Cabsi La’aan - Without fear by Digital Shelter

In December 2020, Digital Shelter — a nonprofit organisation in Somalia — carried out a crowdsourcing survey asking Somali women to share their experiences of online harassment and abuse on social media and messaging platforms. The data showed women faced everything from having their social media accounts hacked, to receiving indecent images from men and even blackmail. The results from the survey were visualised and turned into a data-driven story and social media campaign, but this approach is not what makes this project ‘unusual’, the data-inspired poetry is.

Somalia has a long tradition of poetry and spoken word, and in order to humanise the data and make it emotionally resonate with the young female audience the creative team collaborated with Zahra Abdihagi Mahamed, an award-winning Somali poet, activist and digital storyteller. Armed with, and inspired by the quantitative and qualitative data insights from the survey Zahra was able to write a powerful data-inspired poem called Cabsi La’aan (Without fear) in Somali and English. The poem was recorded and the audio files complimented by illustrations created by the design team.

The Cabsi La’aan - Without fear project was launched on International Women’s Day in 2021 in Mogadishu where Zahra performed the poem live. The audiovisual data inspired poem was shared and viewed on social media and messaging platforms by thousands women in Somalia.

To experience the data-inspired poem in English visit or in in Somali
To see an example of how the poem was presented on social media you can visit: and

  • Credits
    Abdifatah Hassan Ali, Co-Founder of Digital Shelter, Somalia Abdifatah Ali Mohamud, Director of ICT Programs at Digital Shelter, Somalia Ayan Khalif Abdi, Co-Founder of Digital Shelter, Somalia Joachim Mangilima, Data analyst, Tanzania Reem El Sayed Samy, Designer, Egypt Henar Khater, Data Viz Designer, Egypt Emma Laura Namwanje Kisa, Data Journalist, Kenya Zahra Abdihagi Mahamed, Poet and Storyteller, Somalia Loren Riesenfeld, Developer, United States Elric Wamugu, Development support, Kenya Ella Hollowood, Project Management, Data4Change, UK Michael Brenner, Project Management, Data4Change, Italy
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