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Somali Women's Peace Conference in Djibouti

I had the opportunity of attending the Somali Women’s Peace Conference which took place on 30th Nov till 02nd Dec 2011 at Kempinski Djibouti. This conference was organized by the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) based in Addis Ababa – Ethiopia.

The main aim of the conference was to bring together Somali women practitioners, scholars and policy makers to engage in round table discussion on “African solutions” to the current conflict in Somalia, and also to contribute to drafting a comprehensive Somalia security strategy. Also to explore women’s perspective on security, peace and governance issues and increase the role of women in peacebuilding initiatives.

All thirty five participants were women and were representatives from civil society, Diaspora community, members of the TFG (Transitional Federal Government) parliament, NGO (Non Governmental Organization) workers, UNWomen, UNPOS, university lecturers and youth.

The main discussion points were: Who provides citizen’s security and reasons behind them, who provides security for citizens in the absence of strong government and how they provide security, top factors that are working in providing security by the state (where the state is functioning) and why they are working, and finally identifying other collective security mechanisms that are working in Somalia, reasons they are working and ways of improving those mechanisms.

In the discussions, participants were divided into four groups, each group discussed the research questions profoundly. After each group presented, there were plenary discussions to identify consensus points of all groups. Each point was considered as an issue of consensus of the conference if it was seconded from any other group. Then those consensus points were discussed by the conference participants.

At the end of the conference, participants suggested few points including:

To carry in-depth research on the security strategy paper the institution is planning to produce, by meeting different sectors of the society and visiting wherever is possible and secure within the country.

All funding organizations should inquire Political parties to have defined women quotas in their parties and make it a requirement.

To involve women in the institute’s activities (IPSS), collaborate with them and include them in their decision making level

Create space for women who are in the houses by giving them incentives to come out of the houses n participate into the civil society (which needs funding) giving them trainings n then they could participate.

To make regular conference/meetings similar to this conference, to look at the complexities, women’s different backgrounds, IPSS institution to have more involvement with women groups/umbrellas, to create spaces for women in the decision making and to allocate defined quotas for women in the decision making meetings.

I hope the outcome of the conference will be implemented the way it should be and won’t be like many other conferences whose outcome was left there and never been implemented. I should keep enquiring what and how the progress is going on.

Apart from the conference, I had the biggest opportunity of meeting a sister from Pulsewire, a lady who always inspires me with her dedication, hard work and women’s advocacy. Sahra Koshin is also one of the 2011 Voices of Our Future Correspondents, a talented young lady who accomplished so much in her younger age. This was the first time we met in person although we were virtually friends for over a year.



Nusrat Ara's picture

That is great. Hope you had a

That is great. Hope you had a good time at the event. Thanks for sharing.



Ruun Abdi's picture

Yea, I really had a great

Yea, I really had a great time, and met so many inspiring people.


usha kc's picture

Hi Ruun, Nice to know

Hi Ruun,
Nice to know that you are one of the participants:)enjoyed seeing pictures.
Thank for sharing .

Ruun Abdi's picture

Dearest Usha, Thanks for

Dearest Usha,

Thanks for taking the time to read it. It was really amazing and am so grateful that I was there.


Farona's picture

Love the photos! This must

Love the photos! This must have been an incredibly exciting experience for you. The discussion points raised is critical and requires participation, especially by awesome, inspiring women like you and Sah. I am overjoyed to see you shaping these crucial talks.<3

Ruun Abdi's picture

It was indeed a memorable and

It was indeed a memorable and exciting experience for me! Never had such a pleasure before to meet Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) members and tell them hey "This is your fault and these are others' faults" can you imagine how exciting it is! And on top of that I met Sah and couldnt even believe if it was a dream or reality wooow, how I wish you could have been there with us! Cant wait to meet you and other Pulsewire sisters in person.

Breese's picture

What an exciting and powerful

What an exciting and powerful conference! I too hope some sustainable solutions came out of it. That is so great that you met Sahra! It's always exciting to see these PulseWire connections be realized in person. Thank you for sharing, Ruun!

Ruun Abdi's picture

Thanks Breese, it was in fact

Thanks Breese, it was in fact one of the unforgettable moments in my life. And I hope will meet our Pulsewire sisters in person one day including YOU.

Breese's picture

I hope so too, that would be

I hope so too, that would be wonderful!

aminaxubby's picture

it was indeed a great

it was indeed a great experience and an opportunity for the somali women to contribute to the ongoing peace process. it was great meeting you marian.

Monica Clarke's picture

Hi Ruun

Hi Ruun,

Thanks for this inspiring article. I have taken a great satisfaction from the fact that wherever we are, we are able to tackle our common issues in the same way and to help each other with ideas.

Your piece particularly gives a very good pre-election idea, that is to push political parties to have specified quotas for women as a basic requirement - telling them we don't feel like voting for them if they don't do it before we vote..... Nice way to use Facebook isn't it!

And then, creating space and incentives for women to come out of their houses and contribute to society. Now this is an idea which fits right into what I hope we will get going in S Africa, in our schools. Thanks for echoing such an important point. I hope to be writing soon about the idea of unemployed women Classroom Assistants as a way to protect girl students from rape and sexual harrassment in schools.

The idea is that women with little or no education are encouraged to come for short workshops about child protection and how to give/write reports. Then they are put into classrooms to be with the girl students all day to make sure they are safe (they are not there to support teachers as is the usual role of Classroom Assistants). They also do home visits especially when the girls are absent from school. This gives the girls a person they can speak to at school if they are harrassed by teachers or other students.

It also gives employment opportunities if one can get the local education department to pay their expenses to start with, or find funding for this. Best of all, it gives the women a path into education and a way to becoming teachers themselves. I hope to do an article about this soon.

Meantime, keep up the good work. How lucky indeed that you met a PulseWire sister - this is an experience which I'm looking forward to!

Love and hugs from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

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