The Gadabursi community (hereinafter referred to as TOL) is a large Somali constituency inhabiting across several nations and jurisdictions in the Horn of Africa, notably Somaliland, Djibouti, and Ethiopia. It is a community with a rich history, known for its pioneering spirit and leadership in many fields, including education and self-help community development. It is the birth place of self-help community development (Iskaa wax u qabso).
Since independence more than a half century ago, the TOL, like their fellow Somali compatriots, has endured debilitating hardships, both natural and man-made, including war, famine, persistent poverty, environmental degradation, disease, and despair, resulting in a disabling sense of powerlessness that permeates the community. While the organic process of reconciliation, largely engineered by the TOL elders and intellectuals, that resulted in the relative peace and stability enjoyed by Somaliland communities for the past twenty one years gave the community some respite from the ravages of war, it is not enough; the TOL, much like other Somali communities, continues to suffer from severe poverty and under-development.
The problems facing the TOL in the coming years are even more daunting, requiring nothing less than the collective effort and resources of a united TOL.
It is against this backdrop that the TLC decided to organize the first Grand TOL Convention in Borama to bring together delegates from the community’s traditional, intellectual and professional resources from all four TOL domiciles of Somaliland, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the Diaspora. It is an attempt to provide a unifying forum for a serious TOL conversation to take stock of the past, assess the present, and find a way to face the future with the tools necessary to deal with the challenges of a fast-changing world. It aims to reaffirm the unity of the TOL as well as strengthen the binding ties with other communities in Somaliland, Djibouti and Ethiopia of which the TOL is an important and integral part and with which they share deep kinship.