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Somalis are Getting Organized and Bootstrapping their Way Out of Crises

In a country that has endured three decades of chaos — from extremist attacks and environmental crises — the responders, medics, road-builders and educators are often not government workers, but young volunteers. Somalia’s government has made some strides toward developing the economy, reforming state institutions and improving security. Yet the country’s progress has been undermined by rampant corruption, the government’s tight resources and limited presence across the country, as well as a political stalemate between the central government and federal member states. For young people trying to build the nation’s future, the prospects for change sometimes look bleak. This independent spirit was amplified after militants with the Shabab, a terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, surrendered control of Mogadishu in 2011, effectively leaving the capital in the hands of an internationally-backed but weak government that has often been unable to secure the capital, much less the country.