MAKE HER VISIBLE: CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION ADVICE IS BLIND TO THE REALITIES OF THE WOMEN OF SOMALILAND’S INFORMAL ECONOMY
The latest global warnings and protection guidance regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been, in our view, largely a conversation among the privileged. The risk mitigation afforded by these prevention measures leaves out those who do not have access or only have limited access to 1) information 2) sanitizers/disinfectants, and 3) soap and clean water. These global proclamations further show a callous indifference to the fact that much of the world’s population lives in a state of precarity which does not permit them to continue to access food and an income in the event of widespread public shutdown. In Somaliland, a national COVID-19 prevention committee established by President Muse Bihi Abdi has closed schools, banned public gatherings and restricted travel. If complementary measures are not taken alongside the implementation of increasingly strict social distancing measures, informal laborers, who are mostly women in Somaliland, will face dire threats to their livelihoods.
Through our work with informal laborers in Somaliland, primarily women who work as market and street vendors, we have seen first-hand both the degree of adversity they face and the level of contribution they make to their families and to their national economies at large. In light of the spread of COVID-19, we are very concerned about women street vendors, domestic workers, all other women in the highly diverse but often invisible informal economy across the country. Most of these women are the heads of their household, either because they are widowed, divorced, or their husband is unwilling to work as a vendor and cannot access other employment. Their lack of formal employment protections means that they do not have sick leave, access to institutionalized loan services or unemployment assistance, and that they are much more likely to be subjected to exploitation. Testimonies from SIHA’s work in Somaliland indicate that women street and market vendors are routinely forced to pay unduly high taxes, this despite the fact that most of these women can only expect to take home roughly 2 USD each day they work. Their small and entirely unprotected earnings make women in the informal economy highly vulnerable to even the smallest economic shocks. Thus, in the context of COVID-19, these women are at great risk of losing their livelihoods completely if virus containment measures result in a reduction of customers or inflation of essential goods prices. These factors are compounded by the fact that the women work in an environment that is characterized by congestion, poor sanitation and limited access to toilets, water and soap/sanitizers. The personal risk of infection faced by these women is further increased because they predominantly live in overcrowded urban or sub-urban slums and because the intersection of food shortage and culturally entrenched preferential treatment of men and boys means that these women are chronically under-nourished, and thereby have lower autoimmune defenses.
Based on this, we urge President Muse to take immediate action to protect women working in Somaliland’s informal economy. Specifically, we would like to make the following recommendations to the President, the national committee for the prevention of COVID 19, as well as all Somaliland government ministries, and international aid agencies working in Somaliland:
- The Ministry of Health, National Disaster Preparedness and Food Reserve Authority, Ministry of Water development, Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Family, Ministry of Information Awareness and Culture and Local governments must develop and invest in public health education campaigns, particularly via radio, that are furnished with accurate and up-to-date information.
- These increased awareness campaigns must be made accessible to urban slum communities and must tailor their prevention and protection guidance to what is feasible and available in the local context.
- Local government authorities must construct clean water points in marketplaces and other strategic areas. These water points must include soap/sanitizers and establish safe hygiene mechanisms which can be accessed by women in the informal economy as well as their customers.
- The National Disaster Preparedness and Food Reserve Authority must develop a comprehensive food distribution plan to ensure that women in the informal economy are not faced with insufficient access to food due to the impacts of COVID-19.
- The Ministry of Health should work with the city authorities to train and equip women street and market vendors as community health ambassadors to distribute sanitizers and health information and provide them with fair compensation for their contributions.
- The Republic of Somaliland should immediately implement the conditional release of detained women, particularly pregnant women and women with children, who have not committed violent offenses, and ensure that all detention, prison, and law enforcement facilities and offices make sanitizer and/or soap with water continuously available to all prisoners, personnel, and visitors.
Under no circumstances should urban poor communities be subjected to further marginalization through measures which stigmatize and harm them, such as forced community-wide quarantines which cut people off from access to food, water, medicines and other basic necessities.
COVID-19, Waxay dhamaan xidheen dugsiyadda dalka dhamantood, waxaa ay sidoo kale mamnuuceen isu imaantinka dadweynaha, sidoo kale waxay xanibeen safaradda. Haddii aan tallaabooyin wadda jira laga qaadin kuwaas oo ay wehelinayso hirgelinta tallaabooyinka in kala joogaynta bulshada inay isku soo dhawadaan, shaqallaha ka shaqeeya qaybta dadban ee ganacsiga, gaar ahaan haweenka reer Somaliland, waxay la kulmi doonan halis soo wajahda noloshooda.
Annaga oo ka wada shaqeynayna shaqaalaha dadbaan ee ku nool Somaliland, gaar ahaan haweenka ka shaqeeya suuqyadda, ee ku ganacsada waddooyinka, waxaan markii ugu horreysay aragnay heerka dhibaatada soo foodsartay iyo doorka ay ka ciyaaran qoysaskooda iyo dhaqaalahooda guud. Marka la eego faaafintaanka caabuqa korona 19, waxaan aad iyo aad uga walaacsanahay haweenka ku ganacsada waddooyinka, shaqaalaha guryaha, dhamaan haweenka kale ee kala duwaan ee ganacsiga kale leh, balse aan muuqan.
Haweenkan badankoodu waxay ay masuul ka yihiin guryahooda, ama waa haween carmal ah, ama agoon haysta, sidoo kale waxa ku jiraa haween aan ninkoodu shaqo hayn oo bila camal ah, ama shaqadda ay Hayaan aan qaban Karin. Madama anay ahayn shaqaale rasmi ah, macnaheedu waxay tahay in aanay lahayn fasax buukaan, mana helaan adeegyada amaahda, Hay’addaha ama gargarka shaqo la’aanta, waxay aad ugu badan yihin in laga faa’iideysto.
Cilimi baadhistii ay samaysa xafiska Somaliland ee Hay’adda SIHA, Waxay muujineysaa in haweenka ku ganacsada waddooyinka suuqayada in sii caadi ah loogu qasbo inay bixiyaan canshuur aad u sarreysa, sidda xaqiiqda ah dumerkaas badan koodu waxay filayaan inay guurigooda u qaataan 2 Dollar oo kaliyaa malin kasta oo ay shaqaystaan.
Dakhligooda aad ka u yar ee aan walibaa ilaashanayn, iyo dhaqallahoodaas aan rasmiga ahayn wuxuu ka dhigayaa haweenka inay u nugul yihiin iyo inay ku dhacan in dhaqalahoodas yar uu burburo. Hadaba, Marka la eego xalada caabuqa (COVID-19), Haweenkani waxay khatar weyn ugu jiraan inay waayaan ilahooda dhaqaale gebi ahaanba, haddii aan la qaadin tallaabooyinka xakameyn karaa caabuqa COVID-19, kaasina uu ku keeni doono hoos u dhac ku yimada inay waayaan macaamishoodi, ama sixir barar ku dhaco qiimaha waxyabaha daruuriga ah
Arrimahaas waxaa sii raca, haweenkani waxay ku ganacsadaan deegaan cidhiidh ah, oo nadaafad xumo ay ka jirto, sidoo kale aan lahayn suuliyo, sidoo kale kuwaa u dhawn ma laha biyo saabuun. Khatarta shakhsi ahaaned ee caabuuqan, haweenku khatarta ay wajahayan way sii kordhaysa, maxaa yeelay waxay intaa badan ku nool yihiin xaafadaha dadku aad ugu badan yihin ama xaafadaha danyarta ah, sidoo kale dhaqalaha xumada haysa waxay keentay in haweenkani ay bilaa nafaqo yihin marka la barbar dhigo raga iyo wiilasha, taasina waxay mujinaysa in difaacoodu hooseyo.
Iyadda oo lagu salanaynaayo arintaas, waxaanu ugu baaqeynaa Madaxweynaha Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi, in uu qaado talaabo degdeg ah oo lagu difaacayo haweenka saboolka ah eek u nool magaalooyinka ee aan lahayn dhaqaale rasmi ah. Gaar ahaan, waxaan jeclaan lahayn inaan u soo jeedinno Madaxweynaha Somaliland iyo gudida ka hortaga caabuqa (COVID-19) talooyinkan soo socda, dhammaan wasaaradaha dowladda, iyo hay’adaha gargaarka caalamiga ah ee ka shaqeeya Somaliland.
- Wasaaradda Caafimaadka, Hay’adda ka Diyaargarawga Masiibooyinka Qaranka iyo Maamulka Kaydka Cuntada, Wasaaradda Horumarinta Biyaha, Wasaaradda Shaqada, Arrimaha Bulshada iyo Qoyska, Wasaaradda Wacyigelinta iyo Dhaqanka iyo Dawladaha Hoose Waa inay abuuraan oo ay maalgaliyaan ololahayaasha wacyigelinta caafimaadka bulshada ee la diyaariyay ama macluumaadyada cusub ee sax da ah
- Waa in la kordhiyaa ololayaasha wacyi-gelinta bulshada ku dhaqan magaalooyinka, waana inay isku waafaqaan ka hortaga iyo hagida ilaalintooda sidaa ugu surto galsan.
- Maamulka dawladaha hoose waa inay u qaybiyaan saabuun, biyo nadiif ah, gacmo nadiifiyeyaal, iyo hannaanka nadaafadeed ee ku wajahan haweenka ku ganacsada suuqa ee aan lahayn ganacsiga iyo meel rasmiga ah .
- Hay’aada u diyaargarowga Masiibooyinka Qaranka iyo Maamulka Kaydka Cuntada waa inay dejistaan qorshe dhameystiran oo ku salaysan qaybinta cuntada iyo waxyaabaha kale ee la xidhiidha nafaqada ee loogu talogalay haweenka aan lahayn dhaqaalaha rasmiga ah.
- Wasaaradda Caafimaadka waa inay la shaqeysaa maamulka Magaalada si loo tababaro loona qalabeeyo haweenka waddooyinka ku ganacsada iyo hawl wadeenada caafimaadka bulshada siday ugu qeybin lahayeen gacmo nadiifiyeyaasha iyo macluumaadka caafimaadka
- Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland waa inay si dhakhso leh u hirgalisaa shurudaha lagu sii deyn laha haweenka xidhan, gaar ahaan haweenka uurka leh, iyo haweenka caruurta leh, kuwaas oon gelin dambiyadda waawayn, sidoo kale waa inay hubiyaan dhamaan xarumaha lagu hayo xaladooda caafimaad, gaar ahaan xabsiyada iyo xarumaha fulinta sharciyadda, waa inay hubiyaan in xaafisyada ay yaalan saabun iyo biyo joogta ah kuwaas oo ay heli karaan dhamaan maxaabiista, shaqallaha, iyo dadka soo booqddaa.
Duruuf kasta oo jira bulshooyinka saboolka ah ee ku nool magaalooyinka waxa ku dhici kartaa faquuq dheeraad ah, hadaba hadii la isticmaalo tallaabooyin lagu dhaleeceynayo ama wax lagu yeelayo, sidaa in sii xoog leh lagu karatiineeyo, waxay keeni doonta inay awood u heli wayeen, adeega cuntadda, biyaha, dawooyinka, iyo waxyaabaha kale ee daruuriga ah.