SIHAs Focus: SIHA’s work in Somaliland involves challenging gender disparities and Islamic militancy in Somaliland and the Horn of Africa Region, capacity building and human rights awareness, organizational development training and strengthening women’s political engagement, and awareness-raising campaigns to challenge sexual violence.
Since 1991, Somaliland has predominantly faced challenges in reasserting its sovereignty and rebuilding its state. This long process was challenged by remerging conflict in the region, issues with international recognition, and the difficulty of implementing strong and inclusive policy. Women have always played an active role in the process of state-building, however prevailing patriarchal structures and belief systems have continuously marginalized women, preventing them from participating in the development of the state. The patriarchal system in Somaliland stems from the lineage of the clan-based system, which recognizes male dominance and perpetrated gender inequality through customary laws. The norm of gender inequality, which was once a feature of nomadic society, is gradually proving untenable to meet the challenges of the new millennium as well as national and international development.
Challenging Gender Disparities and Islamic Militancy in Somaliland and the Horn of Africa Region.
SIHA is currently implementing a project named “Negotiating Change –building a platform for challenging religious militancy and gender disparities in the horn of Africa” focusing on selected countries in the Horn of Africa, identified as those which are most affected by the recent surge in militancy and conservative interpretations of the Islamic religion, namely Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Somaliland.
Empowering women economically towards the realization of economic, social and cultural rights (ECSR).
In Somaliland SIHA’s main focus is to address the limited access to state legal and judicial protection, or remedy where such institutions exist but do not function effectively. SIHA successively conducted a study on women in the informal economy as informal laborers. The study attempted to identify people’s view on women in Somaliland who work in the informal economy as tea sellers.It also seeked to identity policies or programmes in place for protecting women in this sector and whether local Somaliland women’s rights activist addressing the vulnerabilities and risks faced by women in the informal sector there.
Building Inclusive Womens Movements.
In Somaliland, SIHA further put emphasis on organizational development and capacity building training as well as sub-granting for local civil society organizations working in the sector of political engagement of women. Therefore SIHA collaborated with its member organization SOWRAG in initiating “Advocacy for Justice” which aimed at capacity building for women to seek justice and profit from their rights, as well as training of potential female leaders in human rights and access to justice. https://sihanet.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/women-do-not-belong-under-acacia-trees.pdf
Reducing violence against women and girls.
Rape and sexual violence ((SIHA) The Other War Gang Rape in Somaliland) has been prominent in Somaliland, especially in zones of conflict. SIHA has worked with Nagaad Network, one of their members in Somaliland who have been the lead in facilitating and passing the sexual offenses bill into law. This bill has been pending before the parliament in the past 14 months. The resistance faced by the activism were mainly of two folds; resistance by some MPs in light of religious understanding and a resistance on the bases of the culture of silence over sexually related issues. A reference from the office of the prosecutor says that around 103 rape cases have been reported in Somaliland in 2016.
- SIHA has been working all across Somaliland together with 10 member organizations.
- Nagaad Umbrella Organization
- Women Action for Advocacy & Progress Organization (WAAPO)
- Somaliland Women Lawyers Association (SWLA)
- Tisqaad Environment Network
- Heegan Human Rights Network
- Somaliland Women’s Research and Action Group (SOWRAG)
- Women’s Action for Advocacy-WADA
- Women Human Rights Environment and Education Association (WHEEA)
- Barwaaqo Voluntary Organization (BVO)
- Voices of Somaliland Minority Women Organization (VOSOMWO)Network Against FGM/C in Somaliland (NAFIS NETWORK)