Somaliland: Enhancing Communication between Government and People via “Ila Dhageyso”

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Iladhegeyso

Somalilandsun- Ila Dhageyso is initiative designed to increase effective communication between Somaliland central government and the public by allowing citizens in Somaliland to interact with the central government in meaningful way.

This service allows Somaliland citizens to receive up to date information from the government and also allows collecting feedback from the public using voice-based application. Additionally, this service helps to bridge communication gap between citizens in Somaliland and the Somaliland Diaspora.

Without independent and functioning media, transparency and accountability are almost impossible in contemporary democracies. However, in present-day Somaliland, the news organizations fall short of this ideal. Rather than serving as civic educator and guardian of democracy, news organizations in Somaliland are not independent from the realities of the economic landscape and trending political ideologies. In addition, serious reporting is difficult to sustain as media becomes more sensationalized and commercialized. This leads to civic decay and public cynicism towards politics and politicians.

A potential remedy for this situation is the direct and unfiltered media, such as the C-SPAN network in the United States, that provide unbiased coverage of contentious political issues. Unfiltered communication mediums are even more important in emerging democracies and in post-conflict countries. Social media has also enabled us to create online communities and share information in a direct and participatory way.

Iladhegeyso

Social media has enabled us to create communities online and consume digital contents in participatory fashion. However, because of lack of modern infrastructures, these technologies are out of reach for the poor and isolated communities around the world. Nonetheless, increasingly most of the world’s 5.6 billion mobile subscribers are based in the developing world, and they use their phones primarily for voice communication.

There are increasing demand and need to create voice-based application to access information and participate in knowledge creation to technological and context barriers. I have been working in Northern Somalia, to deploy an interactive voice-based application to allow citizens to receive critical news about peace building, accurate information from authorities and provide feedback on current topics. The goal of this initiative is to create social-media effect by using IVR (Interactive Voice Response) to stimulate conversation on pressing current issues and increase transparency of local government in Somaliland.

Somaliland government has been lagging behind using modern communication tools to transmit and collect information to its citizens. The Office of Communication of the Presidential Ministry is implementing this initiative to enhance communication between different ministries of the government and the public. We encourage the Somaliland public and diaspora to utilize this service and submit questions/feedback/complaints. Dedicate staff of communication would your message to the appropriate agency or respond to your concerns.

Somaliland citizens can dial 132 on their Telesom phones to hear information from the government and also to provide feedback. The toll free number allows public to get critical news from the government and submit feedback concerning post news bulletins or any other general feedback.

Somaliland Diaspora can listen to discussion posted by in Somaliland via Twitter, Facebook and this website.

Telesom: 132 (free toll number, Telesom)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IlaDhageyso

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iladhageyso

YouTube: www.youtube.com/iladhageyso

This initiative evolved from research project by Mohamed Gulaid, a graduate student from University of Michigan. Ila Dhageyso is made possible by:

School of Information at UMICH

William Davidson Institute

Microsoft Research in India

Telesom Corporation

The Ministry of Presidency in Somaliland

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