Women Decision-Making Participation
The role of Somaliland women in social and economic is on the increase and recognizable to a certain level. However, too limited representation of women in both election and nominative positions because of the nature of clan-based politics, which gives priority to men. This is not only a Somaliland issue but it is a global issue that economics and politics are male dominated and is the reason for the global demand for gender justice and equity on all issues and levels of participation. To address the issue WORDA is one of the LNGOs, Networks, and Activists that rigorously works towards the increase of Somaliland women’s participation and representation at all levels through capacity building of women potential leaders, women political candidates, and women activities. As well as advocating for women to be elected and nominated for positions of government at the local and higher levels.
The Constitution of Somaliland provides the creation and nurturing of a democratic society in which all the citizens have the right to participate in the affairs of their government. Above all, there is limited civic voter education in the general Somaliland communities, particularly rural and semi urban communities. WORDA works towards improving the knowledge of communities on their voter rights and their role as citizens in the elections. Advocacy for inclusive participation of women and ethnic minority people in all decision levels and democratic elections.
Women in Somali society is on the rise with their involvement and contribution to socio-economic development of the country in general and families. However, women face isolation when comes to seeking their rights which is subordinated by male dominated cultural norms. Even the social norms limit the participation of women in decision-making process. The overwhelming population considers gender bias issue as taboo and one that most people would rather not talk about it and that is the major reason gender based violence exists in Somaliland. More seriously, there is a code of silence and phobia particularly for those with no voice. The silence and phobia to reporting abuse is the assumption for protection and keeping dignity and honor for the person and their families in accordance with social norms and values. The preserved norms and values go against basic human rights and efforts addressing and reducing gender-based violence. Perpetrators are left to continue to violate and habitually rape. To make changes towards gender based violence WORDA takes on an advocacy role to promote community awareness and educational initiatives. This is done through the creation of local community Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) response groups. SGBV is a case referral and provides counseling and support to advocate for Anti SGBV policy and law and bring perpetrators to justice.
Female genital mutilation (FGM/C) is a long lasted traditional practice, which existed for centuries, and it exists in different parts of world particularly Africa and Asia. Somaliland is one of the countries that FGM existed historically and nearly every Somaliland girl undergoes (FGM/C) between the ages of six and twelve. About 98 -99% percent of girls in rural and urban have under gone FGM/C also known as SUNNA (cutting partial or all of clitoris or pharaonic which refers cutting the major part of their external genitals and the remaining skin stitched together). (FGM/C) is life threatening for young girls and creates life-long complications on reproduction throughout their life.
(FGM/C) is a national issue and its major focus is to utilize a holistic approach where government and CSOs work together since it is a deep-rooted practice. WORDA is one of the organizations that work towards creating spaces for community dialogues on understanding the problems and complications of FGM/C and put in place agreed measures with family-level FGM/C practice decision-makers for saving and protecting girl child from FGM/C.