No internet: Farmers can now access the market through mobile solutions

For long, farmers in East Africa, particularly in Somaliland, faced challenges in getting their produces to the market at a possible price. Additionally, they faced delays in accessing finances timely and affordable matters? How is that true when we are living in the age of Smart technology?
For the past decades and since the decline of Somali’s central government, the only marketing model followed by our farmers was to deal with a middle man, who greatly exploited between the farmers and the market. In this process, the farmers sold their precious produces at a cheaper price to a middle man who then sells at a more profitable price. This left farmers frustrated and quite often discouraged to continue the practice of farming and many times their corps got rotten at the farm.
When we realise these problems, Shaqodoon’s technology for development (T4D) department with support from Spark (a Dutch development company), designed a mobile-based market information system to deal with farmer’s market engagement challenges. The new system  needs no internet. How is this possible with no regular internet connection? It is a simple, mobile solution that negates the need for an internet connection. This is now allowing the farmers to direct and lead their own futures.  The new mobile-based MIS address the following:
  • Provide information to Somali farmers to get a fair price for their produce
  • Diversification of farm produces to reduce exaggeration of the market.
  • Reduce the exploitation of middle man
  • Linking the farmers directly to sellers (market) in an innovative way.
How it works
The market information system or the farmer’s application has two sections, a voice or mobile based section connected to three digit short code, like 315, and web-enabled section administered by operators (Campany, Ministry of agriculture, etc).
The shortcode is a user-friendly telephone number primarily meant for following types of users;
  • Farmers: connecting  to the market information
  • Buyers: connecting  to farmers
  • Price tellers: to update the price of items every day
  • Agricultural product companies: connected to farmers to sell seeds
  • Agricultural experts: give advice to farmers
  • Operators: company that facilitates selling between farmers and buyers
  • Ministry of agriculture:  getting agricultural data for  reporting and planning issues
Calling the shortcode, it gives different options not only to farmers but also to buyers who are looking for information about farmer’s produces. The voice-based system enables farmers to listen to daily prices of their products as buyers would do. Most importantly, without moving to the nearest town, at their farms, the farmers can sell their produces through their mobiles by calling the short code for free at the moments. It was great to gain support from Telesom company, a leading telecommunication company to sponsor the system for two years and let the farmers enjoy the process. Additionally,  the system connects farmers to agricultural companies and experts for tools and advice respectively. On the other hand, buyers can buy farmers products by calling the short code and back-end web Operator Company will facilitate the delivery of goods. Furthermore, the ministry of agricultural development in Somaliland has some levels of access to know more about what type of crops are farmers planting this and the next season which helps them develop a greater understanding of farmers needs in country agricultural development planning.
The mobile/voice-based market information system is now called M-Dalag( Mobile Dalag, Dalag means crop). It was launched last year (2018) November during the commencement of global entrepreneurship week. Since then is accessed by more than 40 farmers and will expand to the rest of Somalia in the coming years to serve the farmers.
The minister of agricultural development on the launching of M-dalag, Nov, 13, 2018
Farmer at the commencement of M-dalag

Hargabits Course one graduation (Get connected)

 

Hargeisa (Somaliland), 18th April 2019, Hargabits digital academy holds celebration graduation for this year’s student after finishing the first course, GET CONNECTED, part of the series courses that students should undertake to qualify for the certificate programs offered by the school. “We are happy to announce that this year’s batch finalized the first course, a foundational course that equips them with basic IT skills,” Says former Hargabits manager, Khadra Ali.

The first course, GET CONNECTED, lasts 8 weeks and teaches fundamentals and in that time students are graded on projects, assignments, attendance and general good behaviour. The best are moved on to the more rigorous second track for 22 weeks. From the second course, they all move to specialization.

Before Hargabits, 17-year old Rahma, says she could not turn on a computer. “ Before Hargabits, I loved ICT but never had the chance to touch a computer or learn how to with computer”-Rahma

At its last graduation ceremony, over 80% graduates were offered immediate decent employment and 10% started their own jobs and are currently making good progress in their careers.

Hargabits is an initiative of the Work in Progress Alliance, a consortium of organisations such as Oxfam Novib and Butterfly Works, a social and design innovations studio in the Netherlands. The digital school is locally partnered and managed by Shaqodoon organization, a vibrant growing NGO based on Somalia transforming the lives of youth through technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Since its beginning, Hargabits trained more than 126 students mainly from Hargeisa, Somaliland mainly who cannot afford to further their university education. Now, Shaqodoon organization has to endure to be instrumental to the success and sustainability of this initiative.

 

Celeberating Hargabits Batch two achievement

Today we celebrated the achievement of HargaBits academy batch two,  the completion of the first two courses ( Get connected and Digital garage) . The Hargabits Academy uses ICT multimedia creatively to improve the lives of less privileged youth from the non-formal settlement co-founded by Shaqodoon Organization in partnership with Oxfam Novib and Butterfly Work in July 2016. Hargabits is established in sole purpose of reducing unemployment particularly less privileged youth in Somaliland especially in Hargeisa.

The graduation saw 64 students, majority being girls. The students are now equipped and empowered with diplomas. The students now have ambitions to excel in life and feel the confidence to work out there. At the graduation, they have proved to have the necessary skills and feel that it is now the right time to take their lives to the next level.

Congratulations again to the students, to the staff that mentored them and parents who made their day. Stay updated at our Facebook  and Twitter Hashtags #WeAreBits

The Global Entrepreneurship Week: Get a significant boost in 2018

Over the years, the GEW has become the premium gathering that unites communities of entrepreneurs to learn together, collaborate, connect and celebrate the power of the entrepreneurial spirit. This year, the GEW more local partners with variety of activities taking place in our country this year, 2018.

The GEW in our country has now received a significant boost in supporting entrepreneurship development, thanks to Spark and other sponsors who supported us during the week. This commitment is spearheaded by Shaqodoon, a local organization supporting youth entrepreneurs and  has been working tirelessly with all stakeholders to achieve the GEW mandate.

This year we are going to celebrate the following activities

12 Nov, 2018- Launching of the first entrepreneurship and innovation hub in the country “HarHub

13 Nov, 2018– Launching the first mobile based MIS system to connect farmers to the market

14 Nov, 2018– Business and start-up competition, Hargeisa

15 Nov, 2018– Connecting young entrepreneurs to the ecosystem, Start-up Grind

18 Nov, 2018-Business and start-up competition, Mogadishu

One of the first student from Alpha University who received an internship position.

Hassan is a 25-year-old senior at Alpha University who currently lives in Hargeisa. In his last year, before he graduates while studying accountant and finance he was able to land an internship position with the help of Shaqodoon. Hassan has never had a job neither has he ever worked as an intern. Out of 38 Universities in Somaliland only 1 has an internship program. With hard work and consistency Hassan luckily was able to be the first student from Alpha University to land an internship position.

 

“Being an intern leads you to a shining future because you get inner strength, confidence and self reliance.” Hassan 2017

 

Shaqodoon this year is supporting five local universities in Somaliland to place their students as interns in order to prepare for the real world workplace. Hassan was one of the lucky students Shaqodoon is supporting in 2017. In the month of May 2017 he started as an intern in the department of admin and Finance at the Ministry of Housing and Public Transportation.

 

“My initial plan was to move to another country after I graduate if I’m still unemployed but after gaining experience I changed my mind.” Hassan 2017

 

Hassan dreamed of an opportunity until it came knocking on his door one day. During his internship he received motivations and practical trainings which than gave him a greater level of understanding of how the admin and finance system functions. He really appreciated the placement and enjoyed his time.

 

“ The team I worked in was very friendly and welcoming. I felt that my confidence has improved and this placement has equipped me with the right skills I need for further employment in my graduate field. “ Hassan 2017

Entrepreneurship Training Ceremony

On 2nd of November 2016, a well-organized closing ceremony for entrepreneurship and skills enhancement program for graduated youth, was held in imperial hotel Hargaisa with presence of honourable guests.

Shaqodoon organization with the support of SPARK, trained youth graduates from both University of Hargiesa. (UoH) and Beder International University (BIU) on entrepreneurship program for a period of two weeks. During ceremony officials from the government was invited to participate, Mr. Mohamed Awoow from ministry of Education welcomed and thanked the participants and organizers on behalf of the director general ministry.

Mr. Abdirashid, the Dean of business department of UoH who was among the facilitators and lecturers of this training gave his speech and said “This short training will have positive impact, the future of the student participated and entire youth in the nationwide by reducing youth migrating outside of the country and motivates graduated youth to start their business than risking their lives on Tahrib”

He also added, “From my experience and the trainings outside Somaliland, In relation to the entrepreneurship courses, it gives me a confidence to say, this program will contribute to the future of students who aspire to be entrepreneurs”

Two students who participated the training and attended the event were also given chances to express their feelings, both students explained how this training program impacted their scope of thinking “We are in a better stage than where we were before this training program, and now we have the skills to develop business plans and the best way we can manage our business” one of the students said. “We have the skill to develop business plans, come up with new ideas and utilize our ability” another added.

Shiekh Abi from Beder International University came to the stage and shared his practical experience and life story with graduates, and he said “while I was watching TV in Saudi a young girl at the age of 8 years called the live program by saying I have an idea then the program commentator invited her a special meeting to discuss further with her idea, surprisingly her idea was sold about six million dollar and was added the future senior staffs of the institutions”.

Mr. Ahmed from SPARK briefed the Audience about the objectives of the training where he said ‘’that the aim of this training was to prepare the youth on becoming future entrepreneurs’’.

Finally, director general of the ministry of commerce thanked all the participants and Shaqodoon organization of implementing such sustainable projects in the whole of Somalia and in particular Somalilan, whch enhances job creation, training young graduates and other fruitful activities. He also promised that he will give students special focus by giving them all the assistances they might need in the future.

Somaliland Internship & Apprenticeship Consultative Workshop

A one day jointly organized, consultative workshop on internship and apprenticeship was held at the Ambassador hotel, the workshop main objectives was to promote information sharing among different regions in Somaliland, especially looking at formal employment among youth, disseminate knowledge and on guiding principles of organizations with significant impact; as well as identifying different avenues in designing and implementing youth initiatives.

The workshop brought together ministerial representatives of Somaliland government including ministry of youth, sports and culture, ministry of education and higher studies, employers of Spark and Shaqdoon organization. These organizations shared their most innovative youth employment experiences. Others present were university students, graduates and business community leaders

Shaqodoon representative Mr. Abdiqani diriye highlighted the efforts that Shaqodoon organization is making towards youth employment through their various investments. Some of the key components is connecting youth to potential employers through simple technology services and provision of relevant trainings to equip youths with necessary skills to make them suitable and competitive in the job market. Mr. Diriye also encouraged youth and the business community in general on creating businesses and enrolling institutions/programmes in supporting Shaqodoon & Sparks initiatives, so that employment opportunities are created and local economy similarly improved.

Prior to the workshop, representatives of each organizations including government institutions completed forms on initiatives to promote formal employment among youth. They were also asked to identify innovative experience of proven impact, these information served as the bases for the rounds of presentations and mutual learning exercises.

The workshop methodology, had participatory focus that gave participants the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of pros and cons of the innovative experiences. Each organization had joint facilitation in preparations, conclusions and recommendations for youth employment, internships and apprenticeships plans and strategies.

30 Selected Young Entrepreneurs begin BYB Training in Mogadishu

Launching of Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Training For 30 Youth Entrepreneurs, Shaqodoon Organization in partnership with Kaah Islamic Micro-finance Services [KIMS] and Micro-Dahab successfully launched Entrepreneurship Boot Camp training for thirty youth entrepreneurs in Mogadishu under Youth Enterprise Initiative [YEI on Monday December 14th, 2015 at Hope University compound.