We Can't Change Somalia Overnight, But the Diaspora is One Key to a Lasting Solution

"We want to see progress and lasting change" says Abdi Osman Jama from Helsinki/ Finland, adding that "QUESTS-MIDA provides excellent opportunities for qualified Somalis like myself to contribute to this process". This is why Mr. Jama plans to take leave from his professional engagements and return to Somalia in 2010 as part of the QUESTS-MIDA project.

His vision is to apply his skills and knowledge in strategic planning and leadership training in order to improve Somali public institutions' capacity to deliver services: "QUESTS-MIDA is important because it targets Somali institutions of government; if the public administration works efficiently, this creates a reliable foundation for a whole range of activities with an impact on the lives and well-being of all citizens."

Having left Somali some 19 years ago, Mr Jama lived in Qatar and Russia before settling in Finland, where he completed his university education with a BA course in engineering, followed by a MA degree in industrial management. At thirty-six years of age, he currently works as a lecturer and consultant in the field of enterprise architecture and development in Finland, as well as in various international projects. One of the most important skills in his job, Mr Jama explains, is the ability to positively influence people's mind-sets to bring about change.

He thinks that "this skill will be very helpful for capacity-building assignments in today's Somalia, which suffers from brain-drain and the lack of up-to-date knowledge in so many areas." In addition to his professional engagements, Mr Jama is also an active member of the Somali diaspora and supports civil society organizations in both Finland and Somalia, for example, by giving advice on organizational development and management performance improvement. Not least through this voluntary involvement in Somali affairs he has come to realize the vast potential of the diaspora's contribution to rebuilding Somalia: "Many of us Somalis in the diaspora have excellent qualifications and at the same time a great motivation to help people back home in Somalia. The combination of these two factors through projects such as QUESTS-MIDA means that we can make a real difference".