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

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Supporting Legislative Institutions in Somalia

As part of its programme in Somalia, AWEPA strives to empower women parliamentarians to champion gender equality issues. Photo: Frank KeillorFlickr

As part of its programme in Somalia, AWEPA strives to empower women parliamentarians to champion gender equality issues. Photo: Frank KeillorFlickr

Background

AWEPA has been involved in the capacity building of Somalia’s legislative institutions since 2002, when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the Speaker of the National Transitional Parliament. In 2006 and 2007, the programme was extended to the regional Parliaments of Somaliland and Puntland, respectively. The current programme with the Federal Parliament (the House of the People) was initiated through an MoU signed with the Speaker in August 2012.

AWEPA’s programme in Somalia centres around the overall mission to improve human security, strengthen the state of law and decrease structural poverty in Somalia, through participatory leadership, good governance, accountability and improved service delivery underpinned by effective legislatures.

Objectives

AWEPA’s activities served the specific objective of assisting the legislative entities concerned (House of the People, Federal Parliament, Houses of Assembly in Somaliland and Parliament of Puntland) to further develop their capacity to respond to the challenges they face in performing their legislative, oversight and representative functions. The programme’s specific objectives also include supporting the legislative institutions to perform their constitutional duty of building a new Somalia founded on the principles of good governance.

The programme focused on building the capacities of parliamentary officials and staff; strengthening parliamentary administrative structures and systems; enhancing the effectiveness of the committee system and operations; supporting parliamentary public outreach and oversight; strengthening compliance to legislative procedures and practices; providing direct technical support to the Speaker of the Federal Parliament; and empowering women parliamentarians to champion gender-equality issues.

Example of activities

Activities implemented during 2015 and 2016 include:

  • Training, provided to parliamentarians and parliamentary staff, in committee systems and operations, the budget process, the legislative process, and effective parliamentary outreach and oversight,
  • Training, provided to parliamentary staff, in plenary and committee operations, minute-taking and report writing;
  • Training in library, records and archiving management for Archives Department staff;
  • Training in human resource  and performance management
  • Training in management of plenary records (Hansard)
  • Training in information and communication technologies and language proficiency skills;
  • Training in digitalisation of parliamentary records and processes;
  • Training, provided to women parliamentarians, in gender-awareness and empowerment, leadership and confidence-building skills;
  • Financial support, provided to staff wishing to upgrade their academic qualifications through university education;
  • Drafting of technical papers, such as private members’ bills, motions and resolutions;
  • Construction of a Resource Centre (Parliamentary Corridor) where members of both chambers of the Somaliland Parliament can meet and discuss matters of mutual benefit and lobby for certain leadership concerns.
  • Facilitating periodic joint strategic planning sessions for the leadership of the National Federal Parliament and implementing partners to prioritize legislative business and assign responsibility for technical support.
  • Facilitating a strategic retreat between the leadership of the Federal Parliament and the State Assemblies to reflect on the options to unresolved political questions.
  • Providing on going technical support to  the Office of the Speaker.

Impacts

The activities implemented  continue to contribute to the following general results areas:

  • Increase in knowledge and skills amongst the Members and Staff of the House of Elders and the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Somaliland and the House of the People of the National Federal Parliament with a view to performing their legislative, oversight and representation responsibilities;
  • Increase in oversight exercised by the National Federal Parliament and the Parliaments of Somaliland and Puntland over their respective governments. As a consequence, these governments are increasingly accountable to their citizens;
  • The ability of citizens of Somaliland, Puntland and South- Central Somalia to influence the way they are represented through access to parliamentary information and consultation;
  • Increased levels of parliamentary democracy in Somaliland, Puntland and South–Central Somalia arising out of greater compliance with accepted  parliamentary rules, ethics,  customs and principles;
  • The enactment of quality legislation critical to the development of Somalia enacted
  • The empowerment of MPs to provide leadership and remain accountable to the people of Somalia.

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