In Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, the Banadir Regional Authority (BRA) is strongly committed to using civic engagement to strengthen local governance and support broader stabilisation priorities, as attested to in their Civic Education and Engagement Action Plan (CEEAP). The plan highlights how these activities are essential to building trust between citizens and authorities, educating citizens on their rights and responsibilities, and empowering them to raise their voice in response to municipal activities. This commitment also characterises the Authority’s approach to tackling the challenges posed by COVID-19 that is affecting Somalia in distinct ways due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Africa’s Voices, in close partnerships with UNICEF’s Joint Programme on Local Governance (JPLG), deployed the Common Social Accountability Platform to deliver a dynamic civic education and citizen engagement project to strengthen accountability and trust between citizens and the local government in Banadir in the height of the COVID-19 crisis. A three-part radio series was broadcast across 5 local FM radio stations in Banadir, with an estimated listenership of 50,000 citizens, including coverage in districts with a large IDP population, such as Deynile. The shows addressed key information about COVID-19, explored citizen perceptions of the socio-economic implications and created space for citizens to provide feedback and questions to BRA officials on how they are responding to the crisis.
More specifically, the shows posed the following questions:
Week 1: What are your thoughts on coronavirus? (820 unique individuals sent 1570 SMS messages)
Week 2: How is coronavirus affecting your life? (758 unique individuals sent 1502 SMS messages)
Week 3: What do you think of the BRAs’ response to Coronavirus in Mogadishu? (866 unique individuals sent 2071 SMS messages)
More information on the findings including a project report to follow.
Anna Tomson, Programme Manager
Nasri Ali, Programe Officer
Photo credit: Tobin Jones/UN