Strengthening Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Somalia (GEWE)

What is the Project About

 gender somalia

This project updates the first GEWE Project (2012 – 2014) and builds on its achievements to address gender imbalances in Somali society and respond to the acute challenges faced by Somali women today. The project  aims at strengthening women’s representation and participation in public decision-making processes rendering them more inclusive; engaging community structures to transform negative traditions which limit women’s and girls’ rights; and addressing challenges of limited capacity and insecurity all of which adversely affect women’s ability to voice out their concerns, put forward their agenda, negotiate their interests, claim their rightful space in society and enhance their access to resources and opportunities.

The project will leverage on partnerships built with ministries of government, other governing institutions and CSOs to promote legal and policy reforms that eliminate structural barriers to gender equality and put in place policies to empower women and girls. To achieve these aims, the project will substantially contribute to four critical priorities identified through comprehensive consultations with the Somali Federal government (MoWHRD), Somaliland and Puntland government authorities as well as CSOs and gender equality advocates nation-wide. The priorities are: 1) women’s participation and representation in decision making and peace building; 2) increasing economic opportunities for women; 3) preventing and reducing SGBV and harmful traditional practices; and 4) gender-responsive legal and policy frameworks.

Expected Outputs

The four key expected outputs of the project are as follows:
•    Increased participation and representation of women in politics, peace building and decision making;
•    Increased economic opportunities for women;
•    Measures implemented to prevent SGBV and reduce the prevalence of harmful traditional practices against women and girls; especially FGM; Women supported by appropriately designed,
•    Women supported by appropriately designed, Implemented and enforced legal and policy frameworks in line with CEDAW, the Maputo Protocol and Security Council

What We Have Accomplished

In 2015, the ‘Strengthening Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment’ (GEWE) Project made significant contributions to advancing gender equality in Somalia. These efforts were as recognized at the global level as the country Office (CO) was lauded for showing gender transformative results its standalone programme and for feasibly mainstreaming gender into its overall programming portfolio.  Somalia CO was formally awarded a High Silver in the Gender Seal1.  This put the CO amongst the six highest performing UNDP Country Offices in the certification process.   

The project played an important role in keeping gender in the spotlight during strategic national deliberations on shaping the future political structures in Somalia.. As a result of several rounds of high level consultations on the electoral model, a commendable step was taken by the Federal Government (FGS) in deciding on an electoral model which included 30 per cent reserved seats for women in both Houses of Parliament. Women’s groups and advocates were mobilized and supported to ensure that this decision is translated into actual commitments and concrete actions. 

President of Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) appointed 13-member (7W: 6M) Goodwill Ambassadors (GwA) to advocate for the realization of the 30% of women’s reserved seats in Somalia.  The project provided both technical expertise and resources to government and civil society organizations towards these efforts.

Below are region-based updates and selected achievements realized in this reporting period:

- At federal level, a joint UN approach on Gender and constitution review was initiated. The objective of the approach was to provide support to ensure gender equality and women's rights issues (including quota) are adequately addressed in the review exercise.

- One gender sensitive electoral policy in place at federal level. The National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) law approved on 11 February 2015 reserved two seats for women in a nine-member commission. Subsequently, a woman was appointed as the chairperson of the NIEC

- Against the target of 150, a total of 346 (186 SL and 160 PL) women political aspirants were identified and trained in leadership, advocacy and political campaigning by MOLSA and FAWESOM. MoWDAFA also identified 30 potential women candidates from 5 regions in Puntland.   

- The revised draft Somaliland House of Representatives Law reserved (10%) seats for women. The revised draft Law was publicly consulted and CSOs and women groups have intensified advocacy to generate support for its passage. The revised bill was planned to be submitted to the parliament for discussion in December however this has been delayed because of other political issues that has not yet been agreed.

- Twenty-Nine (29) media professionals (11W; 18M) from across Somalia were trained on gender sensitive reporting. The training equipped journalists and media houses with a better understanding of gender equality issues in media reporting and strengthened their ability to investigate and develop stories that are responsive to gender and women’s issues.

- Employability of young women enhanced through provision of trainings and scholarships for tertiary education to produce cadre of women professionals that are competitive in the world of work. 58 young women provided tertiary scholarship are successfully studying different courses in Puntland and Somaliland.  

- Both the Federal level and Puntland governments adopted FGM policies. Dissemination of the approved policies is an essential approach for an effective implementation.  

- In Somaliland, the FGM policy is being finalized with the MOLSA embedded consultant by UNDP at the center stage of the review process. Under the auspices of the GEWE project, Network Against FGM in Somaliland (NAFIS) project is advocating for the criminalization of GBV and particularly FGM.

- Total of 3,652 people (2,458W; 1194M) participated in the Community conversation sessions focusing on Gender Based Violence (GBV). Radical attitudinal changes towards FGM/GBV and women rights were recorded. Community Conversation has proved an effective tool and vehicle for positive attitudinal changes as recognized by the project Board and revealed in the third party monitoring report.

Donor Resources

GEWE (2016)

Total amount

USD 2,081,978


USD 59,970.00


USD 868,071.00


USD 1097,778.00     

Resources to mobilize:

USD 56,160.00



2015 USD 2,014,344
2014 USD 2,084,068
2013 USD 1,398,137
2012 USD 762,615
2011 USD 35,260


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