Yasmin Gedi is a Somali blogger and social entrepreneur who is the founder of We, Freelance, a start-up that builds the skills of freelancers and connects them with international job opportunities. She won the 2019 World Bank Blog4Dev competition. Afrobloggers had a conversation with her to establish what it took to win this competition and her blogging future plans
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 take part 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
In your opinion to what extent can blogging be used to influence change in African policy?
Bloggers can be triggers for change, be it in the policy, the way we live…etc. Thanks to the international organizations and corporations who are encouraging, investing, and promoting bloggers around the world, but I think the question should be how can we get more youths to blog about issues facing them and their countries? Then and only then can we have more power to shift our policies in a more desirable direction.
What is the state of Blogging in Somaliland?
Somali culture has been largely oral for many years; fewer people are blogging here in Somaliland and their work hardly gets noticed. Initially, it was mainly activists or people who were trying to change the status quo who appreciated the power of using blogs to communicate, but things are changing, there are relatively more Somalis who are now blogging on social media, and hopefully, more youths will follow suit in the future.
In your opinion are Somalis using the internet as best as they could? If not so, what could be the hindering factors, and what can be done to improve them?
Well Yes and no. Business people and activists are using the internet as an opportunity to get new markets and to attract people to their initiatives. Many Somalis have an entrepreneurial spirit so you will see a lot of youth especially girls who are starting a small retail business online from 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.
For the youths, who are the majority of internet users, their potential still remains untapped. Globalization can solve some of the problems that we are facing today and it is very sad that we haven’t yet recognized it. We can pave the way for the youths by investing in those who are already in the space so that they inspire others.
What’s next after the Blog for development competition? 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 youths with online freelancing opportunities as well as hold workshops that aim to develop their skills. I would like to show our youths a different way of using the internet other than social media.