Abab was formed in 2015 after many community-based discussions by Dadaab refugee camps youth and other Somali community members. In those discussions, participants made references to many beautiful stories of courage, selflessness and the resilience of our fellow community members. There were also many references to the gross social injustice and barriers that exist in our education system and within our communities. The social injustice and abuse of public resources is not only accepted widely, but even encouraged and celebrated in some situations. The most dangerous part of social injustice within our Somali communities is not only the lack of justice but rather the growing feelings and perceptions of normalcy among existing conditions.

A society with a broken sense of social justice is bound to have broken leadership. Somalis say ‘Hal xaaraan ah nirig xalaal ah ma dhasho” (Literally translated as a stolen she-camel cannot give birth to a halal calf). Leaders are a reflection of the society they represent. We all know how individuals who have misappropriated public resources are sometimes spoken of highly in some of our community circles “warya ninka waa nin libaax ah… dowladda intuu 40 million ka soo qaaday ayuu hal iyo eber diray” and we expect our elected leaders (as an example) to promote institutional integrity?

Public resources (Amaana) come in various forms (voice, power, influence, knowledge, position etc.) The Dugsi teacher, the primary school teacher, the mother selling vegetables in Dadaab refugee camps or any other local market and of course those in elected positions all have some forms of public Amaana to be conscious about.

These issues are not only discussions for youth groups; they are for all of us! We all need to become aware of the ills in our society that slowly degrade our values and beliefs. Therefore it is of the greatest importance that we as a society reflect on these critically and create an environment where we as a people can prosper and look forward to vibrant educated communities with an accountable leadership vision.