Advocacy Action Plan for the minimum 25% Quota for Women in Decision Making in Somaliland

SCOs lead by Nagaad Network meet with the President H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud to discuss Quota Issue

Since declaring its independence from Somalia in 1991, the Republic of Somaliland has attained commendable achievements in reconciliation and relative security; re-establishment of the rule of law; establishment of functioning institutions; disarmament and demining relative peace and stability, written its own laws and constitution, and held credible multi-party elections. Yet, the country still remains in a poor economic condition and the majority of people of Somaliland are struggling to rebuild their livelihoods. Furthermore, fundamental issues such as participation, equity, social justice and women’s rights are still at rudimentary stage and continue to be violated at all levels.

...electoral quotas and proportional representation within a legal framework have proven to be the most effective in increasing the electability of women.

Since declaring its independence from Somalia in 1991, the Republic of Somaliland has attained commendable achievements in reconciliation and relative security; re-establishment of the rule of law; establishment of functioning institutions; disarmament and demining relative peace and stability, written its own laws and constitution, and held credible multi-party elections. Yet, the country still remains in a poor economic condition and the majority of people of Somaliland are struggling to rebuild their livelihoods. Furthermore, fundamental issues such as participation, equity, social justice and women’s rights are still at rudimentary stage and continue to be violated at all levels.
 
Many factors hinder women's political participation in Somaliland, such as the patriarchal nature of society, the legal framework for elections, as enshrined in the Constitution of Somaliland and the Elections Law, is based on the plurality/majority system, lack of political quota, political parties being slow to respond to women's interests, under-investment in women's campaigns, poverty, traditional and cultural barriers, and conflicting demands on the time of women candidates due to their domestic and social responsibilities. Accordingly, electoral quotas and proportional representation within a legal framework have proven to be the most effective in increasing the electability of women.

In an attempt to deal with these various challenges that women continue to experience, Nagaad Network with the financial support from UNDP has been implementing a project entitled “Advocacy Action Plan for the minimum 25% Quota for Women in Decision Making in Somaliland” The project addressed to increase the participation and representation of women in politics and all areas of decision-making in Somaliland by campaigning for the adoption of legislation instituting a minimum 25% in elective positions and how it can positively change the current situation of women in the country and ultimately lobbying for space to take part in the decision making of Somaliland. The main project focus was to legalize the minimum 25% quota for women in elected and leadership positions including the conduct of violence free and fair elections, support to women's organizations and affirmative action.

Project Implemention Outputs
1. An advocacy campaign strategy was developed and implemented for ratification of the 25% Quota for women in national decision-making institutions. The capacity of the Quota Task Force in terms of advocacy and lobbying skills is also improved. They have been also supported to develop national political quota advocacy strategy which was intended to increase advocacy and lobbying efforts for incorporating electoral law into the quota was successfully achieved, and today the parliamentary electoral law incorporated with women’s’ quota is with the parliament.

2. A total of 360 influential people from specific target stake holders including  Ministries, Parliamentary caucus, Political Parties, women leaders in political parties and youth groups has been sensitized to increase lobbying and advocacy for implementation of Constitutional and electoral law Provisions by increasing women’s quota 25% in the national institutions.

3. A strong partnership was built with media to implement media component of the campaign strategy, before the partnership was made, a capacity building was provided to the media houses. Media houses also endorsed and validate the media component of the Advocacy Quota strategy, and media action plan will be developed.

The project also encountered several challenges including the postponement of the election. This caused a delay to the presentation of the parliament electoral bill (which the women’s’ quota is incorporated) to the parliament. To include the quota to the bill was one of the recommendations from professional lawyers hired by Nagaad to draft the women’s’ quota bill. The consultants also suggested increasing the lobbying and advocacy towards the parliament and more specifically to address the Stand Committee of Security and Defense who have the role of amending this bill before the submission to the house. Nagaad, taking this recommendation and lessons learned from the quota attempts, concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with the House of Representative to sustain the advocacy of the quota. Nagaad also specifically met with the chair person and member of the Stand Committee of Security and Defense to establish a platform which both parties could collaborate on the quota issue. The committee promised not to remove the quota from the bill, but to sensitize the other MPs in the house to enact the Quota. Still there is a need to continue the advocacy efforts, and to closely work with the House of Representatives, and Nagaad is committed on that. Finally, Nagaad is very positive for the enactment of Women’s’ Quota before the upcoming elections.