Eyl is a coastal district; a gruesome one day journey from the capital Garowe due to inaccessible roads. The community of Eyl is isolated from any local or international support and as a result the challenge of minimal social services is quite evident. Eyl, during the peak of piracy, was considered a pirate hub. Nonetheless in fall 2011, the MAVU Team held film forums and conducted a major anti-piracy campaign which ultimately led to Eyl residents evicting pirates. Since then, MAVU has returned to Eyl several times with alternate awareness themes; in each visit, the relationship between MAVU and Eyl residents-a community which is to accustomed to too little or no attention from NGO’s-only continued to grow stronger over time.
In November 2015, there emerged news of the threat of piracy returning to Eyl due to rampant illegal fishing by foreign trawlers. Immediately, the MAVU Team returned to Eyl and neighboring coastal districts for duration of a month to promote awareness on the local consequences and global ramifications of piracy; additionally, the assessment compiled by MAVU was later distributed to local and international stakeholders. Again, in April 2016 the necessity of returning to Eyl in order to combat the major youth challenge of irregular migration (Tahriib) with alternative engagements such as sports and poetry contests became a priority for MAVU. During that activity, the Eyl Secondary School students and community members at a film forum expressed the need for support; in specific, the lack of computers, photocopy machines, printers and internet access for students.
“It’s MAVU that keeps on returning to Eyl. It’s your group that is only concerned with our community. We don’t ever witness or see any form of support from other organizations. So, I urge you to find a way to help our students with basic equipment and books for a library”, stated Maryam Jama Ali at MAVU’s Film Forum.
Following this activity, MAVU returned to Garowe in hopes of mobilizing the necessary basic needs of Eyl Secondary School. Fortunately, the MAVU Team was able to refurbish 4 desktop computers; 1 photocopy machine; 1 printer; additional stationary and accessories. Furthermore, a technical expert accompanied MAVU to Eyl in order to provide the networking and core training to faculty members on June 14th, 2016.
“We returned today with the first of many items of support for Eyl Secondary School. I can assure you that we will continue to play an instrumental role in the development and progress of Eyl. This community has overcome so many challenges; and, I commend you all for your courage, dedication and persistence. Also, we pledge to assist in the costs of electricity and internet services for the school”, stated MAVU Lead Researcher Abdinasir Yusuf.
The Mobile and Audio Visual Unit (MAVU) established in 2010 with partner Interpeace currently serves as the outreach awareness component of Puntland Development Research Center.