UN Refugee Agency Launches Inaugural Somali Community Event in Kenya

By Africa Business, PRNE
Sunday, April 17, 2011

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 18, 2011 - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has partnered
with Dahabshiil, the largest international money transfer company in Africa,
to host the first ever Somali community event in Kenya.

The event, themed 'Now I Know', saw high profile Kenyan and Somali
artists and musicians celebrate stories of the Somali Diaspora living in
Kenya. The aim was to promote Somali culture and to educate other communities
about the struggles and triumphs of Somali immigrants in Kenya.

Roberta Russo, Public Information Officer at UNHCR Somalia,
said: "We hope this marks the beginning of a new era of interaction and
dialogue between the Kenyan and Somali communities, which have been living
side by side for decades.

"We have chosen the theme, 'Now I Know', as we want to give Kenyans a
better understanding of the lives of Somalis and the events which have led to
their arrival here in Kenya. It is important for effective integration that
the Kenyan community understands why Somali migrants are here, how they feel
about living in Kenya, and that they didn't necessarily have a choice."

More than 3,000 people attended the event at Eastleigh High School in
Nairobi on 16 April 2011. Contributing to the celebrations were leading
Kenyan and Somali acts including Kenyan singer-songwriter Erick Wainaina,
Kenyan genge artist Jua Kali, Somali singer Waayaha Cusub, Kenyan comedian
Eric Omondi, and Somalilander poet Muhammad Ibrahim Warsame Hadraawi.

Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil, said: "Dahabshiil is delighted to be
involved with this event, the first of its kind in Kenya and one which we
hope will encourage greater understanding and collaboration between the
Kenyan and Somali communities. We will remain committed wherever possible to
supporting such initiatives to promote the integration of migrant

Speaking at the event was Daud Aweys, a BBC Somalia analyst, who
discussed the issues facing Somalis in Kenya. He stressed the need for
interchange and cooperation between the two communities and congratulated
Dahabshiil and the organisers for making the occasion possible.

Dahabshiil has a 40-year history of supporting Somali-speaking
communities around the world and invests $1 million every year in community
regeneration projects and charitable efforts across the 144 countries in
which it operates.

In East and Central Africa, Dahabshiil is one of the top private
investors in hospitals and health centres - helping to develop infrastructure
and provide financial support, equipment and medicines.

In the Horn of Africa, Dahabshiil has made an important contribution to
ongoing relief work, making donations and assisting the management and
distribution of funds for humanitarian and development organisations that
work with communities affected by conflict, drought and famine. Some 95% of
international organisations operating in the region, including the UN, World
Health Organisation, World Bank, Oxfam, Save the Children and Care
International rely on Dahabshiil to transfer funds.

Abdirashid Duale added: "Remittances are an essential lifeline for many
communities across East Africa which depend on Dahabshiil to receive income
from abroad and to facilitate much-needed private investment. The flow of
remittances into the region has played a crucial role in the growth of the
telecoms, transport and housing sectors, as well as in improving basic
infrastructure, healthcare and education."

Founded in 1970 in Somaliland as a general trading enterprise, Dahabshiil
has grown to become Africa's largest money transfer operator. It has invested
heavily in expanding its network of pay-out locations, as a result of which
the inhabitants of some of the Horn of Africa's most remote locations have
regular access to funding from overseas.

Despite its international success Dahabshiil has remained committed to a
policy of low commissions, charging fees significantly lower than other
international providers and enabling migrants to send funds regularly and
cost-effectively, regardless of their whereabouts or the size of the sums

Contact: info at africabusiness.com

will not be displayed