Ugaaso Abukar Boocow surely understands the power of images—and the astounding influence of social media.
Boocow, 27, who works for the Ministry of Reconstruction in Somalia, is using the combined power of images and Instagram to attempt to change the world’s perception of her homeland.
When Somalia makes international headlines, it’s almost always for something negative and catastrophic. In recent years it has been the country’s two-decades long civil war and the violent attacks by militants, usually attached to thee. The result is a one-dimensional image in the international mind of suffering people living in a long-suffering land.
But Boocow wants the world to know that her land contains great beauty. With a vast collection of more than 500 pictures posted to her Instagram account, Boocow has become a one-woman public relations campaign.
With her own stunning looks and the irrepressible use of selfies, Boocow makes it clear that Somalia’s beauty starts at home. In addition to many images of her lovely face, her Instagram account is filled with shots of sumptuous Somali dishes, white sand beaches, palm trees gently swaying in the afternoon breeze, gorgeous architecture, and colorful foliage. Nowhere is there violence and bloodshed.
From the perspective of her pictures, this nation of 10.5 million that hugs the eastern coast of Africa looks more like a tropical paradise.
“Although devastated by the war, the future of my country is very promising. We are living in an era when social media is a reliable source of information. And it’s fast! So, I’ve taken the opportunity to show the story of a human and pleasant side of Somalia,” Boocow told Le Monde.
She describes herself on Instagram as “Artistic Director of Ugaaso Media Group. Writer. Storyteller. Trilingual. Happily married.”
She has more than 74,000 followers—and growing.