I am Abdirashid Mohamed Dahir and I reside in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I was born in Gardo, a town in northeastern Somalia where I used to study at schools at times when the country was languishing in internecine conflict; nonetheless there was a hope that ‘Somalia will regain its pride and dignity sooner than later’. I have more responsibilities and a lot of dreams to fulfill sometime in the near future, God Willing.
(wow! We love his mentality!... okay back to the interview!)
We are all tasked with making Somalia ‘great again’ and i am convinced this is a visible goal in the pipeline for everyone including me. To be very frank, I am hobbyist in the field of civil engineering. I like cumbersome computations and of course how we can drive a lot from the nature, just imagine and portray in your mind: designing from skyscrapers to condors, roads resting typically on flat terrain through tunnels and unlocking the vast hydropower potential of Somalia. I shouldn’t forget that internationally acclaimed engineers since the field varies by time are role model for me.
What does Hope mean to you?
Hope really means so much. To me anything is possible in Somalia and let’s put faith in our country. Hope in Somalia, means we can live our life without despair. Indeed, in tribute to all, never ever give up on the beautiful country, Somalia.
What Role do Youth play in the development of Somalia?
Youth have a larger role to play in the development. Their entrepreneurial thoughts are vital to our ongoing march to a better Somalia. Youths might have engaged in development initiatives, this continues to bear fruits, for instance look at charitable works, struggle for more prosperous and educated community, they can be volunteers to dwindle illiteracy rate and perhaps they could help us opt for self-reliance.
What motivated you to become a Civil Engineer and How are you using your platform to bring change?
It’s not because civil engineering is one of the highest-paid jobs in Africa or worldwide. I was propelled by the infrastructure sector which has been in shambles as a result of state collapse. I love getting involved in local communities; I want to become an esteemed civil engineer among my people. I am very much indebted to anyone who stood by me in my quest for a promising field and truly I am sure I will get personal endeavors off the ground to improve access to potable water, to alleviate housing crisis, to build new roads free of charge and research on key engineering topics back home.
I extensively use social media to address a cancer that needs to be severed. Mostly, I tweet about tribalism which really kept progress at bay. I couldn’t wait any longer to remain silent about the dirty clan politics and in turn I use my passion for writing to quell chasm of violence through the pen.
What advice can you share with Somali/ Somali diaspora who want to give back?
"It’s time for Somali Diaspora to return and heavily invest in construction industry. Their significant contribution has already been seen and unless their presence is felt, Somalia’s path to full economic recovery will face hurdles."
What are some of your proudest projects/moments so far?
I visited Somalia last summer to work on the geometric design of presidential road in Garowe. Over the course of my stay, I was also part of UN-funded project aimed at offering solutions to drainage problems. Besides, I feel proud of my contribution to the construction of palace and design of one-way four-lane urban roads in the Somali region of Ethiopia. When working in Ethiopia or other East African countries (if you have), do you find it more challenging to perform your work? (Perhaps Some patterns you’ve noticed?(do they lack similar things?)
The only challenge was how owners of projects are indifferent to the dynamic works of civil engineers.
Education is fundamental to ending poverty and Civil engineering plays a significant role. So, how can our governments/communities encourage people to pursue this career so we can successfully bring systematic change?
This profession is not something very easy, but Somalia needs people capable of imparting some striking ideas to others, especially, those schooled about science. Authorities on the ground should build higher education institutions which specialize in technology, reverse brain drain and make wider appeal in the face of economic infrastructure in tatters.
Follow our favorite engineer here! Website: somaliamonitor.blogspot.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/abduresh Twitter: @abdirashiddahir