By Mohamed Omer Maigag – Chair of SSUK on behalf of the committee.
1) Somaliland Society UK – early history
If not the oldest, the Somaliland Society UK (SSUK) is one of the oldest Somaliland organisations in the UK. The SSUK went through lot of changes and overcame many barriers since it was established. Initially in the early years a group of Somaliland intellectual used to meet in 1996 to have political debates and thoughts in relation to what was happening in Somaliland at that time. The debates were very lively and at times generated in to disputes which created fragmentation amongst those early Somaliland intellectuals. The SSUK rose from this fragmentation. There were certain social issues that the Somaliland community was dealing with at the time such as young Somali boys in prisons and the issues of Somalis killing other Somalis which was a new phenomenon in the UK. This was an opportunity to grab the massive energy, which was around and benefit from the wisdom of Somaliland intellectuals and community leaders.
The early Somaliland intellectuals, activists and community leaders who contributed to the formation of the SSUK included:
- Fadumo Omar – was a Social Worker at time,
- Dr Saad Ali Shire – was working for Oxford House,
- Dr Abdillahi Diriye – retired from WHO,
- Haji Osman Ahmed – one of the founders of the HSCCA and who later became head of the Somaliland mission until recently
- Dr Abdillahi Mohamed Guleed,
- Mohamed Abdullahi Abbi,
- Yusuf Haji Adan (May allah bless his soul), father of education in the former Somali Republic (Somaliland and Somalia)
- Ali sheikh Darabulis (May Allah bless his soul) – Journalist and writer
- Mohamed Dahir Khaire – Community leader
- Mohamed Aw Dahir – Community leader
These Somalilanders worked tirelessly from 1996 to 1997 forming themselves in to a preparatory committee to work on the constitution of the SSUK and the planning of the launch event of the Society. The SSUK was launched on 8th of August 1998. Yusuf Haji Adan was elected as the new Chair, Dr Saad Ali Shire was elected as a Vice Chair, Fadumo Omar was elected as Treasurer, and Ahmed Hashi was elected as Secretary
Amongst the most notable achievements of the SSUK in the early years apart from the rallies and demonstrations that were held in support of Somaliland, was the important part the Society played in the Somaliland referendum which was held on 31 May 2001. Membership of the SSUK was strong at the time and reached over 180. During the referendum period 3 Somaliland Ministers were invited to brief the members. This was during the crucial time when Saudi Arabia banned the export of Somaliland Live Stock. The SSUK raised around $20,000 from its members and wider Somaliland community in the UK to contribute towards the costs of the Somaliland referendum. On the eve of the referendum the SSUK lead at the time by Mohamed Ahmed Hersi organised a vigil opposite 10 Downing Street and held a demonstration the next morning in support of the recognition of Somaliland
2) Aims & Objectives of the SSUK
To promote the social and cultural development of the Somaliland Society in the UK and further its common interests by providing a frame work within which to:
- Foster mutual understanding and support amongst the Somalilanders in the UK
- Organise Social & Cultural events
- Network and Collaborate with Other like minded Somaliland Organisations to achieve the aims of the Society
- Engage the Society in the Development of Somaliland
- Promote understanding, in the UK, of the history, culture, achievements and aspirations of the people of Somaliland
3) SSUK Committee – 1st April 2006 – 7 June 2009
The annual general meeting (AGM) where the SSUK committee for the above period was elected was held on 1st of April 2006 at the Selby Centre in North London. The AGM was well attended. Musa Ali Hersi the vice Chair of the SSUK and Abdulhakim Sulub Mohamoud – SSUK Secretary gave a report about the SSUK and its work including the challenges the committee faced during their time and the financial contributions received from members. Musa and Abdulhakim were accompanied by Mohamed Aw Dahir who was also a member of the outgoing committee.
The following members were elected to serve the SSUK at the AGM on 1st April 2006
- Mohamed Omer Maigag Chairman
- Ali Hamud Jibril Vice-Chair
- Mohamed Mahmoud Ali Secretary
- Fadumo Omar Spokes-Person
- Samiya Sheef Treasurer
- Yasin Osman Idiris Coordinator
- Mohamed Qani Diriye Member
- Asha Mohamud Qalib Member
- Khadar Abokor Member
- Ahmed Waqaf Member
- Yasin Mohamed Ahmed Member
- Abdi ali Mahdi Member
- Suleyman Adan Farah Member
- Adan Gaas Abdi Member
Mohamed Omer Maigag – the new elected Chair of the SSUK thanked the AGM participants and informed the meeting that he is honoured to be elected to this important position. He thanked the previous committee for their devotion to the cause of Somaliland and for the time and effort they have put voluntarily on the valuable duty of running the SSUK.
Mohamed Maigag informed the meeting that they have been elected to steer the SSUK at a time when the formation of the Somaliland political parties and emergence of other Somaliland organisations have weakened the strong membership of the SSUK but that his committee with the support of the wider Somalilanders in the UK will continue the work of this historic Society.
The Mayor of Hargeisa Engineer Hussein Mohamoud Jacir who was on a fundraising visit to the UK was a guest of honour at the AGM. The Mayor was raising funds for the Hargeisa Bridge near Hargeisa club which collapsed due to flooding.
In our 1st day at the election, we found ourselves in a huge fundraising campaign for the bridge totaling over $1 million USD.
On 22 July 06 Mohamed Mohamud Ali stepped down from the position of the Secretary. At the following meeting on 16th of September 2006 Yaseen Osman Adris was elected as the new secretary of the SSUK. Samia Shef expressed that she won’t be able to continue as SSUK treasurer and at the SSUK meeting of 9 December 2006, Fadumo Omar was elected as Treasurer.
4) Activities in Support of SSUK objectives
Up until 18 May 2007, the SSUK regained the early years momentum it had and organised and took part in many activities to further its objectives. However after the organisation of the high profile 18th of May celebration event at Alexandra Palace on Saturday 12th of May 2007, where the SSUK Invited the Vice President of Somaliland Ahmed Yusuf Yasin as guest speaker, the SSUK incurred a huge deficit in organising the event with NOMAD and this hampered its work plan as all the efforts of the committee concentrated on the repayment of the debt incurred.
The report can not cover all the activities SSUK undertaken during this reporting period, but here we highlight in chronological order some of the significant activities:
4.1) 29 April 06 – Role of Higher Education in Somaliland
On Saturday 29th of April the new committee of the SSUK organised its first Somaliland public activity. This was a public meeting about the role higher education plays in the development of Somaliland. The Committee was fortunate because Professor Saleban Ahmed Guled was in the UK at the time and he was invited as guest speaker.
Dr Mohamed Sheekh Hamud who was coordinating the meeting recited verses from the Quran before introducing the Chair of the SSUK to say few words about the Society and its objectives.
This was followed by a keynote speech by Professor Saleban Ahmed Guled the Chair of Amoud University. The Professor spoke generally about Somaliland higher education and informed the meeting that Somaliland universities are planning to establish a Commission that unites Somaliland universities. The meeting benefited from the professor’s enormous experience in the field of Somaliland education. Talking about development and politics, Professor Guled said “in Somaliland the development vehicle is empty but the political one is so full people are hanging by the sides.”
The Chair of Amoud University’s Department of Medicine – Dr Siciid Walkad also gave a presentation about the health situation of Somaliland and the need for more doctors in the country. Dr Walhad said that Amoud University is planning to establish a formal link with London University.
Dr Sacad Ali Shire was also a guest speaker at the event. He gave a Power Point presentation about the importance of investing in education. He informed the event participants that a country’s development largely depend on how much it spends on education and how far it educates its own people.
The final speech of the day was from Dr Mohamed Abdullah Omar – a senior lecturer at Brunel University in London. Dr Mohamed’s speech centred around the importance of gearing the education courses provided by Somaliland Universities to the skills and knowledge that the country needs and the importance of raising the standard and the quality of the Somaliland higher education system.
The event ended with a brief address by the SSUK Vice Chair Ali Hamud Jibril who thanked the meeting attendees particularly the guests who arrived from Somaliland.
4.2) Certificates of achievement to Professor Saleban Ahmed Guled &
Dr Sa’ad Ali shire
On 16 of May 2006 at an educational Conference held at SOAS organised by NOMAD and supported by SSUK, the SSUK presented certificates of achievements to Professor Saleban Ahmed Guled & Dr Sa’ad Ali Shire. The Certificates were prepared by the SSUK and signed jointly by Mr Osman Ahmed Hassan head of Somaliland Mission in the UK and SSUK Chair – Mr Mohamed Omer Maigag.
4.3) The President of Somaliland’s visit to the UK – August 2006
The SSUK put a lot of effort in organising a Somaliland public event where President Dahir Riyale Kahin could address Somalilanders in UK about the purpose of his visit.
SSUK Members felt that a lot of effort and time was wasted in organising this public meeting as the President and his delegates declined to take part in the meeting.
Representative of the SSUK committee met the President and the Somaliland Foreign Minister Mr Abdullahi Mohamed Duale at their hotel where President Riyale briefed members about the purpose of the visit. The President informed the committee that they were not aware that a public event where he was expected to attend and address the Somaliland public in the UK was organized by the SSUK.
Members agreed that in future such events should not be organised unless full cooperation and written confirmation is received from the Somaliland Government and its representatives in the UK.
4.4) The SOPRI Convention September 2006
The SSUK Chair Mohamed Omer Maigag took part in the SOPRI convention held on the 7th, the 8th and the 9th of September 2006 at Double Tree hotel in Washington DC representing the SSUK. In his speech at the convention, the Chair thanked SOPRI for organising the convention and talked about the SSUK , its work and its aims and objectives.
The convention was well attended by Somalilanders from all over the world, friends of Somaliland and significant numbers of Somalilanders living in the USA. The president of Somaliland who was expected to come to the conference sent an apology and was represented by the Head of the Somaliland mission in the USA.
Amongst the dignitaries who flew from Somaliland and attended the Conference were Abul Aziz Mohyamed Samale, Mohamed Xashi Dhamac (Gaariye), Ahmed Xaji Elmi (Cadami) and Dr Bulxan.
Present at the conference were also an MP from the Canadian parliament, representatives from the USA state Department and a number high profile guests including Matt Bryden Director of Africa Program (International Crisis Group) and Prof. Eqbal Jhazbhay, Lecturer, University of South Africa
The main topics and issues discussed at the Conference were the recognition of Somaliland and how to lobby for this, Somaliland electoral system and the importance of having a voter registration system, representation of woman and ethnic minorities within Somaliland political system and the role played by Somaliland civil organisations and NGOs in the development of Somaliland.
4.5) SSUK public meeting to welcome the Chair & Vice chair of Somaliland Parliament
As part of its yearly activities, the SSUK organised a public event On Saturday the 5th of November 2006 at the John Kelly Technology College in North west London, where the SSUK invited the Chairman of the Somaliland parliament Mr Abdirahman Mohamed Abbdillahi (Ciro) and Vice Chair Abdul-Aziz Mohamed Samale as well as representative of the three Somaliland political Parties and Head of the Somaliland mission UK for a discussion on Somaliland.
The event opened with a brief address by the SSUK Chair. This was followed by speeches from the Chair and the Vice Chair of Somaliland Parliament who shared with the meeting participant’s insight in to the political situation of Somaliland particularly the challenges facing the Somaliland Parliament in terms of capacity and exercising power an authority.
This was a successful event in terms of the number of people who attended and the contents of the speeches which were highly enjoyed by those present at the meeting.
4.6 SSUK Public meeting – guest of Honour Ambassador Abdirahim Abi Frah
The SSUK organised a Somaliland public meeting on 20 January 2007. The aim of the even was to share information and discuss how Somalilanders in the UK can contribute to the development of Somaliland. The Meeting was held at the Selby Centre in North London and was well attended.
The key note speaker at the meeting was Ambassador Abdirahim Abi Farah. Other speakers included the Head of Somaliland Mission in the UK Haji Osman Ahmed Hasan and Dr Mohamed Abdillahi Omar.
Ambassador Abby spoke about the SOPRI goodwill mission . He said initially he was included in the team that went to Somaliland in November 2006, but later he decided that together with Dr Mohamed Abdillahi Omar, he should establish contact with the Somaliland communities in the UK to explain the SOPRI good will mission to Somaliland.
Ambassador Abi told the meeting that we should not rest until the entire international community is made aware of the facts and justice behind, Somaliland’s quest for international recognition. He said without strict adherence to the provisions of the constitution, without the equal application of the rule of law, without an independent and qualified judiciary, without the determination of all citizens, and without honest, and unbiased leadership by the credited leaders as well a those in civil society – the future of our nation will be placed in jeopardy.
Other guests at the Meeting included Abdifatah Saed Ahmed – the Coordinator of Somaliland communities in the UK, representatives of Somaliland business leaders in the UK including Ahmed Cadare and Abduladif Samater as well as the Chairman of SDWO – Guled Abdi Shekhash.
4.7 Demonstration in Support of the independence and the recognition of Somaliland
The Somaliland community in the UK organised the biggest Somaliland demonstration in the UK on Thursday the 22nd of February 2007. The demonstration held at Whitehall, opposite No 10 Downing Street, was organised in support of demonstrations held in all the major cities in Somaliland on January 16th 2007, where hundreds of thousands of Somalilanders gathered together in unity to show their support for the recognition of Somaliland.
The aim of the UK demonstration was to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements that Somaliland has made in the last 16 years, to support the recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign state and to show the love that Somalilanders in the UK have for their beloved country.
The thousands of Somalilanders at the demo and the friends of Somaliland who have joined them spent the day peacefully celebrating the achievements of Somaliland oblivious to the drizzling rain that never ceased throughout that day. The flag of Somaliland was everywhere to see with its beautiful colours attracting the passing crowds; it was even decorated on the faces of young Somalilanders.
The Demonstration was lead by the three national Somaliland political Parties: KULMIYE, UCID & UDUB, and Coordinated by the SSUK. Somaliland Organisations who supported and took part in the Organisation of the demonstration included: Somaliland Society UK (SSUK), Democracy Network for Somaliland, Somaliland Focus UK, SIRAG, NOMAD, Horizon Reach, Office of the mission of Somaliland in the UK & the Coordinator of the Somaliland Communities in the Diaspora.
The demo started at 12 noon and no words can describe how happy we have felt when we saw Somalilander after Somalilander leaving the Westminster Tube station and heading towards Whitehall to take part in the` biggest Somaliland demonstration in the UK so far. As they came out of the station some were heading towards the wrong direction but their hearts and minds were fixed to the right cause and came prepared and determined for this big occasion.
With their placards and banners listing the successes of Somaliland, At around 3:45 pm on the day, Alun Michael MP and Kerry McCarthy MP escorted nominated representatives from the UK Somaliland Network to 10 Downing Street to hand a petition signed from the thousands of Somalilanders at the demo in support of the case for the recognition of Somaliland.
4.8 The 2007 18 of May celebration
After the huge success of the February 2007 rally in support of the recognition of Somaliland, the team work spirit between Somaliland Organisations and Somaliland political parties in UK continued. A Somaliland network Committee was established that met few times after the demonstration. In one of the meetings of the Network it was decided that SSUK and NOMAD UK will organise the 18th of May Celebration in commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the independence of Somaliland.
At their meetings in early 2007, SSUK and NOMAD decided to make the event the Largest 18th of May celebration ever organised in the UK and sent an invitation to the Vice President of Somaliland Ahmed Yusuf Yasin to take part in the event. The Vice President accepted the invitation and after looking at few venues for the occasion, SSUK and NOMAD booked the Alexandra Palace in North London for the celebration.
The event was publicised at universal TV and all Somaliland websites and through leaflets flyers which were widely distributed in London and other UK regions. Finally, the celebration was held at Alexandra Palace on Saturday the 12th of May 2007.The hundreds if Somalilanders who came to take part in the celebration enjoyed the panoramic view of the Palace and took part in the many activities that were organised by SSUK and NOMAD on that memorable day.
Workshops on key topics such as youth, education, woman and the case for the recognition of Somaliland were held in the early part of the day.
Workshops on key topics such as youth, education, woman and the case for the recognition of Somaliland were held in the early part of the day.
Mohamed Bashe and Suad Carmiye who were coordinating the evening part of the programme introduced Mohamed Adan kodhadhi the Chair of NOMAD and Mohamed Omer Maigag the Chair of SSUK for a welcoming address. This was followed by a number of brief speeches before the Vice President was introduced for his key note speech for the occasion.
The Vice President talked about the early history of Somaliland and the rationale for independence. He explored the achievements of the people of Somaliland and the challenges facing the country including the case for the recognition. The Vice President was accompanied by the late Mr. Abdi Hassan Buni, the Minister of Relations with Houses of Parliament who died in London on 2nd of June 2009 may Allah bless his soul.
The event ended with an entertainment in the form of national Somaliland songs sang by the legends of Somaliland Music Mohamed Ahmed Kuluc, Ahmed Ismail Xudaydi, Ahmed Ali Dararamle and Sahra Halgan.
Although the SSUK and NOMAD’s 18th of May celebration was a success as testified by the hundreds of Somalilanders who took part in the occasion, financially SSUK and NOMAD incurred huge deficit in organising the celebration. Although we raised £10,400.00 from the event the expenditure far outweighed the income we generated.
2 – 3 weeks after paying the venue deposit, which was £5000 + Vat, and further £5000 upfront, we came across some difficulties. We have realized that after paying the remaining hire costs of the hall, the security and the Pay system, the cost s of the event will reach over £20,000. We could have hired cheaper security firm and PA system, but Ally Pally insisted that we use only the Security and the PAY system firms they deal with.
SSUK and NOMAD at one time considered to cancel the event, but that was not possible as it would have meant the lost of over £10,000.00 paid upfront to Ally Pally including the deposit. After confronting this situation, SSUK and NOMAD had no option but to go ahead and organise the event as planned.
Without the Support of Somaliland businesses such as Dahabshiil and Links travel, Somali Organisations such SORAG and Somaliland individuals including SSUK and NOMAD committee members, SSUK & NOMAD may not have been able to overcome the deficit they have incurred in organising the 18th of May 2006 celebration.
|Alexandra Palace hall hire costs||14,330|
|Event PA system||2180|
|Vice Presidents hotel costs||900|
|Meca Medina Band||350|
|Flyers and posters||290|
|Small PA system||250|
|Sahra Halgan Plane ticket||165|
|Prince Abdi stand up Comedian||50|
The table below summarizes the financial contributions towards the deficit we have received from Somali business and individuals.
|Contribution from North London Somalilanders
|Saad Ali Shire||100|
The table below illustrates the loans SSUK and NOMAD members paid that have not been recovered.
|Mohamed Omer Maigag||1000|
|Dariq Yusuf Madar||500|
|Ali Hamud Jibril||500|
|Mohamed Qani Diriye||350|
|Mohamed adan koodhaadhi||300|
|Total un-recovered loans||£6770|
Although we have approached many Somalilanders to support us to overcome the deficit, we are sad to report that we have managed raising only £700 from individuals even though many promised they will help towards the repayment of the debt.
4.9 Hargeisa Bombing Victims appeal
The SSUK played part in a fundraising event organised in east London on 29th of November 2008 in support of Hargeisa hospital’s struggle with the aftermath of the 29th of October 2008 bombings in the capital of Somaliland. The event managed to raise £765.00 for Hargeisa Hospital.
Mohamed Bashe – the event MC introduced Mohamed Adan Kodhadhi Chair of NOMAD to open the event with verses from the Holy Quran before Clips about the Hargeisa bombings were screened as well as a video about an interview with one of the victims of the acts of terrorism. The event programme also included a number of highly moving poems about the atrocities presented by Adan Tarabi Jama, Asha mohamoud Yusuf, Yusuf Aabdullahi Shacir, Ali Ahmed Rabi and Faisal Awabdi Cambalash.
Abdulqadir Ismail Jirde MP shared his testaments about the bombings through teleconferencing transmitted via the PA system of the event. The MP told listeners that what happened in Hargeisa did not target particular Somaliland individual or the Somaliland Government but the whole Somaliland nation. He said Somalilanders every where must be united so that we can collectively defend our selves against similar attacks in the future.
The Chair of the SSUK – Mohamed Omer Maigag, the Chair of SSE and the Vice Chair of UCID political party – Saeed Omar Ahmed also shared their feelings about the Hargeisa bombings and the importance of safeguarding Somaliland from similar acts of terrorism in the future.
The event was organised by Somaliland Organisations in the UK and East London Somaliland women. It was Coordinated by a committee Chaired by SSUK Chair . The other committee members included: Faysal Awcabdi, Kaltun Farah, Safi farah, Zainab Sahardid, and Abdulrahman Abdullahi.
Its is worth noting that Somaliland Organisations in the UK raised $7772 for Hargeisa hospital in addition to the funds raised in this event.
4.10. West London Somaliland Community 18th of May Celebration.
The last event that the SSUK took part this year was the 18th anniversary celebration of the independence of Somaliland Organised by West London Somaliland Community on Saturday the 16th of May 2009 in Greenford. Somaliland Organisations including the SSUK supported the event which was successful considering the number of foreign guests of hounour who took part in the occasion which is a new development in London for our 18th of May celebrations.
The Occasion was coordinated by the SSUK Chair who after thanking the guests of honour and the event participants talked about the importance of the occasion.
Iid Hassan Muse – the Coordinator of west London Somaliland Community and Suad Armiye each gave speeches about the rationale for the independence of Somaliland.
Ali Ahmed SSE Coordinator and Deputy Director or Welsh refugee Council talked about the importance of Education and Darlington foundation’s Scholarship for Somaliland. IID introduced Richard Sills – a cousin of Darlington who said few word about the foundation and the scholarship.
Other speakers included Dr Charless Tannock MEP, Cllr Jullian Bell,
Md. Axmed Maxamed Maxamuud (Siilaanyo ) Leader of Kulmiye Party
Md. Abdinaasir Yussuf Cusman – the media Secretary of UCID UK political Party
The highlight of the event was a play about diversity acted by Somaliland youngsters. The play was highly enjoyed by every one and reinforced the Somaliland identity.
Two poems were recited by Faisal Awcabdi Cambalash – Chair of west London Somaliland Community and Asha Mohamoud Yusuf. The poems articulated the plight Somaliland went through before regaining its independence and how important it is to keep this history alive.
The guests of honor who took part in the occasion included
Dr Charles Tannock MEP (Member of European Parliament)
Cllr. James Allie (Wembley )
Steve Pound MP (Ealing North)
Virander Sharma MP ( Ealing Southall)
Cllr. Julian Bell (Greenford )
Mr Richard Sills (Darlington Foundation)
Mrs Susan Sills (Darlington Foundation)
Mr Len Tiahlo Businessman (Director of Enex Energy Resources)
Mr. Simon Jones (Director of Triton International Ltd)
Mr. Tobias Masterton ( UK Academy )
Md. Axmed Maxamed Maxamuud (Siilaanyo ) Leader of Kulmiye Party
Md. Abdinaasir Yussuf Cusman (Xoghayaha warfaafinta iyo Saxaafadda Xisbiga UCID)
Dr. Moxamed Omar , Foreign affairs Spoksperson Kulmiye Party.
4.11 SSUK UK Press releases
The SSUK released the following Press releases addressing various issues:
- The 15th Anniversary of Somaliland 18 may 2006
- Reconciliation between the Daror Communities 2 June 2006
- The Anniversary of Somaliland’s 46th Independence from Britain 26 June 2006
- Meeting with President Riyale – August 2006 Visit to the UK
- A note of congratulation to SOPRI for a successful Somaliland Convention September 2006
- The detention of Haatuf Journalists 11 Jan 07
- The Deferral of Somaliland Presidential elections 3 March 2009
The Chair of the SSUK – Wrote an article about the Somaliland February 2007 Demonstration. The article was featured in Somaliland Focus’s News letter.
5) Challenges met & Lessons learned
The SSUK faced many challenges and difficulties. Some lessons can be drawn from this that can benefit future SSUK committees and similar Somaliland Organisations.
5.1) The SSUK/NOMAD deficit
This was the biggest challenge we have faced during the time we have been running the SSUK. The deficit incurred from the 2006 18th of May celebration had significant impact on the morale and the motivation of SSUK committee members and on the work plan of the Society. From May 2007 on wards we spent our time fire fighting in order to repay the debt we have faced rather than pro actively engaging in activities in support of the SSUK objectives.
SSUK and NOMAD should have carried a thorough risk assessment before deciding to hold the celebration at Alexandra Palace. An event like this requires long term planning and secured financial support – SSUK and NOMAD booked the hall less than two months before the event and heavily relied on loans to fund it.
5.2) Commitment of SSUK members
After the deficit, this is probably the second biggest challenge we encountered. We started as 14 committee members when we have been elected, but when the going got tough, only 6 members made commitment turning up for meetings and seeing the SSUK through the financial hardship exerted by the Ally Pally deficit.
Because of this lack of Commitment on the part of the majority of members, the SSUK was not able to undertake the activities we planned such as creating and administering effective SSUK membership data base.
5.3) Capacity of the SSUK
Unlike other similar Societies which are registered charities and generate funds from Trusts and other means or supported by National Governments abroad the SSUK is not registered as a charity and does not receive financial support from Somaliland so that it can both effectively work with Somalilanders in the UK and contribute to the development of Somaliland. It does not have paid staff and office premises to work from. It is entirely run on voluntary basis.
This places enormous responsibility on the shoulders of committee members. In order to overcome this problem the SSUK must either be registered as a charity to raise funds or receive strong financial support from Somaliland members through member ship fees and monthly donations.
The SSUK needs to develop strong membership; members who can hold committee members accountable for their actions. Without strong membership who can elect and choose future committee members, serious conflict can erupt in the future.
We have not been able to develop the membership database of the SSUK due to the difficulties mentioned above and very much hope that this will be an area that will be given a priority by the next committee.
5.5) Office of the Somaliland Mission in the UK
The SSUK needs to develop a strong working relationship with the Office of the Somaliland Mission in the UK because as this report has shown, the SSUK can play a very important and useful role in coordinating Somaliland activities in the UK.
On their part the Office of the Somaliland mission in the UK must take an active part in the affairs of the Somaliland community in the UK. In his last two visits to the UK the president of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahin did not make an effort to meet the Somaliland public even when a public event was organised for this to happen. On each occasion fragmentation amongst Somaliland Organisation in the UK was given as the reason why the President did not address the community even though there is strong unity and working relationship between Somaliland communities.
The Office of the Somaliland Mission in the UK can play an important part in the relations and communication between SSUK and Somaliland Government particularly when the SSUK and other Somaliland Organisations organise public events to welcome the President of Somaliland and other Somaliland Government Officials when they are visiting the UK.
5.6) Written confirmation for public events
In order to avoid last minute disappointments, in the future SSUK should not organise public meetings for high profile Somaliland Government figures without written confirmation that they will take part in such events.
Although Somaliland Organisations in the UK particularly those in London are working closely together there is lot of duplication going on and the numbers of Somaliland Organisations are increasing. It will be very good if Somalilanders in the UK can put their efforts and resources together in the formation of one strong viable Somaliland Organisation that is well respected by both Somalilanders and non Somalilanders. The SSUK can fill that role but needs the Support of other Somaliland Organisations and the support of the Somaliland people in the UK.
6) Thanks and acknowledgements
We will like to thank and acknowledge the support of the following individuals.
Abdiradhid Duale (CEO) Dahabshiil, Abdul Ladif Samater – Links Travel, Ahmed Yusuf – SORAG, Fawzia Haji Adan – RAAD International, Sa’ad Ali Shire, Turki Jama, Members of the Somaliland Community in North London, Mohamed Abi Digaale, Ahmed Mire.
Special thanks to Guled Abdi Shekhash – the Chairman of SDWO for allowing us to use SDWO pictures in this report.
Also special thanks to Shirwac Guled and Iid Dawlad for producing the SSUK and NOMAD Videos for the 2006 18th of May celebration at Alexandra Palace.
Source: Somaliland Society of United Kingdom (SSUK)