Somali Youth Capture New Mogadishu in Photos

Somali Youth Present: My Mogadishu
A photo from a My Mogadishu participant.
Artists Rise from Ashes of Destruction
“I am used to shooting an AK47, not a camera. My life is really changing. Now I am capturing positive news.”

Over the last 21 years, images of destruction and bloodshed have defined Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Now a different story is emerging. With increased stability, restaurants are opening, new businesses are booming, and everyday life is resuming.  

Through USAID’s Transition Initiatives for Stabilization project, more than 20 young Somalis captured the city’s rebirth with a photography project they named My Mogadishu. Youth used cameras to capture daily life: exchanging money at a street bureau, buying charcoal in a local market.

Four months of training in 2012 was provided to young people who were identified by their communities as “at-risk” but having potential to contribute.

“I am used to shooting an AK47, not a camera,” said one student. “My life is really changing. Now I am capturing positive news; I am not harming anyone. This could become a career for me.”

“When the participants arrived, they were not disciplined. They were difficult to handle. But towards the end of the training, you could see the difference. They were excited about what they had created and what My Mogadishu represented,” said Jabril Abdulle, the director of the Centre for Research and Dialogue, the Somali NGO implementing the project.

The project, which runs from 2010-2015, is supporting established and potential artists, musicians and photographers in partnership with the Centre. The program provides equipment, mentoring and training, and promotes showcase events.

USAID is implementing over 400 quick-impact projects worth approximately $31 million in close partnership with Somali local or federal government, civil society and community members. Somali communities decide what projects will be implemented and supervise progress from bidding to implementation to final evaluations.

Last updated: August 22, 2013

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