In the early morning hours of Dec. 13, 2012, Somali youth sprinted across Hargeisa, taking part in the Hargeisa Youth Amazing Race. The contest raised awareness about youth-related services and youth-managed businesses across Hargeisa.
Muna Mohamed, a competitor and biomedical student at the University of Hargeisa, expressed what appeared to be the prevailing sentiment: “I am so excited. I am very thrilled.”
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in collaboration with the Somaliland National Youth Organization organized the race with support from USAID’s Transition Initiatives for Stabilization program.
To familiarize youth with services available to them, the race sent competing teams running from one “youth stop” to the next. Stops included health facilities, youth organizations, educational centers and recreational centers, as well as boutiques and restaurants owned or managed by youth. At each stop, competitors completed short activities to get the clue for where to go next.
USAID’s Transition Initiatives for Stabilization is implementing over 400 quick-impact projects worth approximately $31 million in close partnership with Somali local and federal government officials, civil society organizations and community members. Somali communities decide which projects will be implemented and supervise progress throughout, from bidding to implementation to final evaluations. These projects demonstrate the immediate and positive benefits of peace.
Speaking during the official opening ceremony in the evening, the Minister of Sports, Youth and Tourism, Ali Sa’eed Raygal, said that it was important to engage youth in these activities and raise awareness.
“Next time,” he said, “I want 500 or 1,000 young people, both boys and girls, racing through Hargeisa and beyond.”
Last updated: January 18, 2013