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Sada Mire’s programmes with the Department of Antiquities

Sada Mire
Sada Mire at Daallo Mountains, Somaliland
Dr Sada Mire heads the Department and is responsible for the initiation, implementation and development of the work of this Department and its programmes in the post-conflict reconstruction of the cultural resources of Somaliland. Ms Sada Mire has extensive research expertise on Somali cultural heritage, anthropology and archaeology. In the last five years she has carried out academic research in Eastern Africa through the School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS, and the UCL Institute of Archaeology.

The departmental programmes include the Local Education and Safeguarding Programme (LESP), the Archival Programme (AP), the Archaeological Rescue Project (ARP) and the Public Education and Heritage Awareness Media Programme (PEHAMP). The Department is responsible for the development of the National Museums of Somaliland.

The work of the Department also includes the rebuilding and development of the National Museums and the drafting and enforcing of the National Antiquities Laws of Somaliland.

Local Education and Safeguarding Program (LESP)

The Local Education and Safeguarding Program aims at assisting communities and governmental as well as non-governmental representatives in basic knowledge of significance, protection and preservation of cultural heritage. This program was initiated by Sada Mire and it has proved crucial for the protection of sites and monuments in the regions and the local areas of archaeological significance. The department of Antiquities has recruited local people in the various areas, particularly to safe-guard the most prominent archaeological sites. This program provides capacity building for the Ministry’s staff and communities based in different areas of Somaliland.

Sada Mire gives public presentations to the communities and organises tours around the local archaeological sites. In these presentations, the communities to engage in a debate about their cultural heritage.

Heritage Legislation

Sada Mire drafted a preliminary policy of the Somaliland Archaeological Policy together with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, which was agreed with the Somaliland Parliament and the President. Sada Mire further works on the recognition of international legislation for world heritage by the Somaliland government as well as national antiquities laws.

There needs to be a joined effort in the issue of protection of the national heritage of Somaliland. It calls for all relevant ministries and other governmental and non-governmental national and international agencies. Information sharing and collaboration should also extend to educational institutions such as universities and private sector.

Specially trained police

The local education and safeguarding program (LESP) that helps the community to become aware of the significance of their cultural heritage needs to be supported by a police that is itself knowledgable about prevention of looting and destruction. The need for such a trained police organisation to successfully protect the heritage of the country is paramount. Specially trained police needs to be posted in regions such as Sanaag and Erigaabo and Awdal region, also at the airport in Hargeysa and Eerigabo and at ports cities checking archaeological objects in boats and ships, particularly Sanaag ports.

National Inventory List

The archaeological heritage of Somaliland needs to be protected for the world and should be a part of world heritage. The survey program of the Somaliland Ministry of Tourism and Culture is working on an inventory list of Somaliland cultural heritage including sites and monuments. On this program Ms Mire is working with Mohammed Ali Abdi, survey assistant based in Hargeysa. In Sanaag and Togdheer region she is working with Ahmed Noor Saleh and Hassan Faas respectively. This is an ongoing project.

Heritage Public Education and Awareness Media Programmes

Ms. Mire works with the renowned Somali journalist Ahmed Aar of Somaliland TV among others. She has produced two programmes on the significance of archaeology and cultural heritage management. They aim to communicate the educational and economical possibilities involved the protection, preservation and research of cultural heritage resources and archaeological remains. In these programmes, Ms Mire highlighted the problem of illicit diggings of archaeological sites. She explained the archaeological excavation process to demonstrate the damage being done to archaeological knowledge creation by looters.

Points raised and explained in the two television programmes were:
  • the discipline of archaeology
  • the importance of archaeology to society: possibilities for education, but also problems of misuse of archaeology
  • Possible benefits for the local populations from archaeological sites
  • Problems currently facing Somali heritage and archaeology
  • Measures that stake-holders (governments, communities, business people etc.) need to take to safeguard cultural resources
The programmes dealt with the destruction of the archaeological heritage of the Awdal region. Ms. Mire used two examples: the ruined town of Amud and the rock art site of Dhagah Maroodi in Gabiley, where the rock has been broken demolished to be used as building material for local houses. The programmes were broadcasted by National STV and local Boorama TV during October and December 2007.

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