Somali authorities have identified the empowerment of women, through greater asset ownership and participation in decision-making processes, as a priority for peace and development. To facilitate the work of responsible authorities to achieve this, UNDP is expanding its work to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment by providing strategic support to relevant Somali stakeholders.
The UNDP Somalia Country Programme Document for 2011-2015 provides a strong foundation through which to mainstream gender across its programming and implement gender specific interventions. To this end, a Gender Unit was set up in the fourth quarter of 2011 to expand UNDP’s gender work; responding directly to the acute challenges faced by Somali women and working in close collaboration with all projects to ensure effective gender mainstreaming within the country office.
UNDP aims to empower Somali women to be able to determine and lead their own agendas, as well as inspire others, and holds leadership training and provides mentoring services to women active in government, civil society and the private sector. Meanwhile, through a wider engagement with young people, communities, and institutions, UNDP boosts efforts to promote gender equality and women’s rights. UNDP works with young men and women to identify positive role models as well as engage influential men and women, such as religious leaders and elders, to take the lead in promoting women’s rights and protecting them against traditional practices such as female genital mutilation.
In all regions, UNDP works with ministries responsible for women’s development to increase women’s representation in political institutions (through advocacy for women’s quotas or implementing already agreed quotas), and to provide advice and technical support to integrate gender equality standards from CEDAW and Security Council resolutions 1325, 1888, and 1889 and other relevant frameworks into national strategic plans and policies. At the same time, UNDP strengthens the capacity of women’s organizations to mobilize and advocate for change around Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and Female Genital Mutilation/Circumcision (FGM/C), as well as assists institutions and authorities to improve their abilities to provide better access to security and justice for women.
UNDP’s economic recovery efforts advocate wider participation and inclusion of women in restoration and recovery activities but also provide equitable opportunities to strengthen employment and other economic activities for women. UNDP also provides scholarships for girls to pursue tertiary education in law and ‘non-traditional’ professions for women, including, for example, engineering, medicine, computer science and others. State authorities draew on technical advice from UNDP to improve the abilities of regional authorities to plan for gender sensitive development and management of natural resources.
Specific areas of UNDP’s engagement include:
• Strengthening women’s leadership capacities to become effective leaders and role models to other women and to society, highlighting on the contributions women can bring to development;