Jan 30, 2012

Somaliland: First Expat Conference In Hargeisa

BIPE was created to provide expatriates significant insights into the country’s culture, history and religion. 

Below is an article published by Somaliland Press

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA) along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) and the Ministry of National Planning and Development (MONPLD) has organized the first workshop of its kind for expatriates working in Somaliland on Thursday (26th January 2012) at Maansoor Hotel. Dubbed as BIPE (Briefing and Induction Program for Expatriates), it was attended by expatriates from various UN, INGOs and private enterprises working in the country to learn more about the history, culture, religion and institutions of Somaliland as well as relevant security issues and priorities for development.

BIPE project was jointly sponsored by the above mentioned trio Ministries who have realized both the importance and the need to organize indigenous briefing and induction training for all expatriates coming to work in Somaliland, so that they become more aware about the people of Somaliland, their history, culture and what makes them different from Somalia. The BIPE seminars will be made mandatory for all expatriates working in the country (be them UN and INGO staffs or employees from other institutions and companies. This would mean that all expatriates who are coming to work in Somaliland ought to book the BIPE workshops and attend the training with a view to make their services responsive to the needs of the people of Somaliland and those issues that are pertinent to their development.

The BIPE training seeks to present both the context of Somaliland’s restoration of its independence from the rest of Somalia and the perspective of its government in terms of institution building, democratization and good governance as well as the priorities for economic growth, sustainable development and social justice. In other words expatriates who attend the BIPE workshops received somewhat desynthesized information in terms of the history, culture, security and political perspectives of Somaliland as opposed to the wider context of Somalia which is what expatriates are given in Nairobi prior to their arrival in Somaliland.

It is expected that after completing the BIPE workshop expatriates will have more understanding about the needs of the people of Somaliland and their services would become more responsive to those needs of the public that they are supposed to be serving in the country. The training is planned to be run once a month in Hargeisa and all expatriates are expected to attend one of the sessions by completing a booking form which can be obtained from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA) or collected with the work permit application form from the Ministry.

The main objectives of the BIPE Seminars are to:

- Make expatriates become more aware of the history of Somaliland and the culture and traditions of its people as well as the country’s natural beauty and the hospitality of its pastoral communities;

- Provide expatriates with the historical perspective of Somaliland’s restoration of its sovereignty from the rest of Somalia in May 1991 while at the same time informing them about the achievements of Somaliland in terms of peace, reconciliation, stability and parliamentary democracy;

- Make them more aware of the country’s strive and efforts towards institutional building and good governance as well as reconstruction and development priorities;

- Provide expatriates with a list of dos and donts which will help them interact with the local population without offending anyone or causing embarrassment or even posing a security risk for themselves;

It is expected that the historical, cultural and political perspectives provided by the BIPE training would give participants with the full context of Somaliland. In the meantime the security information, provided by the BIPE workshops will assist expatriates and visitors to avoid potential security risks during their stay in Somaliland. The combination of the briefing and induction information with the relevant security information will undoubtedly give this project an added value and prove its worthiness as well as how indispensable it could be for the expatriates and visitors coming to work in Somaliland. Finally it is hoped that the participants of the first BIPE workshop will spread the word about the importance of the training and everyone involved is looking forward to see expatriates benefiting from the training and serve the people of Somaliland responsively.

The BIPE workshop has been delivered by Elite Consultancy and Training Agency (ECOTRA), a national consultancy firm which specializes in capacity development, research and training. ECOTRA has successfully prepared an information pack for the BIPE workshop attendants including a Booklet titled “Facts about Somaliland”. ECOTRA expects that its BIPE workshops will help expatriates to discharge their duties and responsibilities properly.

“The more expatriates know about the culture and history of this country the more they will provide better services.” A quotation from one of the most respected elders in Somaliland – Haji Abdi-waraabe