Somalia remains on the frontline of climate change, which continues to induce crisis in the country, resulting in widespread displacement, conflict, and other recurrent climate shocks. Women and girls remain the most affected groups in the society. Despite opportunities for Women-Led Organizations (WLOs) in humanitarian actions being limited, they are among the frontline responders in humanitarian crises, leading efforts to deliver essential and lifesaving support to crisis-affected communities.
UN Women in Somalia works closely with the Women Led Organizations and strengthens their capacity to meaningfully engage in gender in humanitarian response. The key focus of this support is to ensure gender considerations in humanitarian decision making, and advocacy for protection and access to services for women and girls at all levels of humanitarian programming and coordination platforms.
Through the Women’s Leadership, Empowerment, Access & Protection (LEAP) project, UN Women partnered with Somali Women’s Development Centre (SWDC) and the Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD) in September 2022. Both SWDC and NAPAD are national non-profit, non-governmental organizations, which have gained recognition for their work in making a difference in the lives of women and girls in Somalia. UN Women’s partnership with these organizations will help in grassroot advocacy on protection and response to GBV, gender equality and women empowerment, peace building and reconciliation, community security and rule of law and access to justice training for women and other vulnerable populations in select districts in Somalia.
The UN Women project Women’s Leadership, Empowerment, Access, and Protection (LEAP) is funded by the Government of Japan and aims at providing focused support to women in IDP camps and host communities through promoting the prevention of COVID-19 infection among women and girls displaced into IDP camps in Somalia, targeting Mogadishu, Kismayo, Baidoa and Garowe. The project also seeks to understand how women’s and girls’ needs and rights can be at the center of short- and long-term global response and recovery and advance women’s peace and security. The overarching objective of the project is to ensure that women and girls refugees/IDPs are directly empowered to mitigate the impact of multiple crises on their livelihoods, protect themselves from exposure to GBV and increase women and girls’ meaningful participation and representation in formal decision-making processes, develop their capacities and knowledge on promoting gender responsive COVID-19 prevention and recovery support among crisis-affected women in Somalia.
The LEAP project is implemented in close coordination with the line ministries including Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development and Ministry of Health, UN, and other humanitarian NGOs. During, the LEAP program inception and launching meeting, Mrs Khadidja Mohamed Diriye, Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, delivered an opening remark at the event in Mogadishu, saying “I am grateful and highly appreciate the work UN Women and SWDC would be doing in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, let us strive towards the success of such programs like LEAP that can make a profound change in our communities’ welfare.”
In Jubaland, Hon. Adar Ismail Abdullahi, Minister of Women, Family Affairs and Human Rights (MoWFAHR), of Juba land State acknowledged the importance of UN Women’s collaboration with SWDC to support the communities on COVID-19 prevention.
“We know it is time to act. More than 2 billion people live in countries affected by fragility, violence, and conflict – most being women and girls. This is unacceptable. We need political visibility and intensified international cooperation to eliminate gender-based violence and protect the health of women and children in humanitarian settings”, said a female community elder from Kismayo who attended the event.
During the induction meeting with the SWDC and NAPAD, Dr Syed Sadiq, the Country Programme Manager, UN Women Somalia appreciated the Government of Japan support and the partnerships of government and NGOs in implementation of the LEAP project, which will enhance women’s equal representation in all COVID-19 response planning and decision making and will target women and girls to address the socio-economic impact of COVID-19.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.