By Kampala Post Reporter
NAIROBI. Senior officials of the African Union Mission in Somalia and partners, are meeting in Kenya’s capital Nairobi to reflect on the Mission’s Quick Impact Projects (QIPs), aimed at improving the quality of life of communities in recovered areas.
The three-day meeting is expected to take stock of the QIPs, their success in contributing to peace and recovery in Somalia, challenges faced and lessons learned in their implementation.
“On conceptualizing this workshop, we looked at how we can be able to strengthen the process of implementing projects that are helpful to the people of Somalia in terms of helping Somalia to stabilize,” explained Dr. Opiyo Ododa, the Senior Civil Affairs Officer in charge of Stabilization and Early Recovery, at the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
QIPs are small scale, low cost programmes that are planned and implemented within a short period of time and have a rapid positive impact on targeted communities. In Somalia’s case, AMISOM implements the QIPs through its Civil Affairs Unit.
According to Dr. Ododa, a total of 127 QIPs are already completed and 23 are ongoing in various parts of the country. They include military, civilian and police interventions.
The three-day workshop whose theme is “Lessons Learned on Quick Impact Projects Implementation” – will also review financial management and audit of projects and funding for early recovery.
Among issues likely to drive the discussions include the coordination of delivery of QIPs, strengthening community engagement to ensure the projects benefit the Somali community and ways of ensuring sustainable funding.
“It’s an internal workshop,” said Dr. Ododa, who is the convener of the meeting. “We are here to see how best (the QIPs can be implemented) and the best way they can be delivered to the community.”
The workshop, officially opened by Ambassador Purity Muhindi of Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was also attended by Simon Mulongo, the deputy head of AMISOM, and Adong Oder, the representative of the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The envoy praised AMISOM for its remarkable progress in stabilizing Somalia since it started its work in the war-ravaged country about eleven years ago.
The Mission has supported political dialogue and reconciliation, maintained law and order, facilitated the delivery of humanitarian assistance, supported military intervention, and helped in early recovery, among other interventions, she said.
Ambassador Muhindi noted that credit had to go to the Mission for contributing to peace and stability and degrading the threat posed by Al-Shabaab militia. “I am positive AMISOM will continue to play its role,” she said and singled out the lack of “reliable and sustainable” funding as a key challenge to the Mission’s operations.
Simon Mulongo, AMISOM’s deputy head, said the QIPs were “initial projects that underpin our mission in Somalia” and noted that they had contributed immensely to Somalia’s early recovery. He singled out projects on water, health, education and security, as some of those implemented by AMISOM that have helped stabilize liberated areas.
“The social services-related activities have helped to instill in the recovery areas a sense of statehood. AMISOM enables such communities enjoy the benefits of being liberated from Al-Shabaab,” Mr. Mulongo noted.
The AMISOM deputy head thanked the civil affairs component of the Mission, jointly with the military, for their continued efforts in stabilizing Somalia.
Participants expect that the lessons learned from the workshop will help strengthen the process of implementing the projects in question and thus stabilize the war-torn country.
“We are doing well but we still think that with workshop like this, we will strengthen (the implementation of the QIPs),” said Dr. Ododa.
He thanked partners who have helped AMISOM deliver QIPs to the community, among them, the British Embassy in Mogadishu, the Danish Government, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), the African Union Commission, and liaison officers from Troop Contributing Countries.