Voice of America is giving young Somali listeners a new platform for exploring social issues and getting the latest news along with music and technology features.
The 30-minute daily radio program Dhalinyarada Maanta [“Today’s Youth”] debuted with hosts Falastin A. Iman and Ismail H. Mohamed discussing the Paris climate conference and Somali’s Prime Minister working to end factional fighting. When a listener asked for advice about applying to university, the show brought on air a Mogadishu professor to explain how to choose an area of study.
“VOA’s Somali Service continues to make an impact,” says VOA Africa Division Director Negussie Mengesha. “With this interactive program we are set to reach millions of Somali youth discussing their concerns in life and showing hope and opportunity instead of despair and extremism.”
The show provides a forum for issues on social media – such as marriage and migration – as well as a talent segment during which listeners recite original poetry and sing traditional songs, all building on the strong oral foundations of Somali life at a time when nearly two-thirds of Africans are under the age of 30.
“VOA is one of the Somali-speaking international stations which Somalis listen to a lot,” Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on a visit to VOA offices in Washington. “A testament to its importance as a source of information for Somalis is the fact the Somali government allowed the national radio station to rebroadcast VOA programs. It is a proof that listeners see VOA as a trusted source of reliable information.”
VOA reaches Somalia and neighboring countries on AM, FM, shortwave radio, television, the Internet, and through mobile devices.