Yasmin Gedi :2019 Somalian winner of World Bank Blog4dev
Yasmin Gedi is the founder of We, Freelance.
Who is Yasmin Gedi and what are you currently involved in?
I’m an ambitious girl who has been involved in social researches, translation and later in social entrepreneurship. I worked as a research assistant and as a translator but didn’t see myself there so I started volunteering. During this time, I got to know many youth activists, some of which I worked with and some others I communicated with at the Hargeisa cultural centre. It was a life changing experience, as it made me envision a better Somaliland. It motivated me to start my project “we freelance” which I’m currently focusing on and to blog as well.
I value family, hard work and strongly believe that Africa can one day lead the world. I’ve been selected as a delegate for the World Youth Forum in Sharma El sheikh and won the World Bank Blog4Dev competition.
What did it take to win the World Bank Blog4Dev Competition?
- Dedication and focus.
- Good writing skills.
- Knowledge and experience about the topic.
What moved you to partake in the competition?
It was for me a chance to voice what I was already involved in. I took part in this competition partly to represent my country and join other African winners and to get a seat at the table.
World Bank Blog4Dev competition is an annual writing contest launched in 2014, inviting young people to weigh in on a topic critical to their country’s economic development. The competition is a way to engage Africa’s youth and provide a platform to share their views and solutions about development topics that are important to them.World Bank
In your opinion to what extent can blogging be used to influence change in African policy?
Bloggers can be triggers for any change, be it in the policy, the way we live…etc. Thanks to the international organisations and corporations who are encouraging, investing and shedding light on bloggers around the world, but I think the question should be how can we get more youth to blog about issues facing them and their countries? Then and only then can we have more weight to shift our policies in more desirable direction.
What is the state of Blogging and Internet use in Somali-land?
Even though things are slowly changing now, but generally speaking Somali culture was oral for many years; less people are blogging here in Somaliland and their work hardly get noticed. Activists or anyone who is willing to change the status quo do come out and speak about it. That is how you can communicate your massage. But there are relatively more Somalis now who are blogging on social media and hopefully more youth will follow suit in the future.
Businesses people and activists are using the internet as an opportunity to get a new market and to attract people to their initiatives. Many Somalis have an entrepreneurial spirit so you will see a lot of youth specially girls who are starting a small retail businesses online at the comfort of their home and later growing it to open stores and so on.
On the other hand, we have many others who only use the internet for scrolling social media pages. The youth’s, who are the majority of internet users, potential is still untapped. We can pave the way for the youth by investing in those who are already in the space e.g. bloggers. Encouraging youth who are doing a meaning contribution can result in more talents to come out.
What’s next after the Blog4dev win? Do you wish to start a blog of your own? If so what are you most likely to write about?
Yes. I would like to make a blog for “we freelance’; a project me and my friends have started. It’s an initiative to introduce what could take part in solving the unemployment problem in Somaliland. We try to connect youth with online freelancing opportunities as well as hold workshops that aim to develop their skills. I would like to show our youth a different way of using the internet other then social media.