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You educate a woman, you educate a whole community, a whole village- Ruth O’niango

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AWEPA’s Report on the Empowerment of Somali Women Programme

April 20, 2017

In an overview on the subject of Empowerment of Somali Women Political Leaders Programme, AWEPA focused on a summary of project achievements until now, and future activities of the programme.

Some of the major achievements as a result of the programme so far include:

  • The National Leadership Forum declaration which focuses on 30% minimum women quota representation in the elections was made possible due to extensive lobbying and advocacy activities supported by the project.

  • There is currently a serious discussion on the role of women in the restoration of peace and reconciliation in Somalia which is attributed to the programme.

  • The Women MPs stand a greater chance to assume the leadership mantle in mobilizing Somali women to demand their rights. Female returnees from the diaspora have actively participated in the planned parliamentary and presidential elections which led to 44% of the Women MPs in both Houses being from the Diaspora.

  • AWEPA has been asked by The Leadership of the House of the People Parliament to help them develop a coherent “Agenda “ for the Women MPs in the new Parliament.

  • Somali Women have been able to grab an increasing percentage of Women Parliamentarians from 12% t0 24% in the House of the People and 24% of the seats in the Upper House. This can be directly attributed to the capacity-building interventions by AWEPA.

  • According to the elections results, a proportionately higher percentage of women MPs (79%) were re-elected compared to about 30% of their male counterparts. This is due to the empowering support provided to the Women MPS through workshops.

  • A clear increase in confidence among Women MPs to stand up and challenge the status quo, as a woman MP announced her candidacy for the Presidency.

Despite the achievements, however, AWEPA also stressed out that there is much work yet to be done, with an extensive overview of activities planned from March through October 2017. Among those are different workshops for women on the role and responsibilities of an MP, in addition to other subjects such as self-empowerment skills, confidence- building, lobbying, advocacy and leadership skills. Additionally, AWEPA plans to provide technical support to the Executive Committee, which is elected by the Somali Women’s Parliamentary Association every two years, in order to develop a five-year draft Strategic Plan and produce a documentary film.