History of the project within the history of Somalia
The Bursaalah Education and Development project was set up in the 1990’s by a group of refugees from the Galkayo region who wanted to put something back into their home country. This was a time when the country had no government and was prey to interclan fighting. They set up a charity in UK, Read Horn of Africa, and chose the area of Bursalah for an educational and development project as it was a furtile area for recruitment by clan militias as well as having no previous access to education.
During the colonial era, Somalia has been bisected into British and Italian colonies. In the 1960’s, the country achieved independence and a democratic form of government. This was not to last and the autocratic government of Siad Barre took over and ruled the country until 1990. Siad Barre was ultimately deposed by militias, who had joined together to oppose his rule. Once they had achieved their aim, the militias could not agree how to share power and a period without government ensued with clan militia fighting clan militia. It was with this background that the project sought to:
- bring education and development to an area hitherto lacking either.
- by these means keep those recruiting to the clan militias out of the area.
More recently, although there have been governments set up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, under the auspices of the UN, they have been unable to reverse the Islamic insurgency in the south of the country undertaken by the terrorist group, Al Shabab, who are affiliated to Al Quaeda. This is despite the presence of Organisation of Africa troops in the country. There is however relative peace and stability in the more northerly provinces of Puntland, in which Bursaalax is situated, and Somaliland.
The fact that the area around Bursalah has seen no recruitment to the various militias and insurgent groups and a significant rise in population since the project was set up is testimony to the validity of the priorities on which the project was based – “Without education there is no light” – but with Al Shabab looking to expand their sphere of influence beyond their heartlands in the south, the project is needed more than ever.
For further information on the project or the situation in Somalia, go to “Contact Us” and send us your inquiry.