Somali journalism faculty back in business after 26 years

by Kajsa Törnroth, IMS-Fojo Somalia

“One of our students is a man who was admitted to the university 26 years ago, in 1990. However, then the civil war broke out and the university closed, so he could never attend. When we reopened last year, he showed up with proof he had been admitted in 1990, and he is today one of our second-year students.”

You can hear the pride in the voice of Abdulkadir Diesow, dean of the Faculty of Journalism & Communication at the Somali National University. After 26 years of closure, the faculty reopened in the autumn 2017, and is today home to almost 90 students first and second year students.

IMS-Fojo has been partnering with the faculty since the spring 2018 with a focus on supporting their curriculum development and providing training courses with a practical orientation.

The partnership launched in July 2018, when a three-day introduction course to journalism was held by Somali journalist and editor Muhyadin Roble, and was continued in October with a series of lectures held by Somali journalist and BBC correspondent Ali Halane.

In November, the faculty received a visit by Swedish TV journalists Daniel Jonsson and Felix Larnö, in view of training the students on how to create a strong and appealing visual story and producing TV on your mobile.

“The first thing that strikes you, as a photographer and editor, is the lack of premises, computers, internet and other equipment, where we as Swedish journalists usually are very spoilt. During our conversations with the students, I felt a great interest {from their side] to learn more, both in terms of journalistic story-telling but also how you use a camera and edit. Almost immediately they asked very concrete questions about how to produce a news feature,” said Daniel Jonsson.

This goes well in hand with the ambitions of Mr Diesow, the faculty dean.

“We want to equip the students with the tools to think critically and analyse new and unknown materials. We want to teach them how to write clearly and in a comprehensive way, how to create a good narrative. And we want them to learn about local, national and international politics and institutions, since they need that knowledge to carry out their work well.”

After 26 years of closure, the faculty has indeed gotten off on the right foot, which is also reflected in the demographic of the students in this complex country.

“Our students come from everywhere in Somalia, for example Jubaland, and also Somaliland. This means that the future journalists will represent all of Somalia, not one region, or one specific side”


Together with Swedish Fojo Media Institute, IMS is carrying out a four-year media development programme in Somalia with financial backing from Sweden.