NEIGHBORS FOR NATIONSThe time is now. Minnesotans are uniting with our Somali-American neighborsto strengthen our communities here in Minnesota and address the humanitariancrisis in Somalia. Neighbors for Nations joins the energy and heart of theSomali community; the open spirit and creativity of Minnesotans; and theexpertise and technical know-how of the American Refugee Committee.Two Interconnected GoalsIn Somalia Design, fund, and implement a high impact, efficiently delivered and tangible program that provides lifesaving relief and longer-term development.In Minnesota Give entire communities the opportunity to unite and engage to deepen understanding, build stronger neighborhoods, and create a new direction to address desperate humanitarian need in Somalia.
PARTNERSInternally Displaced Somalis Advisory CouncilMade up of 11 Somali professionals – 5 women and 6 men - the Council has taken a leadership role inreaching out to the larger Somali community with the Neighbors for Nations program.American Refugee CommitteeWith 30 years experience in humanitarian relief and development work, the American Refugee Committeehas worked throughout the world in Europe, Asia and Africa, including a program in Somalia in the 1990s.City of MinneapolisMinneapolis has a rich history of diversity. The region also prides itself on a strong spirit of hospitalityand generosity towards new arrivals; Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, in particular, has taken a lead in thisregard. Keith Ellison, the �irst Muslim Congressperson, is the city’s representative.Greater Twin Cities United WayFunding the initial efforts to develop Neighbors for Nations local concepts for engagement, the United Wayhas recognized the need for a new approach for Somalia and the Somali diaspora in the United States.UCareChallenging the Twin Cities by matching up to $50,000 in individual donations to Neighbors for Nations,UCare is leading the way in innovative solutions to building strong and healthy communities.
PROCESS – Shared Assessment in SomaliaIn June 2010, a four-person assessment team – two ARC senior staff members and two representatives from the council – traveled to Somalia, visiting Garoowe, Galkaayo and Boosaaso. On the mission, they documented the humanitarian situation,identified and visited partner organizations, and laid groundwork for the roll out of a program in 2011.
PROCESS – Deep EngagementSuccess is dependent on the ability of the program to be authentically grounded in the local diasporacommunity. The goal is to create a city-wide initiative that engages the Somali community and the broaderlocal community in a meaningful and innovative way.IDEO – the world’s leading human-centered design firm – was brought on-board to develop practicalconcepts for engagement. They immersed themselves in the local community and met people from allwalks of life including Imams, moms, elders, teenagers, doctors, lawyers, business owners, and communityorganizers. They also conducted focus groups with members of the broader community.
PROCESS – Community MeetingsTo gain input and support from the Somali diaspora community regarding our proposed relief program in Somalia, we havehosted a series of seven Town Hall Meetings at mosques, community centers and shopping malls. We have also met with nearly100 Somali imams, business leaders, students and acedemics based in Minnesota to solicit feedback and buy-in for the program.In total, we’ve reached more than 800 people and received significant feedback and encouragement for the program.
CONCEPTS - Within MinnesotaFood TruckThe food truck will bring Somali culture into the mainstream. The truck will featurecrowd-sourced menu items from the Somali community and will offer employment andbusiness mentoring opportunities for Somali youth. Agency dividends will directly supportthe Somalia-based program. 25% of our proﬁts go to Neighbors for Nations: Uniting Communities to Help Somalia, a humanitarian project by ARC to nourish SOMALI FOOD WITH SOUL
CONCEPTS - Within MinnesotaBillboard CampaignA media program displayed throughout the city. The campaign would portray Somali-Americansin a positive light, focusing on their status as contributors to the culture and economy.It would take a fun and lighthearted view of both Somalis and Minnesotans.
CONCEPTS - Within MinnesotaVenture FundA fund to invest in the local Somali community by start new Somali-funded businesses.Leading business people are being recruited to assist with mentorship, business-plandevelopment, and in-kind services. Agency dividends will directly support small businessdevelopment in Somalia.
CONCEPTS - Within MinnesotaThe Somali Young Scholars programARC funds two community-selected Somali college students to go to Somalia for a summer,engage with field workers and refugees in ARC camps, and post stories from the field to theSomali community in MNSP. Involvement in the program helps connect young people with theirhomeland and reassures Somalis in the US that ARC is doing the “right thing” in their country.
Program Insights - SomaliaARC program team must be based in Somalia, not NairobiSmall but powerful Somali lead projects do good work all over Somalia , any futureprogram must build on thisAfter 20 years conflict, program strategy must be designed with dual objectives –both urgent/lifesaving relief and longer-term developmentA Somalia- based program team implies a need to start activities in the more stableregions of the country such as Puntland and SomalilandA critical need is programs that address the chronic unemployment of young menThe old way of aid won’t work, the program must try new approaches
CONCEPTS - Within SomaliaFirst step: Youth centerConstruction of a youth center is already underway. The center will focus on: Building employment skills for young men – e.g. carpentry, mechanics, welding, and community health work Training soft skills such as financial and computer literacy Providing information on critical health issues and substance abuse Creating a concrete path toward real jobs and livelihoods through partnership and capacity-building with existing local businesses