Geed Fadhi (‘sitting under a tree’) is a well-known cultural practice. Somalis have a long history of gathering, discussing, and solving social and cultural problems under a tree. New Horizon, a youth-focused and youth-driven Somali NGO, aims to revitalize oral culture, storytelling, and traditional approaches to dialogue and conflict resolution.
In partnership with the Stability Fund, New Horizon has brought together student leaders and activists from universities in Burco, Garowe, Galguduud, Baidoa, Kismayo, and Galkayo to promote Geed Fadhi. In April 2015, training was delivered across a number of topics, including culture promotion strategies, the state of Somali culture, and using social media to promote Somali culture. Seven facilitator-champions then returned to their hometowns and launched local Geed Fadhi sessions.
The Geed Fadhi sessions aim not only revitalize old Somali tradition among Somalia’s youth, but also to foster community cohesion. To date successful sessions have been held in Borama, Baidoa, Kismayo, Garowe, Burco, Abudwak, and Galkacyo. Participation has been excellent, with youth and elders meeting and talking together under the trees. A range of topics were passionately discussed, including Dialogue through Poetry, the History of Somali Culture and Customs, the Marriage Proposal in Somali Culture, and Reviving Traditions.
Through its relationships across Somalia, New Horizon has also helped establish Cultural Resource Units in five universities. This involved enhancing existing cultural corners in libraries with books, electronics equipment and furniture. In December 2014, launch ceremonies were held in the universities in Baidoa, Galkayo, Garowe and Burao. These were well-attended by lecturers and students and other interested parties from all over the regions. Going forward, the universities will manage these cultural centers with input from their students.
In its efforts to revive art and expression in Somalia, New Horizon is planning to launch the first Mogadishu International Book Fair in a decade. The book fair will bring well-known poets, musicians, novelists and artists to promote the revival of Somali culture. Book fairs held in Hargeisa and Garowe have shown there is great appetite amongst the youth for art, poetry, drama, photography, storytelling and theater. The Stability Fund is proud to support the revival of Somali culture and its role in driving Somalia forward towards reconciliation, citizenship, tolerance and regional integration.