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Maritime Technical Skills Transfer for Somali Youth at Berbera Port Mustafa Ahmed in Somaliland

Rotterdam is a major logistic, economic centre and Europe’s largest port. It is also the city in which Mustafa Ahmed became Captain and a highly qualified Dutch Master Mariner with more than 16 years of maritime experience. His Somali roots pulled him towards the CD4D project to contribute to his native Somaliland. More specifically, he transferred his skills and knowledge to experts at the Port of Berbera, the commercial capital of Somaliland. To discover Mustafa’s experience in his own words, please continue reading.

To respond to the maritime and marine knowledge demands in Somaliland, I decided to complete an assignment at the Ministry of Fishery and Agriculture and the Berbera Maritime Fishery Academy. The country bolsters a largely young population, but along with the fishery community, they have insufficient fishing skills and need to be trained in modern fishing systems to increase the fishing production generally.

After a warm welcome and good hospitality, I was happy to meet the well-prepared stakeholders of the CD4D project in Berbera. The city offers many commercial opportunities, and in fact, Somaliland boasts a long coast line which is approximately 740 kilometres. In August 2018, a new tug boat arrived at theBerbera Port. Once the operation started, academy students were trained on the navigation devices on board such as the radar, GPS and magnetic compass.

“During my assignment, I trained staff in the areas of coastal navigation, hygiene, collision regulations, and chart work.

What I enjoyed most was to work different kinds of people at the Fishing School, the Port and Ministry Office because they were ambitious to learn, improve and grow in their professional positions. It gave me a sense of fulfillment to be able to contribute to their practical knowledge while also being a mentor to them.

However, it was not easy. After my first assignment for the period of 3 months, it was difficult to adjust to the socio-cultural norms as well as the Somali working culture and attitudes.

It took me a while to observe and understand how they communicate, collaborate and learn. But now after 6 months working with the local officials here, I can say I have found the right approach to facilitate knowledge transfer and change attitudes.

“I realized the positive impact of my work through the practical approach that my trainees have adapted.”

www.connectingdiaspora.org

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