Creating a Common Agenda for Somali Women: A Conference on Electoral Process in 2016 & beyond
SGEM concluded its #UHiiliHaweenkaCampaign with a big confrence held in Mogadishu on August 15, 2016 in collaboration with Somali Youth Development Network (SOYDEN), and Somali Women Leadership Initiative (SWLI). This conference was historic since its the first Collaborative Conference of its kind between three Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). In the past each organization would do their own conferences. This conference that entitled: Creating a Common Agenda for Somali Women: A Conference on Electoral Process in 2016 and beyond.
The purpose of the conference was to bring some of the women leaders and aspirants together, share their expereinces, and create a common agenda for women moving forward. The conference brought together over 160 participants including women political leaders, aspirant, women organization leaders and other CSO leaders, civil society advocates, experts and political aspirants as well as government agencies including Ministery of Women and Human Rights Development (MWHR leadership, members of the Goodwill Ambassadors, and some regional women ministers who are involved in the advocacy of the 30% quota and representation of women in the electoral process.
In the plenery session, HE Zahra Samatar, Minister of Women & Human Rights Development made the Opening Remarks. She commended the National Leadership Forum (NLF) for endorsing and adopting the 30% quota, and underlined these successful campaign efforts by hard working women including the Goodwill Ambassadors who travelled across the county and achieved this milestone. “Although the communique from NFL is a huge success, follow through and implementation will be required,” emphasized the Honorable Minister.
MP Mariam Arif Gassim, Chair of the Constitution Review Committee of the Federal Parliament of Somalia highlighted the Constitutional rights of women to participate in politics, and it is a discrimination to deny women to participate because of their gender. “We will do everything in our power to get 83 seats in the parliament.” She also emphasized the importance of women to be well versed in the fields of conventional and Islamic laws, and to increase their economic status in order to protect their rights. HE Mariam Arif concluded with a pledge that if reelected, she will work hard to make sure that women’s quota is legislated.
HE Fowzia Yusuf H. Aden, MP & Former Deputy PM & Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke about emerging political parties, the political Party Law and the importance of women’s participation in the political arena. “It is important that women are represented in political parties.”
Ms. Asha Geelle, Chair of Goodwill Ambassador, addressed the audience virtually through conference call from Galkaio, Puntland. ” The 30% quota has been adopted by NLF as a result of the handwork by the Goodwill Ambassadors in collaboration with civil society, today Somali women need to continue their advocacy, bring forward strong candidates, and provide them with technical support” she said.
Batula Sh. Ahmed Gabale, Deputy Chair of Goodwill Ambassadors & Chair of Somali National Women Organization (SNWO) spoke on the Mandate, Actions and Recommendation for the 30% Quota of the Goodwill Ambassadors. She thanked President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud for his leadership on pushing the 30% quota and the strong recommendation of the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT). Ms. Batula pointed out the fact that “For Somalia to succeed, it is critical for women to take their part”.
Zahra Ahmed Koshin, Deputy Executive Director & Programs Manager, SIDRA presented a research paper on 2016 Election in Somalia: The rise of the New Somali Women’s Political Movements
Sheikh Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed addressed Islam and Women Leadership followed by an aftenoon panel discusions. The Panel disussed the Implementation of 2016 Electoral Process, Collaboration & Enhancing the Representation of Women in 2020 and Beyond. Women candidates addressed the Art of Campaigning & Overcoming Resistant Clan Traditions.
The panel was chaired by Hawa Hassan Mohamed, Former Minister of Health. Panelists from left are: Ms. Sagal Bihi, Political Aspirants/Candidate for the 2016 elections; Mrs. Zahra Mohamed Ahmed, Legal Advisor, Somali Women Development Center (SWDC); HE Hawa Hassan Mohamed, former Minister of Health; Hon. Binti Ibrahim, Deputy Minister of Human Rights and Family Affairs, South West State; and Mrs. Asha Omar Mohamoud (Geesdiir), Political Aspirants/Candidates, and former Chair, Somali National Women Organization (SNWO).
Breakout Sessions were held to discuss some of the challenges facing women on their journey for political participation and representation, to support women candidates on how to use the media, putting together an agenda for women after the 2016 elections.
Zainab M. Hassan, SGEM Founder & Chairwoman read a summary of declaration and made the concluding remarks.