A project to rehabilitate two public markets in Mogadishu, in Wadajir District and Yaqshid District respectively, was successfully completed on 30 December 2009. The project stemmed from a broader infrastructure rehabilitation programme implemented by UN-HABITAT partner NGO SAACID, which ended in June 2009. It was decided that the remaining funds (USD 30,000) from that programme would be used for two additional public infrastructure projects in Mogadishu.
More than 80 percent of the inhabitants of Mogadishu have been directly affected by Somalia’s ongoing civil conflict and are living under very difficult circumstances. Hundreds of thousands of people fled from continuous fighting in the city and took sanctuary on the outskirts or in the few peaceful areas that exist. Most people remaining in Mogadishu are those who do not have the finances or means to leave. People continue to suffer the effects of increasing insecurity and a worsening economic situation.
SAACID staff assigned to implement these latest market rehabilitation projects mobilized all of the IDP communities of the specified districts, together with the respective district local authorities, host communities, and IDP settlement leaders to identify and prioritize one action plan that would help the poor people gain access to enhanced basic services. This was done quite informally due to the level of conflict and insecurity in the city, as well as the increased threat to community leaders who are perceived to be working towards Western interests. After these consultations, both districts proposed the rehabilitation of a public market.
On 2 December 2009, SAACID project staff introduced the project objectives, the planned activity schedule, and the expectations of SAACID from the communities in the project areas. The district stakeholders promised to actively participate in the rehabilitation, provide security for the sites, and maintain sanitation in the vicinity of the markets. The districts also agreed to assume the responsibility of maintaining the rehabilitated markets after the projects were completed.
SAACID particularly included the displaced poor – with a special emphasis on women, one of the most vulnerable groups − in the project implementation. Their participation was also encouraged in the district action teams and other committees, leading to improved potential for sustainable development.
Both districts forwarded tenders from local bidders during the first days of the project implementation. Three local, reputable construction companies that demonstrated probity and skill were contracted to do the rehabilitation, in close consultation with the district authorities and district action teams. The contracted company gave priority to hiring workers that were available locally and in the IDP camps − skilled masons and carpenters, as well as unskilled workers.
For the smooth running of the rehabilitation work, a supervision committee composed of the local authorities, action teams, IDP camp committees, and vendors’ committees of both districts oversaw the progress of the work once a week.
SAACID envisages that the principal victims of war and destruction – namely, the poor and the marginalized who are living near the rehabilitated markets in both Wadajir and Yaqshid − will now experience a reduction in the spread of communicable diseases. There should also be a significant boost to economic activity in the two districts.