As part of our regional campaign on addressing the marginalization of urban women in the informal economy, and with support from the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) , SIHA Network – Somaliland convened a stakeholder forum inviting SIHA’s member organizations, representatives from the women’s movement, feminists, gender activists, academia, women street vendor leaders, youth organizations and university students and the SIHA member organizations, other CBOs to dialogue with the relevant government institutions and development partners on the issues surrounding urban poor women within the informal sector (women street vendors). Also present at the meeting were the Director of Family, Gender and Social Affairs who encouraged women to elect counsel lots based on competency and not clan, and to hold those they elect accountable for their promises. She was also joined by the Communications and Public relations officer from Ministry of Justice who detailed the demands of the women street vendor leaders, present.
The objective of meeting was to discuss and disseminate policy recommendations that aim to improve the working conditions of urban poor women (street vendors) and at the same time speak to suggested policy options that could be beneficial to them through provision of more opportunities.
The agreed-upon recommendations carved out of this stakeholder engagement will lay basis for subsequent conversations and meetings with specific policy-makers in Hargeisa Somaliland.
One of the women street vendor leaders spoke to about how uncoordinated they were before SIHA’s intervention and now, were better placed to accumulate savings and organize as a strong women’s constituency.
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The project in support of the rights of marginalized women working in the informal economy in Kampala and Hargeisa, advocates for an end to domestic laws that discriminate and violate the rights of the urban poor women and empower these women to increase their access to decision making and participation in the political arena. The project also advocates for opportunities for urban poor women to access resources to support their livelihoods and build the women street vendors’ organisational, networking and leadership skills giving them a stronger voice to advocate for their rights and dignity. With this, it has been realized throughout the tenure of the project that advocacy is one of the drivers to seeing the changes in the laws that keep the women marginalized in the informal economy.