmark without there being any issues. Somalia and Somaliland can become two countries that understand and respect one another and that can benefit through trade with each other.

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