Early this year UN-HABITAT launched a project entitled Participatory District Rehabilitation in Mogadishu. It has received much positive attention, and the agency is currently seeking funding for a continuation in 2011. The project, which builds on interventions and partnerships in Mogadishu dating back to 2006, falls within the framework of the UN Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery.
Under the project, implemented by UN-HABITAT and a partner NGO, all 16 districts and the Bermuda enclave are scheduled to have a priority service delivery project funded. This rehabilitation of public infrastructure is part of a wider process aimed at strengthening local capacities, fostering dialogue, and improving governance in the districts.
The project’s approach has been developed over the years and is highly consultative. Local leaders (formal and informal), civil society representatives, elders, religious leaders, women’s associations, and youth representatives are all involved. Works commence once an agreement has been reached in the district and the following has been received: the proposed priority project, a detailed action plan, pre-intervention photos, GIS coordinates, and tender documentation.
The works are supervised by ad hoc committees established in the beneficiary district, and provisions for maintenance and custodianship are clarified early in the process. Sustainability is ensured through bodies such as vendor associations and school committees and, if possible, long-term funding from a third party.
The projects provide employment for IDPs and the host community and business opportunities for local firms. Though working in Mogadishu is very challenging, the investment in community participation and ownership has proved vital, and buildings rehabilitated in the past have rarely been looted or destroyed.
Despite the recent deterioration of security in Mogadishu, infrastructure projects have been finalized in seven districts over the past four months: district offices in Hamarweyne and Dharkenely; school rehabilitation and expansion in Deynile; second phase rehabilitation of Medina Meat Market in Wadajir; first phase market rehabilitation in Wardhigley (the second phase was recently initiated); the Women’s Vocational Training Centre in Waberi; and sporting grounds for youth in Hamar-Jajab. Works or assessments are being carried out in Shingani, Hawl-wadaag, and Karaan Districts. Unfortunately, progress is hampered in the remaining six districts due to ongoing armed conflict and general insecurity; there, priorities need to be revised or sub-projects reallocated to more stable areas.
Another part of the project is capacity building on conflict management. This training, based on UN-HABITAT’s Building Bridges through Managing Conflict and Differences, serves to strengthen the rehabilitation and prioritization process. Three trainers from SAACID attended a training of trainers course in Garowe in early 2010, and workshops have now been held for 16 districts and the Bermuda area, benefitting close to 600 local leaders.
District mapping is a new component in UN-HABITAT’s work in Mogadishu. The exercise builds on the existing district profiles, updating and enhancing knowledge on the status of public infrastructure in all the districts of Mogadishu. With guidance and technical support from UN-HABITAT, two GIS-trained resource persons and six senior assessors are producing digital maps and databases. UN-HABITAT’s successful GIS projects in Somaliland reveal the potential this district mapping has for revenue collection and urban planning.