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Kismayo Friends of the Environment

Kismayo Friends of the Environment youth volunteers clean local beaches to benefit community leisure, fishery cooperatives and the planet.

Photo of Zaila null
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Kismayo Friends of the Environment (KFoE) was started by a group of boys and girls all members of a youth center run by ARC International with support from UNHCR. Decades old environmental neglect and increasing population to the city of Kismayo created the need to care and beautify the local environment. For the youth taking up the initiative of beach cleaning and tree planting across the city is there way of playing a role in the rebuilding of their country and bringing prosperity to a country that has not known peace for many years. The cleanliness of the ocean and its shores is essential, the beach is not only a fascination for beachgoers, but rather a settling grounds and a living space for sea animals. Regardless of whether an individual lives on the shoreline or many miles from the coastline, it is right that we as a whole understand the significant stake we have in a sea that is rich and sound. Trash in the shore and around the ocean affects the health of the people, and the economy of a country. The people in the community are unable to enjoy walking on the shores and the youth can’t enjoy playing soccer barefoot due to the fear of being harmed by the objects hiding in the sand. The youth believe by cleaning the beaches it will yield new tourism revenue whereby people outside of Kismayo and Somalia will enjoy the beautiful shores and be mesmerized by its beauty. For them, they believe the initiative will contribute to creating a healthier beach environment as well as demonstrate the value of protecting and preserving the region’s coastline. With recurring droughts and rapid climate change, if support is provided, young people are willing to working towards creating employment opportunities in the fishery and tourism industries.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our project's beneficiaries are the 300,000 residents and visitors of Kismayo who need to enjoy all three local beaches, 12 local fishing cooperatives who contribute to the fishing sector in Somalia, and mostly one woman run seafood restaurants (fresh fish frying restaurants) and the planet as a whole. ARC International and the local fishery cooperatives partnered up to revive one thriving fishery sector; the sector declined to non-existent over the past two decades. In 2014, ARC engaged local fishermen and for the first time since the civil war, the cooperatives began exporting 50 ton fish fillet per quarters. Lessons learnt from Kismayo area fisheries industry revival program and environmental, coupled with the youth club begin to combine efforts and established volunteer group, an association type from different youth groups, marine experts in the area, all in effort to safeguard the beaches and act as the stewardship of our coastal line and the vast oceanic resources.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Kismayo Friends of the Environment is an idea that is unique in the sense that there has not been one single entity that attempted to clean the beaches in almost thirty years or doing any link between local work which benefit both the locals and the world as this programs benefit both towards the healthy living of the community by having clean, accessible beaches and keeping the ocean clean, thus benefiting the citizens of our planet. While at the same time KFoE do plant trees between the beach and the building adjacent to the beach in an effort to combat coast erosion. Community and individual prosperity is what majority of young people in Somalia seek. The idea encourages the involvement of youth in community service; the youth taking up such services will create a sense of responsibility and instill the drive for the community to prosper.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Majority Adoption: I have expanded the pilot significantly and the program product or service has been adopted by the majority of our intended user base.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

ARC International has worked in Somalia since 2011, the country had been grappling with war for almost 30 years; ARC has been one of the first international organization to provide services in different sectors to the Somali people.

Expertise in sector

  • 5-7 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Prosperity brings peace. Peace has been a rare commodity in Somalia for better part of three decades and the never ending armed conflict has eroded the volunteer spirit. Volunteerism in Somalia contributed to millions taking part in construction of public infrastructures and social betterment movement from literacy campaign to polio eradication efforts during the 1980s and 1970s. Nothing has been added to social and environmental programs ever since but through this project we will change that.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

In Kismayo, Somalia, prosperity has been impacted by the armed conflict that stopped the economic, social and environmental progress. Employment opportunities for the youth disappeared with Insecurity fears. KFoS project will re-establish jobs needed to retain the youth of Somalia locally and help rebuild their country. With the conflict and the drought/famine that occurs in Somalia every few years has caused deforestation and the pollution of the environment. Through the project, the youth will be able to plant trees, clean the environment and help the community prosper. Companies have opened or reopened, and several private actors called this period a “revival”. This economy is very much oriented toward the construction sector (building and rebuilding infrastructure) and retail (answering primary needs). Other basic services, such as electricity, waste management and swater,

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The community in Kismayo consist of a huge number of youth who are willing to take part in any project that will better their community and the society as a whole. The youth at the youth center that is run by ARC are always determined to take part in any project that will help them grow as individuals and at the same time contribute to the society.

Geographic Focus

The idea targets Kismayo, Somalia but we could expand throughout Somalia.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The project would take 2-3 years which includes cleaning up the beaches, and tree planting throughout the city.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of David Ezra Jay

Hello Zaila,
Super cool project and really cool idea.
We would love to offer support to the tree planting aspect of your project. Our project is super easy to get started.

Feel free to connect here or send me an email at

Photo of Zaila null

Hi Ezra!

Thanks for reaching out to us. We really love doing something great for our environment. Thirty years ago, this region was a tourist magnet as the equator passes here. With all sorts of wild life roam the land and there was beautiful protected green area- Lag Badane Nature Reserve-just south west of Kismayo.

We started planting trees for free at a local community housing project in West Kismayo,. Soon after, individuals and groups who run stadiums, schools, worship houses and other public spaces started calling us for trees. With these activities, we were able to inspire more and more young people to become more connected to nature from sea shores to rivers and we asked them to reclaim some clear cut areas and start planting trees. In the last 3 months, volunteer youth groups began to setup plant nursery business and we are just that much encouraged to do more by using their positive energy.

Sure, we can collaborate on the tree planting program. I sent you an email. We can follow up on each other more and exchange ideas. We developed an idea where every 5 adjacent trees planted, we assign a person or a group to be the custodian of the new trees. They take care of it and we pay regular visits to them as much as we can.

Photo of David Ezra Jay

Hi Zaila,
Your project sounds awesome. It is also a great story and one that should be supported. Let's collaborate.
If you can find an android phone, send your planters out with our Tree tracker app. They take pictures and the app sends them to us. We then verify that they are indeed trees and link and our team will help you connect your planters to funding.
To get started you will need some freshly planted trees and access to an Android smartphone.
Looking forward to working with you.

Photo of Zaila null

Hi Ezra,

Thanks again for the awesome encouragements. Tree Tracker is a wonderful and 21st century project.

Consider us signed up. We will engage the youth to just do that-take up their Android phones and get on with the program. They will love it I am sure. It's a great challenge and easy one to accomplish with huge benefits to our planet. Thanks Ezra again.

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