After decades of civil war, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) was established in 2013. Among its mandated functions is to support the Federal Government of Somalia in the areas of peace- and statebuilding.

Akiko Ahl is on deployment from the Folke Bernadotte Academy, the Swedish agency for peace, security and development, to the UNSOM Headquarters in Mogadishu, where she works as stabilization and coordination officer.

Akiko, how would you describe a regular day at work?

– I work within the stabilization team of UNSOM. We support the Somali federal government’s work to establish local administration in all parts of Somalia. It is especially important in areas formerly controlled by the terror group al-Shabaab, now overtaken by the government. I also work on supporting better coordination of international donor support for stabilization activities in Somalia. I conduct field trips to various parts of the country in order to assess the needs of the people, then I pass the information on to the federal government and to the international donors financing different projects.

How does the high-risk environment impact your work?

– The security situation only permits travel in convoys. The lack of security also impacts how I and my colleagues live. We stay at the UN camp next to the airport in Mogadishu, we are not based in the city. We have our own rooms, next to our offices. We are confined to a very restricted space. It is of course a challenging environment, and contact between international representatives and our Somali counterparts becomes limited.

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