Somalis; break cultural norms to find soulmate on online app

A new dating app has been wildly successful in Somalia. But in this conservative Muslim society in the Horn of Africa, Guurdoon isn’t a new Tinder for scaling conquests: it’s aimed at finding a soulmate to start a family.

Launched in October 2022, the app already has tens of thousands of subscribers, according to the founders.
On “Guurdoon” (“marriage search” in Somali), we don’t “swipe” profiles or photos right or left, like we do on the western apps Tinder or Bumble.

You must first answer a series of questions such as “Choose a profile you like: 1. Single 2. Widow”, or “Are you looking for someone with a job?” Depending on the answers provided, profiles will then be suggested.

Rahma Hussein does not regret paying 23,000 Somali shillings (less than a euro on the black currency market) to access the app. “It works great, It’s very easy to use,” the 23-year-old nurse told AFP. “It’s less difficult than meeting strangers.

When you’re interacting with someone online, you can ask them all the questions you want and make sure they’re the right fit for you before you even meet them. “, she laughed.

Abdifatah Adan Tuktuk driver in the capital Mogadishu, uses it. “I entered the traits that I wanted to find in my partner and the app gave me about eight people,” explains the young man: “I just have to decide and choose one person. .”

Strengthening Marriage

The application was created by the association Guryosamo, founded in 2012 to encourage marriage and help young people who want to get married but do not have the financial means to do so, in this poor country suffering from poverty ravaged by civil war following the fall of dictator Siad Barré in 1991, and is still affected today by an uprising by radical Muslim shebabs.

“Everything that society needs has collapsed, including the family, which is its backbone Director Ahmed Abshir Geedi said, He added: “Today, we have big problems with marriage. Our young people rush to get married and then immediately divorce.”

Meetings with religious leaders, elders, and scholars on the subject gave rise to the idea of Guurdoon.
“We understand the need to foster a platform where people of all ages can meet and find each other as partners because our young people today mainly use use social networks”.

But in this traditional 99% Muslim society, “this app is something completely new and some people feel confused using it”, admits Ahmed Abshir Geedi.

My Parents don’t Know” –

Abdifatah Adan talked about it with his mother, who laughed at him. “She told me it was easy to trick someone with technology,” he said. Rahma Hussein only uses the app when she is with friends who are also registered.

In the family, she only mentioned her brother. “My parents are not a well, I wouldn’t tell them I’m dating a man or looking for someone online because of cultural norms,” she explains.

37-year-old Mohamed Yasin, was not interested before downloading the app. “We are a society that values religion and its cultural norms, and internet platforms like this can violate those values because the concept of dating apps comes from the West, ” he explained.

He eventually made the leap in hopes of finding a new wife.

But research brings doubts, as is the case with Western apps. “It seems to me that most people lie about their personal information,” said undaunted user Muhidin Abdinur from Mogadishu: “My intentions are good so I am sure I will get a match’.

Even if I don’t find a suitable partner that I will eventually marry, it will help me gain more experience in matters of seduction.”



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