Somaliland: Interactive Theatre for Peace



Building upon IREX Europe’s successful theatre for peace project in Somaliland, IREX Europe will continue work with its Hargeisa-based partner Kow Media Corporation to promote peaceful dialogue on community issues. The project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, targets 48 Somali communities in the 6 regions of Somaliland utilising Drama for Conflict Transformation methodologies. This innovative methodology, which combines theatre, debate, poetry, and reflection, creates a ‘safe space’ for exploring incendiary issues such as tribalism, radicalisation, community tensions and other drivers of conflict. In situations of entrenched conflict, where debate and historical analysis rarely serve to change minds, DCT unlocks the creative power of individuals and communities to adopt new perspectives and develop novel solutions. IREX Europe and its partners have successfully implemented the methodology with Somali communities in Kenya, in Indonesia and in Central Asia.


Since declaring independence in 1991, Somaliland has surprised the world as a fledgeling democracy, holding peaceful elections and successfully integrating traditional Somali modes of governance into contemporary politics. However, Somaliland remains vulnerable to extremism and violence due to regional instability, including ongoing tensions between Puntland and Somaliland, which have escalated into violence several times. Within this climate, communities have had few models for civil discourse and little opportunity for constructive debate of political issues. As a result, street protests and violence are too often the way in which people attempt to resolve political and social issues. As Somalis become increasingly disenfranchised and frustrated, extremist voices can appear an increasingly attractive alternative to democracy. This project will build upon Kow Media’s work through its “Geediga Nabada” Peace Caravan team of trained theatre practitioners and successful IREX Europe/Kow Media collaboration through the Theatre to Promote Peace and Understanding Project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Project Activities

IREX Europe and Kow Media will organise a travelling theatre caravan to offer shows in six regions of Somaliland targeting up to 16,000 people. Following each performance, members of the theatre troupe with training in facilitating discussion sessions will encourage dialogue amongst the community members present to promote critical thinking and challenge entrenched views. Community members will be invited to speak about challenges specific to their lives and areas, encouraging dialogue and the collective identification of solutions. During these discussion sessions, facilitators also will encourage viewers to create their own poetical verses discussing the issues addressed in the theatre performances. This is especially relevant in Somaliland, where poetry is an important component of cultural expression.

Up to 15 of these travelling road shows will be recorded and broadcast through local TV, radio, KOW Media and partner websites. Furthermore, a ‘Peace Film and Picture Festival’ will be organised for independent Somali film makers and picture and film enthusiasts among the local population and Somali Diaspora to showcase original work on conflict, peace, and reconciliation. The awarded films and photographs will be shown in at least 6 different cities of Somaliland, allowing people and communities from different areas to have access to different points of view and visions about their country.

Somaliland Placeholder
Project Date : August 2011-March 2012

To see a film about our work in Somaliland, you can watch the YouTube video on the right or visit ?Theatre for Peace in Somaliland Film

To learn more about how IREX Europe is utilising Drama for Conflict Transformation methodologies with Somali communities in Kenya:
Kenya: Learning theatre to promote peace and understanding among Somali communities

Other IREX Europe Drama for Conflict Transformation programmes:
Indonesia : Promoting Tolerance and Dialogue through Interactive Theatre in Eastern Indonesia

To learn about the work of network partner IREX in Somaliland, Puntland, and South-Central Somalia (SMCSS): Supporting Media and Civil Society in Somalia Program