EISA Somalia: Women's representation in electoral and governance processes

See also Participation by women, youth and marginalised groups


Support to women's public participation

15 - 16 & 25 - 26 January 2022

EISA held two activities on: "Enhancing Somali women's role in leadership" in South-West on the 15 - 16 January and on 25-26 January in Jubbaland . The aim of the activities was to encourage Clan Elders, the youth and women, former and current politicians, to consider supporting female candidates and to promote women's leadership and political participation. The events were attended by women district leaders, student leaders, lectures, women candidates, senior clan elders, CSOs and women aspirants to connect with the public to inspire and empower women for leadership in public and political life. 160 people attended the events comprising 85 women and 75 men . Women pledged to " support their sisters in the electoral process.

Striving for 30% women's representation in Parliament

EISA, with support from Sweden (through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), has significantly contributed to the promotion of women's participation in public and political life ahead of and during the 2021 Somalia elections. In pursuit of a 30% women's representation in the elections, EISA facilitated capacity building, advocacy initiatives and dialogue platforms in partnership with both state and non-state actors in Somalia. Resultantly Somalia witnessed a 50% decrease in registration fees for women candidates, 30% of women delegates for the Lower House elections being selected, increased coordination between women's organizations and state institutes at both federal and state levels in pushing for the quota, sustained momentum on the 30% discourse and development of a strategy for the achievement of the quota by election stakeholders.

Ultimately, representation of women in the Upper House increased to 26% and it is anticipated that representation of women in the Lower House election will be higher than before. While the targeted threshold may not be achieved to expectation in the 2021 elections, Somalia has provided evidence that even in very challenging political contexts, women's participation in political processes can still be enhanced.

English cover: Promoting Women's participation: Campaign Manual for Women Candidates in the Somalia 2021 Elections
Promoting Women's Participation: Campaign Manual for Women Candidates

The objective of the Promoting Women's participation: Campaign Manual for Women Candidates in the Somalia 2021 Elections (Somali) manual is to strengthen the capacity of aspiring women candidates to run a successful election campaign. The manual highlights key tools and skills that build a candidate's profile, fundraising and budgeting, strategies to engage with the media to enhance visibility and engagement with clan elders, delegates and relevant stakeholders.

Supporting training in the FMSs: outreach strategies for the women's 30% quota

July 2021

A total of 25 events were held during the reporting period. EISA reached all six FMSs. These activities focused on outreach strategies for the women's 30% quota. Clan elders, religious leaders, women, and youth and state actors were present. Among the topics discussed during the events were: Civic education on democracy, governance, and active political participation of women; increasing women's participation in the indirect elections; the role of traditional and religious leaders in achieving the 30% women's quota; women's participation in Parliamentary election in Somalia, Somali women 30% quota in the 2020/2021 elections; strengthening and increasing political participation of women in the 2020/2021 electoral process and beyond; strengthening the capacity of women aspirants and advancing the 30% women's quota. In Galmudug, the event resulted in the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee on women quota.

On 31 July 2021, EISA also supported an introductory meeting between the 30% quota task force members, Goodwill Ambassadors and women candidates in Mogadishu, BRA. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the 30% Quota Task Force team and Goodwill Ambassadors to the women aspirants/candidates, build a working relationship, and establish trust between them. The 30% Quota Task Force team and Goodwill Ambassadors will lobby for 30% women's quota in the election women's participation and promote peaceful participation in the process. They will also commit to peace and work closely with local communities, especially women, youth groups, religious leaders, local administrators, and political institutions at district and community levels to ensure peaceful indirect elections and develop unity and peace networks. The meeting was attended by 118 participants, 48 Taskforce members, 60 women candidates, and 10 Goodwill Ambassadors. See Workshop on Leadership for Women Political Quota

Round tables with political leaders, clan leaders and CSO representatives to promote women political participation promoted

SONSA with the support of EISA held a roundtable in the Galmudug region with political leaders and key electoral stakeholders from women organisations and activists, youth, regional authorities, clan elders and religious leaders to ensure women active participation in the elections and to ensure their quota in both upper and lower house seats. The outcome of the roundtables was a commitment from stakeholders to support strategies that promote women political participation and influence clan leaders and traditional elders to female candidates and ensure a 30% quota for women.

Roundtable on women's participation in electoral processes

Somali Non-State Actors (SONSA) with the support of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), organised a CSOs roundtable in Mogadishu, Somalia on 24 February 2021. The 30 participants included political leaders and key women's CSOs. The objective of the roundtable was to develop a shared understanding of the key issues around womens political participation in Somalia. Discussions included challenges that hinder womens participation under the existing electoral system with a view of identifying advocacy strategies that will promote the implementation of the 30% women quota and strengthen womens participation in the anticipated 2020/2021 elections. The event also discussed advocacy strategies and documented recommendations for different stakeholders.

The roundtable was highly interactive, with a keynote address and discussions led by representatives from 2021 Roundtable on women's political participation Save Somali Women and Children, Somalia Gender Equality Movement, HINNA, IIDA, Somali Women Lawyers Association, Women Journalists Association, Somali Women Development Centre(SWDC) and Somali Women's Leadership Initiative(SWLI).

A similar event is planned for 28 February 2021 in the Kismayo region.

This roundtable is one among other planned activities aimed at enhancing women political participation and reducing electoral conflict in Somalia under the Support to Peaceful elections in Somalia (PEACE ) project supported by the European Union.

Photo Credit: SONSA @SONSA_NSA