Somaliland:TEDxHargeisa: 1 Year, 1 Month and 1 Day



By Khadija Abdillahi Sheikh

A TEDx event is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and videos previously recorded at TED conferences are shared with the community. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. TEDx Hargeisa is an independent TEDx event operating under license from TED.

It’s been 1 Year, 1 Month & 1 Day since we had the first conversation about TEDx Hargeisa. We wondered if we could bring the TEDx experience to our city. We planned it, applied & successfully obtained the license.

Immediately, we started searching for like-minded individuals who could get the job done. And we’ve assembled the most creative and resourceful group of volunteers. We met regularly and we had many brainstorming sessions to define the theme and to choose the speakers, the TEDx Manual was of great help to us in the planning process, we studied it and memorized parts of it. We have used our expertise and skills in our respective fields in planning TEDx Hargeisa. Whether one was a graphic designer, IT specialist, photographer, or social media expert, everyone added something to the process. Eventually, we assigned each organizer with a specific role and each had tasks to be completed by a deadline, these tasks were assigned by the team leader and followed up by coordinators.

We had to overcome many obstacles; the biggest was sponsorship and funding; no one knew what TEDx Hargeisa was and we had to brief each potential sponsor about it every time. We had our printed sponsorship kit in hand and The “What is TED and TEDx’’ videos on our laptops, it took a lot of our time, we needed perseverance, we kept reminding each other that what we have is something undeniably productive and that someone will help us bring this event to light.

Before we found our sponsors we had to contribute to the process from our own money. The TEDx Hargeisa props that brought the stage to life was built and designed by one of the organizers, an extremely talented organizer. The TEDx Hargeisa Promo Video was developed, shot, funded and produced by the organizers. There were many sleepless nights, and sometimes a lot of walking; to avoid traffic delays or from the lack of transportation, the Event Day Manager and our two coordinators did MOST of the walking. There was also time away from our families; since we are all employed we had to spend our free time and weekends working on the event. We’ve put a lot of time and energy in organizing and if it weren’t for our families support, patience and guidance it would not had been possible. Thank you to them. There were moments where we felt stressed but thankfully we found dedicated sponsors and volunteers who were willing to believe in us.


Our theme: New Will New Way reflect the spirit of our people today. When you look back, you should not be held prisoner to your past, look forward, look for hope, look for a new will and create a new way. We wanted to start a conversation, to create a platform where our people can exchange ideas and knowledge.

It’s been 1 Year, 1 Month and 1 Day and we were streaming live on the event day to hundreds of thousands around the world. The event was a big success! and we have received overwhelming reviews from followers from around the world. The support that we received from our community was heartwarming. Organizing this event was a transformative and fulfilling experience for all of us. Would we do it all over again? Yes!



Event Date: 02.04.2015 Venue: Ambassador Hotel – Hargeisa

Team #TEDxHargeisa:

  1. Omar Othman – Curator, Lead Organizer
  2. Khadija Abdillahi Sheikh – Team Leader
  3. Zainab Abdillahi Sheikh – Event Day Manager
  4. Fathia Ali Abdullah – Speakers Management
  5. Mustafe Ibrahim Sheikh – Coordinator
  6. Abdulhakim Ahmed Awale (Libah) – Coordinator
  7. Yousuf Mohamed Adam -Sponsorship and Funding


  1. Ahmed Ibrahim Awale. Talk:  Somaliland Natural Resources.
  2. Farha Abdirahman Yousef.  Talk: Volunteering For a Better Life.
  3. Hibaq Abdillahi Saed. Talk: Building Bridges between Social Work and Social Media.
  4. Dr. Edna Adan. Talk: The Importance of Education.
  5. Dr. Abdillahi Sheikh M Walaaleye. Talk: Fixing the Hijri Lunar Calendar for Good.
  6. Yaxye Yeebaash. Poetry
  7. Fadumo Bihi. Talk: Disability Is Not Inability.
  8. Mohamed Omar. Talk: Pioneering Life Coaching In Somaliland.


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