Hawa Feminist Coalition, the only feminist-led organization in Somalia, has concluded a two-day training on digital safety for 31 members of the organization’s staff and volunteers in Garowe, Somalia. This is the first time that our staff and volunteers have been given such important information about how to deal with the bullying and sexual harassment they face online in Somalia.
Our feminist activists, who are subjected to constant online harassment, are now learning how to respond to those risks and stay safe online. Online violence against women and girls is an increasing concern in Somalia and is becoming widespread, while offline violence such as domestic violence, rape, and sexual abuse are prevalent throughout the country. Our young feminist activists who are brave enough to speak out in public are often attacked online, which makes many of them leave the online public space.
In this training, they learned about encryption, anonymity, and digital security tools to stay safe online and not give up because of online bullying and sexual harassment. During the training, they have also learned about a range of digital safety related topics, including phishing, vishing, ransomware, malware, password protection, information security, social engineering, physical security, mobile device security, email security, working remotely, cloud security, social media, safe web browsing, risk management, and incident reporting.
The training, which was highly participatory and interactive, was facilitated by a trainer with advanced experience and knowledge in information security and computer security. A range of practical activities were employed during the training, such as learning how to deal with and respond to different threats like cyber-harassment, trolling, doxing, non-consensual image distribution, and others. as well as practical demonstrations on installing and using the most essential digital security software and forming good habits online.
Our young feminist activists are now strong enough to identify, prevent, and respond to the digital threats they face on online platforms. and this is expected to contribute to our long-term resilience and sustainability by helping us respond to digital threats and stay safe online.
Women and girls who constitute approximately half of Somalia’s population are subjected to systematic discrimination, exclusion and injustice in all spheres of social, economic and political life. Sexual and gender-based violence including domestic violence, rape, and sexual abuse remains widespread throughout Somalia as a result of the continued insecurity, weak rule of law, gender inequality and oppressive cultural practices and norms. Recent spikes in intimate partner violence, rape, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and abuse have multiplied GBV risks for women and girls with worsening impact on women and girls from the marginalized communities such as internally displaced people and refugees. This is compounded by limited availability of specialized GBV treatment services such as mental psychosocial support and for survivors of gender-based violence in 39 IDPs camps in Bosaso where more than 132,000 are living. This was a major gap for survivors of gender-based violence suffering from mental illness including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder to have access to mental and psychological support to take back control of their bodies, sexuality, and lives.
As result of this, Hawa Feminist Coalition trained young feminist activists (including volunteers who are refugees or internally displaced persons) to provide mental and psychological support along medical care for survivors of gender-based violence from marginalized communities such as internally displaced persons and refugees in Bosaso, Somalia.
The main goal was to ensure that survivors of gender-based violence suffering from mental illness including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder have access to mental and psychological support to take back control of their bodies, sexuality, and lives. These include training of 100 young feminist activists (including volunteers who are refugees or internally displaced persons) on mental and psychosocial support skills to expand mental health and psychosocial services to marginalized communities in Bosaso.
This was a highly participatory and interactive training to involve all participants in the discussion centered on simplified and translated materials and to guide the participants on the training progress. The approach was based on problem-based learning using practical exercises, group work, role plays and case studies to keep trainees engaged in the training, which makes them more receptive to the knowledge. This given the trainer in-session feedback on how well trainees are learning.
Th following subjects relating to the mental health and psychosocial support for GBV survivors were provided for the trainees:-
Principles and guidelines for mental health and psychosocial support for GBV survivors
Psychological First Aid
Developing key mental health and psychosocial support messages for the affected
Advocating for mental health and psychosocial support with key stakeholders
Establishing mental health and psychosocial support activities and identifying and collaborating with key stakeholders in the community
Developing a plan of action, coordination and cooperation with other peers
Hawa Feminist Coalition, the leading organization is entirely led by young feminist all under the age of 35. The project officer and trainees were also young women all under the age of 35. Hawa Feminist Coalition believed and involved its members and target youth members to provide input in the planning, designing and delivering of any activity to give them a sense of ownership and more sustainable into the future. Furthermore, there was a feedback and learning loop that allowed continuous program modification based on their input.
Hawa Feminist Coalition has members from the marginalized communities such as IDPs and refugees who are working to raise awareness against the widespread sexual and gender-based violence including domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, female genital mutilation and early marriage. These members who are tireless working with survivors of gender-based violence in their communities will ensure that survivors of gender-based violence suffering from mental illness including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder have access to mental and psychological support to take back control of their bodies, sexuality, and lives.
This project was led by Ms. Mariam Mohamed Hussein, 21 years old young feminist activist who have been advocating for the safety, equality, justice, rights and dignity of young women and girls in Somalia where they bear an unequal brunt of hardships occasioned by poverty, conflict and clan-based culture which promotes strict male hierarchy and authority. Ms. Hussein is a co-founder of Hawa Feminist Coalition, the first feminist movement in Somalia, and trained 55 young women and girls on mental and psychological skills to support the survivors of gender-based violence suffering from mental illness including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in Somalia. Ms. Hussein was recognized and listed at WOW’s Young Leaders Directory in 2020.
16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign calling for an end to violence against women and girls. It takes place every year and begins on the 25th November, the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women and finishes on Human Rights Day, the 10th of December.
Usually on this occasion, Hawa Feminist Coalition undertakes series of awareness rising campaigns and conducts range of activities such as creating and publishing stories, messages and reports illustrating the experience, prevalence and thoughts of gender-based violence (GBV) as well as sharing messages of solidarity and commitment to take action for an end of GBV.
You too can connect and join the campaign by creating your own stories, art and contents or further distributing our messages and stories in your social media networks. You can share with us your stories or strong messages to stop the violence and end the silence.
Hawa Feminist Coalition prepares the below social media graphics and messages that you can use for raising awareness during the activism days, post or redistribute through the online platforms.
Mention us in your social media posts and use the following hashtags to see and count in your contributions in the trends.
Mariam M. Hussein, a co-founder and member of Hawa Feminist Coalition provides brief training for some young activists in Garowe. Ms. Hussein met handful young activists; young women and men in Garowe who advocate range of issues – from youth rights to girls education in Garowe where she shared organizing, advocacy techniques and importance of collective actions.
These young activists who have been curious to learn new skills and experience to further their activism capacity have had a opportunity to discuss the power of collective actions and possible collaboration with Hawa Feminist Coalition in some common shared matters such as youth rights, GBV and improvement of girls rights in Puntland, Somalia.
This has been fruitful session that opened new opportunities and collaborations for these young activists who have firm commitment to pursuing a change. Furthermore, these young activists and Hawa Feminist Coalition will have collaboration on common shared matters such as advocating for girls rights and will also have information and knowledge exchange as well as initiating collective actions in the future.
Ms. Hussein together with other members of Hawa Feminist Coalition is going to approach and engage young activists in the path of promoting the safety, justice and dignity of young women and girls in Somalia.
We appreciate the cabinet of Puntland for approving the anti- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) bill as a key step towards a full ban on female genital mutilation in Puntland state in Somalia, where 98% of girls and women undergone FGM. We hope that the Parliament will follow suit and pass the bill smoothly for the benefit of rights of girls and women in the state.
We hope that this to be a good example to other authorities in Somalia and follow suite, and enact similar legal measures to ban female genital mutilation once and for all in their respective territories.
We will continue, together with other partners to advocate elimination of all forms of violence against girls and women in order to achieve a country where women and girls enjoy all their rights and live in dignity.
We are so saddened about tragic death of Nafiso Omar Gelle 12, who went on missing 3 days ago but found her dismembered and tortured body today in a big cooking pot in her family house in Mogadishu. We want to express our solidarity to our fallen sister’s family and relatives, colleagues, and to all young women and girls in the country who are grieving the loss of beloved sister.
Somalia has been scarred by a series of high-profile sexual abuse cases recently and further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge the Police to conduct an immediate investigation into the death of Nafiso Omar Gelle and bring all those responsible to justice.
Hawa Feminist Coalition condemns the death of Fahdi Adow Abdi and Faiza Adow Abdi in Mogadishu in the night of April 22, 2021 after a mortar landed in their house. We note with grave concern the increasing violence and repressive context against young women and girls these days.
We, members of Hawa Feminist Coalition want to express our solidarity to our fallen sisters’ family and colleagues and to all young women and girls in the country who are grieving the loss of these beloved sisters in Mogadishu.
We urge the Federal Government of Somalia and Benadir Regional Administration to conduct an immediate investigation into the killing of Fahdi Adow Abdi and Faiza Adow Abdi and bring all those responsible to justice.
In commemoration of Open Data Day; an annual celebration event held all over the world in the first week of March in every year, Hawa Feminist Coalition organized an online event on March 6, 2021 via Zoom with agenda of advancing the production, dissemination and openness of sex-disaggregated data in Somalia.
The event was held in online due to COVID-19 restrictions, participated by 19 participants from UN, International NGOs and Local NGOs as well as independent activists. The participants had interactive discussions covering the data gaps, weaknesses and the need to strengthen sex-disaggregated data in Somalia for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by 2030.
Shared Experiences, Gaps And Ideas Related To Sex-disaggregated Data In Somalia
Ms. Linda Mohamed from Hawa Feminist Coalition and also chairing the meeting presents short presentation highlighting how data segregated by gender is vital to evaluate the measures taken to narrow the gender gap. Ms. Mohamed also highlights how availability of segregated data could help to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls in Somalia.
Mr. Abdikhayr Hussein from Bareedo Platform, a local NGO that promotes participatory democracy presents the importance of open data and that openness of sex-disaggregated data is prerequisite to achieving gender equality in Somalia.
Ms. Anab Ali from Ministry of Women Affairs shows the participants about how sex-disaggregated data is significant to measuring the gender gap in education, political empowerment, health and survival, and economic participation in Somalia.
After short presentations, participants shared the following experiences, concerns and ideas that are related to sex-disaggregated data:-
Somalia is a country located on the horn of Africa, with a population of almost 14 million people. Although women and girls in Somalia consist of 50% of the country’s population, women and men are far from equal.
The gender inequality in Somalia is exacerbated by poverty, social class and harmful practices that violate the rights of women and girls. Today, women in Somalia are susceptible to gender-based violence and sexual violence, an issue that is heightened in areas of conflict.
The full adoption of sex-disaggregated data is less tapped in Somalia where gender equality is ranked fourth-lowest globally, maternal and infant mortality rates are also some of the highest in the world, and early marriage is prevalent.
Humanitarian sector shows progress on disaggregation of data by gender although it is still needs further improvements.
Major vital services or projects led by the government are yet to fully apply disaggregation of data by gender with less than 21% of government’s data shows some form of sex-disaggregation .
Private sector shows limited adoption of disaggregation of data by gender and some even see this to be less noteworthy.
There is incoherent collaboration between the government, private sector and civil society in adoption of disaggregation of data by gender.
In conclusion of the shared experiences, concerns and ideas that are related to sex-disaggregated data, participants suggest the following important recommendations in line with strengthening disaggregation of data by gender in Somalia.
Government, private sector, civil society and other stakeholders need to work together toward adoption of disaggregation of data by gender effectively to address gender inequality that remained highest globally in Somalia.
Partners and stakeholders engaged in gender equality or promotion of rights of women and girls should come up continues advocacy and follow up mechanisms to ensure successful take-up of sex-disaggregated data policies in government, private and civil society.
The production and openness of sex-disaggregated data need to be encouraged in the occasions of commemoration of International Women’s Day and other related events.
Particular forums, evens and talk shows should be organized to advocate, strengthen this matter among the different stakeholders and partners in Somalia.
This was an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of sex-disaggregated data policies in government, business and civil society. We hope to keep the conversation going!
Further inquires, please contact:- Ms. Linda Said Mohamed Tell: +252 906 892740 Email: email@example.com
Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. Groups from around the world create local events on the day where they will use open data in their communities. It is an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society.
Hawa Feminist Coalition plans to hold an online event to commemorate Open Day 2021 on March 6, 2021 at 10:00AM via Zoom. The agenda of the event is to advance the production, dissemination and openness of sex-disaggregation of development data in Somalia and will take place in online with participation of 21 participants and countless viewers who are expected to watch the event live at online platforms. The event will be included presentations that to be made by representatives from UN, International NGOs or Local NGOs.
The discussions will cover the data gaps, strengthens and the need to strengthen sex-disaggregated data for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by 2030. These will be followed by group discussions covering on how to use open data a) to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls everywhere, b) to measure the gender gap in education, political empowerment, health and survival, and economic participation and opportunity, and c) way-forwards to ensure open data is fully applied as a prerequisite to achieving gender equality in Somalia.
Hawa Feminist Coalition is highly appreciated and welcomes your participation to the meeting and register at this link: https://forms.gle/VRxmxMpL8tV2kE3N7. After registration, you will receive the participation details right to your email.
Looking forward to your participation to the #ODD2021 event!
Gender-based violence (GBV) increases during every type of emergency – whether economic crises, conflict or disease outbreaks. Pre-existing toxic social norms and gender inequalities, economic and social stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to an increase of GBV in particularly at the IDPs camps where the most vulnerable people are living in.
Join us!, If you are a young girl under the age of 35 years, interesting to be part of collective feminist movement working to promote the safety, equality, justice, rights and dignity of girls and young women in Somalia.