Hear Women Worldwide works in partnership with women’s rights organisations in East and North Africa to help women become change makers in their society.
As a result of the election of the February election of Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed in February the UK government hosted the Somalia Conference 2017 in London, with the stated objective: to accelerate progress on security sector reform, build on the international response to the ongoing drought and humanitarian crisis, and agree the new international partnership needed to keep Somalia on course for increased peace and prosperity by 2020. Our director, Deqa Salat, was among the invited participants, along with representatives of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the Presidents of the autonomous Puntland, Somaliland and Galmudug regions and Ahlu Sunnah wal Jamaah (ASWJ). In addition, officials from about 50 governments and from various international organizations took part, including the United Nations, African Union, European Union, World Bank, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States. At this time Deqa was able to meet with the Presidents, and heads of other relevant organisations, to gain support for the project.
As a lead-up to the conference, Hear Women convened a roundtable discussion on Advancing Peace and Security in Somalia: The role of the Somali Diaspora Women. In attendance were members of the Somali diaspora, female role models including serving Somali Parliamentary MPs, diplomats, activists, and members of Somalia’s vibrant civil society. As noted in a blog posted by Suzy Madigan, CARE International UK’s Senior Policy Advisor on Conflict and Humanitarian: Active participation at the event by representatives of the Somalia and UK Governments indicates the political level at which this movement is being noticed.
In order to develop the capacity of women to participate in building peace and security in the country, Hear Women is preparing the Changemakers Project. The objective is to bring young Somalia women into the political process, with the aspiration to prepare them to run in the 2020 national election.
Significant steps have advanced women’s rights in Somalia. In 2012 the Somali parliament accorded women 30% of the parliamentary seats and promised gender equity in its new constitution.
But Somali women still face restrictions imposed by tradition and strict laws. Many have limited freedom, experience daily violence and have no say in the decisions that affect them, nor do they have equal access to healthcare, education, or jobs.
One of the primary reasons for women’s position in Somalia is because their role in the political and decision-making spheres is extremely limited, perpetuating narrow gender based roles and inequalities.
Somalia has extremely high rates of maternal mortality, rape, female genital mutilation and child marriage. Violence against women and girls is common. Some of the most salient statistics include:
Training and Education. The GarGar Foundation for Development centre Mogadishu (Hear Women’s arm in Somalia), has helped to empower Somali women and girls through the provision of training and campaigning in the following areas: rights to an education, economic freedom, participation in decision making mechanisms, work and labour rights, and advocacy against Gender Based Violence.
Specific activities included:
Advocacy. Hear Women also work closely with Garwonet (Gardo Women Organisation Network), a local women’s development and rights’ advocacy consortium of women’s organisations in Gardo in Puntland, Somalia. Working together, Garwonet and Hear Women have implemented a number of community projects in different sectors, including providing advice and training to help women win local elections, and advocating against gender based violence. These activities have helped increase women’s participation in civic and political life, including:
Humanitarian efforts. Hear Women has also provided humanitarian support to children, including sponsoring 100 orphan children and Youth, and distributing WASH and hygiene material to internally displaced persons (IDP) as a result of the Somali conflict.
Morocco is typically hailed as a beacon for women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa, having passed a new Moroccan Family Code six years ago and announced the intention to remove all reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Additionally, Morocco has set ambitious goals for increased access to education and economic participation for women and girls as key strategies for the country’s economic development.
However, underneath all of the positive publicity lies a rather heart-breaking reality for many Moroccan women: recent surveys in Morocco estimated the country’s illiteracy rate to be approximately 55% of all women. Fully 90% of rural women in Morocco are illiterate.
|Adolescent birth rate (births per 1,000 women ages 15-19)||35.8|
|Labour force participation rate, female (% ages 15 and older)||26.5|
|Labour force participation rate, male (% ages 15 and older)||75.8|
|Mean years of schooling, female (years)||3.2|
|Mean years of schooling, male (years)||5.3|
|Population with at least some secondary education, female (% ages 25 and older)||20.7|
|Population with at least some secondary education, male (% ages 25 and older)||30.2|
|Share of seats in parliament (% held by women)||11|
Hear Women works with its partner the ENTRELLES Association to help Moroccan women to attain an equitable position in society. ENTRELLES and Hear Women focus on promoting the economic integration of women and female entrepreneurship in the region Souss Massa. Activities include:
The association is currently developing a strategy on “AmalWay”, which functions with the main objective of promoting women entrepreneurship and creating 3,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2020, through the Women business in Souss Massa.