Encouraging dialogue amongst Somali youth

Malmo dhaama manta (Better days than today) is Somalia’s first interactive radio programme.  The weekly drama features diverse characters and storylines, as well as audience feedback from across the country. Airing every Friday at 14:15 EAT the show explores a variety of issues that young Somalis face. The programme engages them in discussions about shaping their future and building their communities, and does not shy away from dealing with tough issues, including
tahrib (illegal migration). 

BBC Media Action selected and trained young writers and actors from across Somalia to produce a drama that features a new dilemma in every fourth episode, encouraging the audience to vote for the choice they think the characters should take. Regular feedback on social media and frequent text and voice messages influence the fate of the characters. 

The three commercial radio partners – Radio Garowe in Puntland, Radio Goobjoog in South Central and Radio Hargeisa in Somaliland – provide their own forums for their listeners to give feedback and opinion on each show. Mentored by BBC Media Action, these partners also produce discussion programmes that address other issues affecting young Somalis. 

Malmo dhaama manta is clearly having an impact”, says Mohammed A. Gaas, Deputy Country Director for BBC Media Action who cites his encounter with a young man who wanted to migrate illegally, but changed his mind after hearing the radio drama. He is now studying at Hargeisa University and advocates against tahrib to his peers. “When I was listening to the program, specifically the scene where Ali was being encouraged by his wife to tahrib, I felt as if the program was talking about me. I changed my mind and went back to continue with my education.  Since that day, I am a regular listener of ‘Malmo Dhaama Manta’ drama and I always advise my friends against tahrib”. 

The setting for the drama is a shopping centre,
Ileys, where the lives of shopkeepers and customers intertwine. So far, stories of tahrib, love, business dealings, marriage, culture, bullying and street life have aired. The show makes use of natural surroundings, familiar scenarios and relationships, encouraging a sense of identity and belonging. 

Follow radio program and feedback on (https://www.facebook.com/BBCMediaactionSomali).