Youth review HIV/AIDS magazine
Hargeisa, Northwest Somalia (‘Somaliland’) November 2005 –Twenty-two young people from across Somalia recently met in Hargeisa, Northwest Somalia (‘Somaliland’) to discuss ways in which they could reach more Somali youth and educate them about HIV/AIDS prevention and control.
The group, comprising eleven males and eleven females aged between 17 and 24 years were at a workshop facilitated by UNICEF to explore how KOOR – quarterly youth magazine - could become a more effective vehicle to articulate their concerns on the issue. Among them were Mohamed Deeq, 22, from Bosasso, Northeast Somalia (Puntland) and Zamzam Abdi, 20, a female participant from Borama, ‘Somaliland”. Though they came from areas 800km apart, these participants shared a common vision: to make KOOR a valuable resource in their arsenal against HIV/AIDS.
KOOR is the Somali term for the wooden bell that adorns the most prized camel in the herd. The owner keeps track of the grazing herd by the sound of the bell. KOOR aims to toll for Somali youth.
According to Mohamed, KOOR fills a gap left open by local media which, he says, rarely give enough prominence to HIV/AIDS. Zamzam sees KOOR as a means to reach more girls. “Almost all Somali girls are exposed to harmful practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) which puts them at higher risk of contracting HIV,” she said. “Challenges such as early marriages and lack of access to education should be discussed.”
UNICEF has supported the production of KOOR magazine since 2003. It held the recent workshop to discuss ways of improving the magazine’s outlook and effectiveness. A recommendation from the workshop is for two editors (one male and one female) to be selected from each zone (Northwest, Northeast and Central/Southern Somalia) whose job it will be to identify and source stories.
Background to KOOR
With UNICEF support, KOOR was launched in 2003 by a group of young people in Somaliland to give youth access to the kind of information and skills they required for HIV prevention and participation in community mobilization activities. The young people involved in the start-up were initially members of a ‘Youth and HIV/AIDS Network’ who provided peer education on HIV/AIDS. The first issue of KOOR magazine was launched on 25 June 2003 and since then the magazine has been circulated among youth throughout Somalia.
Two thousand copies of the first issue were distributed in Hargeisa, Borama, Burao, Berbera and Gabiley in Somaliland and Bossaso in Puntland.
UNICEF assisted the young people in the development of guidelines for the magazine’s design, content, frequency, layout and distribution. The youth then appointed a 10-member committee of representatives from Hargeisa, Gabiley, Borama, Burao and Berbera in Somaliland and identified two people from each area as focal points for distribution, contribution of content and feedback to youth in their respective towns.
Somali youth groups in 2005 chose the Hargeisa Youth Development Association (HYDA) to coordinate the production and distribution of KOOR magazine. HYDA's support includes the provision of space, equipment and staff.
Issues covered by the magazine have included basic HIV/AIDS facts, female genital mutilation health issues, women’s development and life skills as well as entertainment, culture and world news. It also carries opinion pieces.
For further information contact:
Jairus Ligoo , Project Officer , Youth, UNICEF Somalia. P.O. Box 44145, Nairobi – KENYA. Tel: +254 20 623950 Fax: +254 20 623965. Email: email@example.com