Women leaders in Puntland are trained in political advocacy and campaigningOct 25, 2018
25 October 2018, Garowe. Women leaders from nine regions in Puntland have been trained in political campaigning and gender equality advocacy this month, by the Puntland Ministry of Women’s Development and Family Affairs. The women who took part are aspiring political actors and candidates in the upcoming 2019 Puntland elections.
The training was run over six days in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme with the support of the United Kingdom, and is part of ongoing work by the Government, in collaboration with the UN, to increase the number of qualified women in political positions.
Fifty women took part in the course, where they learned public dialogue and debate, and the political and social rights of women in Somalia to vote and to stand for election. The course also covered campaigning techniques, political lobbying and public speaking skills, and how to better advocate for inclusive representation of women in politics.
Speaking at the opening day of the training, the Puntland Minister of Women’s Development and Family Affairs, Marian Ahmed Ali, said she hoped those taking part would bring their skills back to benefit their communities. “Women’s political participation and leadership is very important in our society. It is crucial to increase the number of qualified and trained women leaders,” she said.
In Somalia, women’s leadership roles are often confined to civil arenas rather than the political level, and Somali women’s participation in national politics and in decision making processes can be hampered by lack of representation in clan authority structures. Progress towards greater inclusivity is being made slowly, however, with women securing 25% of seats in the Federal Parliament in the 2016 electoral process, following extensive advocacy by Somali women's groups with the support of the UN.
Amina Hussein from the Karkaar region, was one of those attending the course in Garowe. She said working with community leaders was important for greater women’s participation in politics. “Women are excluded from clan decision-making, but we want to convince our local community leaders and prove that we as women candidates can do what men can do,” she said.
Sucdi Jama, from the Nugaal region, said that women should know more about how to vote and what their rights are. “Women should exercise their right to vote more consistently. It’s important that we know our rights and are educated to use our votes wisely”, she said.
Following the three day course, the participants agreed as a next step to set up a network for women candidates to promote gender equality, and to work with traditional elders for greater women’s participation in political decision making. The participants also recommended that more leadership and mentorship trainings for women should be carried out across Puntland.
UNDP works in partnership with the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal State Ministries, to increase the participation and leadership role of women in peacebuilding and state-building processes in Somalia, under the UN Joint Programme on Women’s Political Participation, Leadership and Empowerment. The Joint programme is carried out in collaboration with UN Women and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and with the support of the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom.
Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Somalia. Email: email@example.com
Mubarik Mohamoud, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Project Manager, UN Joint Programme on Women's Political Participation, Leadership and Empowerment. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org