In March 2011, WSSP initiated a consultation with its global network of members. We asked our members how we could use our collective strengths to solve real problems on the ground in Somalia. Each year, members of the Somali Diaspora go home to establish schools, businesses and other valuable institutions. Some go home to reacquaint themselves with a country they have missed, while others go back to partake knowledge-transfer activities.
All of these endeavours are praiseworthy in their own right. However, what the consultation highlighted was the unmet need amongst all our members for an initiative that would add real weight by drawing on the unique strengths and reach of WSSP’s global network. Various suggestions were placed on the table, but almost all of the important and practically achievable goals could be grouped into one of the following priority areas: Agriculture, Education or Medicine and Health. After having identified the priority areas, we began a second round of consultations by contacting WSSP members in Somalia and requested for their feedback on the proposed areas. This was important because WSSP believes in empowering people to take ownership rather than dictating to them what their main priority should be. WSSP members in Somalia welcomed the above proposals and the initiative was tentatively called Operation Restore Hope. This was later revised to Operation Restore Home 2012, which was launched in conference on 19th November 2011 at University College of London. The change from ‚Hope‘ to ‚Home‘ reflects the realisation that in order to bring hope back to Somalia, we must first work to restore the basic institutions needed to establish a self-sufficient country. Indeed, without a home, there is no hope.
There is so much knowledge within the Somali Diaspora in each of the above priority areas. Operation Restore Home 2012 aims to mobilise up to a 1000 talented and committed Somali youth to go back to our country in July 2012. The intention is to bring about tangible changes on the ground in each of the above priority areas by pooling the resources of all those involved in the project on the ground and around the world.
WSSP is not naive to presume that this initiative will solve all the problems that exist on the ground in our country. Instead, what it will do is to create the conditions for more incremental changes in the future. Conducting Operation Restore Home 2012 will be a logistical challenge, the likes of which has never been conducted by an organized Somali youth movement before.
This initiative is global, it is large and there will inevitably be a few bumps along the road. However, after two decades of conflict, heartache and displacement, one thing is for sure: inaction is not an option and a thousand-mile journey starts with one step. The success of Operation Restore Home 2012 will be a barometer for the resolve of the Somali community to solve its own affairs. WSSP asks all members of the public, supporters and followers to support Operation Restore Home 2012 by donating what you can and advocating for change. Remember, this is your movement, take the ownership and restore your homeland Somalia.