A Cake-Cutting And Music Entertainment Were Celebrated With The Reopening Of The Renovated And Expanded Hawa Feminist Coalition’s Office Premises

Hawa Feminist Coalition held a cake-cutting and music entertainment event to celebrate the re-opening of its renovated and expanded office premises in Garowe, Puntland, Somalia. Hawa Feminist Coalition, the first feminist-led movement in Somalia and a non-governmental and non-profit feminist organization founded in 2018 by young women and girls all under the age of 35, has seen progressive growth in recent years, as have its offices and community.

The organization’s headquarters office premises have been going through a major renovation and expansion in the past 5 months, which was completed on February 1, 2024, and a celebration event was held for the completion and reopening of the office on February 9, 2024. The event, which was very important and a momentous occasion for the Hawa Feminist Coalition’s team and its feminist movement in Somalia to commemorate their major accomplishment, was attended by the organization’s staff, key young feminist activists, partners, and friends, who shared their jubilant and congratulatory remarks.

Mariam Abdullahi Mohamed, a senior member of the Hawa Feminist Coalition’s team, delivered a welcome speech and briefly talked about the organization’s history, the expansion and renovation work, and how this will help the organization grow into a strong and visible young feminist movement in Somalia that is strong enough to take the lead in working on priority gender justice issues in Somalia.

“The expansion consisted of some that had been financed by the landlord, for example, the construction of a new building consisting of a conference hall that could accommodate more than 40 people at the time, two more offices, one toilet, and a storeroom and kitchen.” Said Mariam Mohamed

“As part of the expansion that was funded by the Hawa Feminist Coalition, security and safety systems were installed throughout the premises and these included fire alarms, fire extinguishers, exit lights, emergency lighting, and first aid kits in every room and space. And also the installation of a CCTV security system or cameras in all the areas, both outside and inside, of the office premises, which will make our office premises secure and protected. The working spaces were also modernized and expanded to accommodate more than 40 staff members, and the old office building was renovated and repainted, and attractive wallpapers and materials depicting the organization’s vision, cause, and feminist principles were affixed in the office’s entryways and work spaces. This will ensure that our staff and movement have the finest possible environment to work, meet, and pursue their goal.” Said Mariam Mohamed.

Fatima Hussein, a member of the Board of Directors of the Hawa Feminist Coalition, thanked the generous donors who support the Hawa Feminist Coalition with flexible funding and specifically appreciated the Black Feminist Fund, whose funding made the renovation and expansion work possible.

In addition to the remarks made by the Hawa Feminist Coalition’s team, speakers at the event included Umalkhayr Awad, a well-known local journalist and founder of Gole Media Company, who has a close partnership with the Hawa Feminist Coalition. The speakers also included Farhia Feisal, founder and executive director of Hambile Youth Initiatives, and Shukri Ali, a member of Tolmo Society.

“I’m very happy, and this is a joyful moment for Somali girls to see the progressive growth and prosperity Hawa Feminist Coalition, which is the only feminist organization in our country, is making toward establishing a strong feminist movement base.” Said Umulkhayr Awad

“Tonight’s celebration of the expansion and renovation of Hawa Feminist Coalition’s office premises is just one example of what we can achieve together as girls.” Said Farhia Feisal  

The proceeding was followed by live music entertainment, refreshments and open-house tour for audience interested. The ceremony was adjourned with enjoyment and joyfulness.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact info@femsom.org or +252 907 483965.

Trains 50 Emerging Young Feminist Activist on Feminist Advocacy and Intergenerational Activism in Somalia

Climate change is one of the most critical problems facing Somalia, along with other ever-lasting conflicts and political instability that the country has been going through for the last thirty years. Young women and girls have been disproportionately affected by climate change effects, such as repeated devastating droughts in Somalia, and they bear an unfair burden from these crises. Women and girls are not well included in the design and implementation of climate action strategies and responses. Despite deep gender disparities in Somalia, the few young feminist climate activists that come out to speak for themselves are facing challenges due to a lack of knowledge on advocacy and activism and limited collaboration among them to take an active and coordinated role in addressing climate change.

In response to this, Hawa Feminist Coalition held a training for 50 emerging young feminist activists from across Somalia and taught them more about feminist advocacy and intergenerational activism, as well as giving them a safe place to meet each other, joining their voices and actions, and sharing their thoughts on how to deal with climate change and their hopes for the future.

During the workshop, participants learned about the impact of climate change on women’s lives and livelihoods and explored feminist approaches to climate action, including the specific impact of climate change on women in Somalia, including its effects on health, livelihoods, and security. They also learned about the importance of feminist approaches to climate action, which recognize the unequal impact of climate change on women and seek to address these inequalities through inclusive and gender-sensitive policies and programs.

The workshop included a range of activities, including presentations, group discussions, and case studies. Participants learned about the importance of advocacy and policy-making in promoting gender-sensitive climate policies and built their skills in public speaking and movement building. The workshop also provided an opportunity for participants to network and connect with other young feminist climate activists from across Somalia. They shared their experiences and ideas and built a sense of community and solidarity around the issues of climate change and feminist issues.

These young feminist climate activists learned about feminist advocacy and intergenerational activism and formed partnerships and coordination among themselves. They are now able to lead the conversation about climate change, raise awareness, and encourage others to act.

The workshop ended with a call to action for participants to take their newfound knowledge and skills back to their communities and advocate for policies and programs that promote gender equality and environmental resilience. And record videos to share through social media platforms and reach thousands of people online.

50 emerging young female poets were trained on how to compose poetry in a workshop held in Qardho, Somalia

With support of Karibu Foundation, Hawa Feminist Coalition organized a mentoring and coaching for 50 emerging young female poets, mainly from marginalized communities, in a 5-day workshop held in Qardho, Puntland, Somalia, from June 3, 2023, to June 7, 2023. The main objective of this workshop was to mobilize and empower the emerging young female poets in Somalia so that they can use their talent to raise their voice and end patriarchal norms and gender inequality in Somalia.

These young female poets, who were selected from marginalized communities such as minority groups, internally displaced people, and refugees in Qardho, Somalia, are emerging poets who have a strong interest in poetry but need guidance and further learning of how to compose poetry with the help of experienced poets in order to be perfect in this poetry talent.

A female poet who has a great experience in poetry, mentored the young female poets and taught poetry, particularly Buraanbur. Buraanbur is a poetic form that is usually composed by women, and it is a cultural treasure through which Somali women celebrate, inspire, praise, and essentially prove their talents, creativity, and cultural uniqueness. Buraanbur poetry is a powerful communication tool that Somali women and adolescent girls can use to dismantle the structural and systemic roots of gender discrimination and claim their fundamental rights.

Within Somalia’s oral culture, poetry is especially powerful in influencing people’s attitudes, and Somali history provides ample examples of poets who used their art both to fan the flames of war and to bring peace. As a result of this, poetry is a powerful tool that can be used to address and challenge gender-based violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, early marriage, and FGM, which are widespread in Somalia.

With the help, guidance, and coaching of an experienced female poet, these 50 emerging young female poets learned how to compose poetry, particularly Buraanbur, in four days in a row. On the fifth day, the young female poets recited poems as a demonstration of what they had learned. The poems conveyed a range of issues regarding women and girls in Somalia, including awareness messages about ending gender-based violence, including domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, early marriage, and FGM, which remained widespread throughout Somalia. Poems also included messages about the country, patriotism, and the importance of women’s role in society as the backbone of families and communities and requested acknowledgement of that role and the right to equal rights within the community.

Some poems also urged other young women to speak up, learn Buraanbur, and use the poetry to address their needs and bring attention to issues they face, including as gender-based abuse and harmful practices like FGM.

Hawa Feminist Coalition helped the young poets in spreading some of their poems to an audience of up to 200,000 people via social media and local FM radios. These poems promoted awareness among Somali people about the harsh facts of gender-based violence and the negative social norms, harmful beliefs, and practices against women and girls in Somalia. Poems gave these young women a stronger voice and inspired other young women to pursue learning poetry.

The young female poets promised to use their talent to address the issues important to women in Somalia, such as ending rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, children, early and forced marriage and unions, and female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C), all of which are classified as significant human rights violations under international law and have devastating consequences for the health and lives of girls and women.

“For every girl who wants to be heard, I suggest learning Buraanbur. Since the Buraanbur is the sole tool that can aid women, it should be considered and supported…” says a participant in the workshop

“We would need to be driven by ambition and motivated to use the talent we have acquired; however, our aim of attaining equal rights and justice for all will remain unfulfilled if we remain sitting and untapped to our abilities..” says Ms. Yurub Noor, a participant to the workshop and a feminist activist

These young women poets were extended an invitation by Hawa Feminist Coalition to become activists, joining forces with other courageous young women activists who are dedicated to advocating for the rights and justice of women and girls in Somalia. Hawa Feminist Coalition operates as a membership-based organization, and all young women are eligible to become members.

“We have online community platforms such as WhatsApp groups where young feminist activists and other activists, including young female poets, are safe and encouraged to use their voice and collectively raise attention to their rights and needs. You will have the opportunity to interact with other activists and join the movement by receiving the group’s link, which I will provide…” says Ms. Sumaya Shirdon, a senior member from Hawa Feminist Coalition

At the conclusion of the workshop, the young female poets appreciated Hawa Feminist Coalition and the coach for their excellent leadership, facilitation and clear delivery of lessons and practical demonstrations of the workshop. They also expressed gratitude to the funding organization for supporting this important workshop and requested more similar opportunities in the future.

Sports as a Tool to Combat Gender-Based Violence that Has Become Widespread in Somalia

Hawa Feminist Coalition uses sport as a tool to combat gender-based violence that has become widespread in Somalia and also as a way of reducing a girl’s risk of experiencing GBV. As a result of this, Hawa Feminist Coalition organized a series of sport, gaming, and networking events for young women and girls, particularly for the survivors of gender-based violence from marginalized communities such as internally displaced people and refugees in Garowe, Somalia, to promote their physical and mental well-being and also to rebuild their lives and take back control of their bodies after trauma.

With support of ONSIDE Fund, Hawa Feminist Coalition started a sports project in Garowe in October 2022 that lasted until May 2023. The project hired a coach, rented a stadium and provided necessary materials to train girls for sports in Garowe, Somalia.

In this project, 115 girls, aged 5 to 15, were trained in football, the majority of whom are internally displaced people, returned refugees, or members of other marginalized communities in Garowe, Somalia. Under the guidance of a professional female coach, these 115 girls received rigorous training consisting of tactical parts, skill parts, small-sided games, and team building to give them a well-rounded understanding of the game. They have also had opportunities to explore positions, gain an awareness of their strengths, and learn a variety of game skills. The training and gaming events were held in a fun, safe, and supportive environment, considering the deeply patriarchal culture existing in Somalia, where a girl playing football is frowned upon.

This project also helped establish the first five all-girl football groups in Garowe, Somalia. The first group, Araweelo FC, which has 24 members, is named after a legendary and brave queen called Araweelo, who ruled somewhere in Somalia. The second group, Aisha FC, which has 21 members, is named after and in tribute to Aisha Ilyes Aden, a 12-year-old girl who was brutally murdered after being kidnapped, raped, and tortured in 2019 in Galkayo, Somalia. The third group is named Horseed with 19 members, and the fourth and fifth groups have 16 members each.

Hawa Feminist Coalition conducted a competition game for these girl-led sports groups with the participation of 150 young girls as onlookers. These sports events helped these girls feel empowered, get physical and emotional strength, and have the ability to exercise their rights, raise their voices, and begin to challenge the very social barriers, such as inequity, patriarchy, and rigid gender roles that perpetuate gender-based violence and other gender inequalities, that have been prevalent in Somalia. This has also increased girls’ participation in sports in Somalia, where traditionally people see sports as a man’s game.

This has been the most successful achievement for our organization and our girls, despite some challenges due to existing religious and cultural barriers in Somalia that prevent girls from playing sports. Some of the difficulties included the publication of the girls playing sports on social media platforms and bringing male audiences or players to the sports pitch. Furthermore, some of the girls who were not happy with being photographed or having their pictures shared were excluded from the pictures. The principle of ‘Do No Harm’ is key to our organization and programming, and we always protect the privacy and confidentiality of our beneficiaries.

Hawa Feminist Coalition previously organized 31 sports events throughout Somalia to challenge sexual and gender-based violence, including domestic violence, rape, and sexual abuse, that remained widespread throughout Somalia as a result of continued insecurity, weak rule of law, gender inequality, and oppressive cultural practices and norms. Hawa Feminist Coalition also supported and facilitated the establishment of the first five basketball all-girl teams in Somalia and provided them with training and equipment. They have already played 51 games despite existing religious and cultural barriers. Which all improved girls’ health, emotion, self-esteem, and a greater ownership and understanding of their bodies.

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50 vulnerable women and adolescent girls from the most vulnerable communities in Somalia trained how to make reusable sanitary pads

The closure of stores and public transport, rising costs, and increasing economic uncertainty due to COVID-19 measures are all putting menstrual hygiene supplies out of reach for those in poverty in Somalia. The vulnerable and marginalized communities in Somalia, including refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people (IDPs) living in poverty and in cramped and poor-condition camps, have limited access to basic services. COVID-19 directly impacted the lives of a population already living under the strain of widespread poverty and decades of armed conflict and insecurity. In addition to the COVID-19 impacts, the burden of devastating humanitarian consequences as a result of the prolonged and severe drought conditions in Somalia further accentuated the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products and left young women from marginalized communities without access to period products like sanitary pads.

Sanitary pads are expensive and often inaccessible, and some girls resort to managing their periods with pieces of rags or paper, which are often unhygienic and uncomfortable, causing chafing, urinary tract infections, reproductive tract infections, and other reproductive health problems.

With the support of the Centre for Disaster Philanthropy through ActionAid International on behalf of Feminist Humanitarian Network (FHN), Hawa Feminist Coalition conducted training for 50 vulnerable women and adolescent girls from the most vulnerable community groups, such as internally displaced people (IDPs), refugees, and people with disabilities in Garowe, Puntland State of Somalia, on how to make their own washable, reusable sanitary pads using commonly-found materials.

Training targeted 50 vulnerable women and adolescent girls from the most vulnerable community groups in Garowe, Somalia, and divided the number among the following groups:

  1. 25 vulnerable women and adolescent girls from the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Garowe
  2. 15 vulnerable women and adolescent girls from the refugees, particularly Yemeni refugees in Garowe,
  3. 10 vulnerable women and adolescent girls from people with disabilities and host communities in Garowe

The training duration was six days held between March 12 and 20, 2023. The topics and sessions covered during the six-day training are detailed below:

Day 1 – Introduction to the Menstrual Cycle and Hygiene Management: The first day of the training was an introductory day that introduced the 50 trainees to the menstrual cycle, normal and abnormal periods, and the risks associated with poor menstrual hygiene management. Trainees also learned how to identify the different types of menstrual products available on the market.

Day 2 – Understanding Reusable Sanitary Pads: On the second day of the training, the trainees were taught about the different types of reusable sanitary pads available and their different materials. The many ways to create these reusable menstrual products include the method and the materials that can be used, such as leftover quilting cotton, linen, hemp, flannel, fleece, and thicker, more stable knits. The other materials, like using water-proof or water-resistant materials for the bottom of the outer layer of the pad, are perfect for this.

Day 3 – Maintenance and keeping hygienic standards of the pads and awareness on GBV: On the third day of the training, trainees were taught about how to maintain and clean the reusable sanitary pads, including cleaning techniques such as rinsing in cold water, storing in a wetbag or bucket, soaking heavily stained pads in water with salt or stain remover, washing on a decent length wash cycle at no more than 30 °C, and also air drying. The trainer explained the importance of quality control and how to maintain specific standards when producing reusable sanitary pads.

Day 4 and 5 – Trainer’s-led Practical Demonstrations: On the fourth and fifth days of the training, more trainer-led demonstrations were taught, such as practical lessons on how to use needles and threads for the production of reusable sanitary pads. Trainees were taught practically how to thread the needle, and how to control the sewing. The trainer demonstrated how to meet specific guidelines and produce high-quality, reusable sanitary pads. Trainees also watched a video showing the step-by-step process of how to make the reusable sanitary pads, including the materials, sizes, linings, and sewing.

Day 6 – Trainees’-led Practical Sessions: On the last day of the training, trainees were put on a practical exercise where they were tasked with making the pad by themselves, and each trainee was given materials consisting of a printed guidebook, a pen, A4 papers, a ruler, thin cloth, several buttons, cotton fabric (towel), a needle, a scissor, pins, and one thread to use for making the pad by hand. Patterns for various sizes of pads are also provided to produce different sizes. Each trainee was required to produce one pad successfully in 5 hours with the coaching of the trainer.

The six-day training provided for 50 trainees, of which five days were teaching and tutoring and the last day was practical exercise, where trainees were required to practice what they had learned from the training and make their own sanitary pads using the knowledge they acquired during the training, was delivered successfully.

All the trainees gained the necessary knowledge to make pads, fully understood the process and steps taken and the kind of materials used in making the pads. Trainees demonstrated their level of understanding on the last day of the training, when each of them made a pad using the materials provided. The finishing of each trainee was checked carefully to ensure she followed the process taught in the training and the product was usable and perfect. The result shows 41 out of 50 trainees made the pad perfectly, while the remaining 9 made small errors. This shows that 82% of the trainees proved their excellence in making their own menstrual pads using commonly found materials for themselves and their families.

The training ended with success, achieved its objective, and trained 50 vulnerable women and adolescent girls from the most vulnerable community groups, such as internally displaced people (IDPs), refugees, and people with disabilities in Garowe, Puntland State of Somalia, on how to make their own washable, reusable sanitary pads using commonly-found materials.

These vulnerable women and adolescent girls gained invaluable skills, and every one of them successfully produced a pad with their hand, which is proof that they can have access to sustainable sanitary protection and good menstrual hygiene at their fingertips from now on. These vulnerable women and adolescent girls are also capable of helping their communities since they know how to sew and probably have a bunch of fabric scraps hanging around. Each of the training participants received a book translated into Somali, which is a do-it-yourself book or step-by-step guide in the local language, so other women and adolescent girls can learn from it how to design and produce their own reusable menstrual pads using commonly found materials, as well as how to maintain these pads hygienically to maintain their period in a healthy and dignified manner.

This is expected to positively promote accessibility to menstrual hygiene products for vulnerable women and adolescent girls among internally displaced people (IDPs), refugees, and people with disabilities in Garowe, Somalia, who have been affected by the COVID-19 prevention measures.

For more information, click here to download the training report or you can contact the project team through email: info@femsom.org or through our whatsApp: https://wa.me/message/MQOZHDMXX2OOA1.

Call for Participation: Workshop for Somali Young Feminist Climate Activists

Climate change is one of the most critical problems facing Somalia, along with other ever-lasting conflicts and political instability that the country has been going through for the last thirty years. Young women and girls have been disproportionately affected by climate change effects, such as repeated devastating droughts in Somalia, and they bear an unfair burden from these crises. Women and girls are not well included in the design and implementation of climate action strategies and responses. Despite deep gender disparities in Somalia, the few young feminist climate activists that come out to speak for themselves are facing challenges due to a lack of knowledge on advocacy and activism and limited collaboration among them to take an active and coordinated role in addressing climate change.

Women and girls can be powerful leaders and change-makers for climate adaptation and mitigation, and without their leadership, knowledge, and participation in climate change responses today, it is unlikely that solutions for a sustainable planet and an equal society for men and women will be found tomorrow.

Hawa Feminist Coalition, founded by young feminists all under the age of 35 in 2018 as the first feminist movement in Somalia, is going to hold a workshop for the emerging young feminist climate activists in Somalia. In this three-day workshop, the emerging young feminist climate activists will learn more about feminist advocacy and inter-generational activism, and this will be a safe place to meet each other, join their voices and actions, and share their thoughts on how to deal with climate change and their hopes for the future.

Therefore, if you are an emerging Somali young feminist climate activist based in Puntland, Somalia, whose age is under 30 and who is interested in learning more about feminist advocacy and inter-generational activism and forming partnerships and coordination with other colleagues in the same field, this is the perfect opportunity for you.

The workshop will be around on May 25-30, 2023 and will take place in Garowe, Puntland Somalia. Hawa Feminist Coalition will be able to pay the transportation and accommodation expenses of a few participants who are coming to the workshop from outside of Garowe, where training will be held. All other participants will be given a participation fee.

If you are interesting to join the workshop, please fill your information in the below form before May 25, 2023.

If you need any further information or assistance, please contact us: info@femsom.org or the project focal point Ms. Nadira Abdirahman Mohamud nadira@femsom.org, +252 907 532 164. Or send message to the office WhatsApp/ Phone +252 907 483 965.

Our Young Feminist Activists Trained on Digital Safety in Garowe, Somalia

Hawa Feminist Coalition, the only feminist-led organization in Somalia, has concluded a two-day training on digital safety for 57 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.

Note: Due to privacy and security purposes, the pictures of some participants were excluded.

Engaging and building capacity, collaboration with young activists in Garowe

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.  

CONGRATULATIONS! Our Sister Mariam Hussein participates in WOW’s International Day of the Girl 2020

Women of the World Foundations celebrates 2020’s International Day of the Girl and is bringing together 40 young activists from around the world to build a community and share knowledge. In this year, one of our members Ms. Mariam M Hussein is listed at WOW’s Young Leaders Directory and participates in the event.

Mariam is a feminist activist advocating for the safety, equality, justice, rights and dignity of young women and girls in Somalia where women bear an unequal brunt of hardships occasioned by poverty, conflict and clan-based culture which promotes strict male hierarchy and authority. Mariam is an active member of Hawa Feminist Coalition, young feminists movement in Somalia.

Mariam’s story together with other incredible young activists, leaders and campaigners. Check it out here: Young Leaders Directory│ Hashtags: #DayOfTheGirl, @WOWisGlobal