As legislation in Somaliland thrives through increased constituent and legislator dialogue, everyone can follow the progress on www.somalilandparliament.net. A flag and bold sign welcome visitors to the Somaliland House of Representatives website. Rotating photographs show the parliament and members at work. A bulletin board churns out announcements on parliamentary business.
The parliament consists of two chambers--the upper chamber (the House of Elders) and the lower chamber (the House of Representatives).
Since the launch of the website in early 2013, staff have seen a steadily growing stream of visitors to the site, according to the non-profit International Republican Institute, which implemented the project with assistance from USAID. The site is part of comprehensive USAID support to elections, parliament and government responsiveness across Somaliland.
“This is the only government website in Somaliland,” says Abdirizaq Said, the House’s secretary general, who, along with his staff, ensures that the site is regularly updated. “You will find everything in there. From the bills brought before the House to the announcements of when the sessions begin and end.”
Staff say the website is proving to be a game-changer, inspiring a culture of openness and transparency. This year’s annual budget has witnessed record downloads by ordinary citizens, rivaled only by views of House members’ individual profiles.
To connect with younger audiences, the parliamentary team also set up social media accounts. Announcements and events, mostly in Somali, are posted on House Facebook and Twitter pages. Staff members are also translating the website into English to enhance its reach.
Last updated: September 20, 2013