During the past three decades, global perceptions of Somalia have for the most part been shaped by images of the country as a disaster area, ravaged by poverty and war. Somalia seems to appear in the news only in the context of humanitarian assistance appeals or of Al Qaeda-inspired militias carrying out their heinous acts across the country.
Since the outbreak of the civil war in 1991, there has been virtually no central government control in Somalia. The country has been characterized as a failed state, and as one of the poorest and most violent countries in the world. The situation for women in that country could not be worse, according to a 2011 global survey. Ninety five percent of girls, mostly between the ages of 4 and 11, suffer genital mutilation; only 7% of parliamentary seats are held by women; and only 9% of women give birth in a health facility.
But recently, this image of a nation of despair and devastation is shifting to an image of hope and re-construction, thanks to a number of initiatives and projects by different individuals and NGOs. One of them is TEDxMogadishu, an event organized on Thursday May 17 that focused on bringing life to a dying nation long victimized by human evils and natural calamities. [Read more...]