Somali Solutions: Creating conditions for a gender-just peace | Somalia | Violence

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This report looks at Somali women’s experiences with conflict, peace, violence, insecurity and state rebuilding. It uses an approach geared towards gender-just peace-building to understand the ways in which Somali women have fulfilled their role as agents of change, while navigating the challenges posed by women’s exclusion from many forms of public life (government, civil society, universities, open markets etc). Interviews and focus groups have been used to illustrate diverse perspectives and to demonstrate that Somali women have always been principal agents of change and social transformation. The report’s recommendations are an acknowledgement of the role Somali women have played throughout the course of Somali history, and continue to play today, in shaping the pathway towards greater participation for women across Somali regions, and the challenges they face in so doing.
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  OXFAM RESEARCH REPORTS AUGUST 2015 Oxfam Research Reports are written to share research results, to contribute to public debate and to invite feedback on development and humanitarian policy and practice. They do not necessarily reflect Oxfam policy positions. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Oxfam. www.oxfam.org   Somali women and men discussing gender and livelihoods issues. Photo: WARDI/Oxfam SOMALI SOLUTIONS Creating conditions for a gender-just peace Dr Siham Rayale, Ed Pomfret and Deborah Wright This report looks at Somali women’s experiences with conflict, peace, violence, insecurity and state rebuilding. It uses an approach geared towards gender-just peace-building to understand the ways in which Somali women have fulfilled their role as agents of change, while navigating the challenges posed by women’s exclusion from many forms of public life (government, civil society, universities, open markets etc). Interviews and focus groups have been used to illustrate diverse perspectives and to demonstrate that Somali women have always been principal agents of change and social transformation. The report’s recommendations are an acknowledgement of the role Somali women have played throughout the course of Somali history, and continue to play today, in shaping the pathway towards greater participation for women across Somali regions, and the challenges they face in so doing.    Somali Solutions: Creating conditions for a gender-just peace 2 CONTENTS Executive Summary 4   1 Introduction and Methodology 5   2 Historical Overview 8   3 Perceptions on Peace and Security: The Current Situation 13   4 Conclusions and Recommendations 23   Bibliography 25   Endnotes 26    Somali Solutions: Creating conditions for a gender-just peace 3  ABBREVIATIONS CSO  – civil society organization FGDs  – focus-group discussions FGS  – Federal Government of Somalia IDPs  – internally displaced people  NGO  – non-government organization SGBV  – sexual and gender-based violence SNM  – Somali National Movement VAW  – violence against women  Somali Solutions: Creating conditions for a gender-just peace 4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report seeks to emphasize the status of Somali women throughout the various transformations of Somali society and culture. Through examining those factors that affect Somali statehood and state building, such as culture and tradition, as well as the impact of historical events from colonial to military rule and ongoing civil war, it is evident that Somali women have not been passive observers to these processes but are, in many cases, active participants and pioneers of change and revolution. Within this context, the report documents, through numerous interviews with Somali women, the ways in which the civil war and subsequent peace processes have created opportunities for increased participation of Somali women in public spaces. Crucially, the report also assesses the significant challenges that peace processes have posed, and continue to pose, for Somali women, including a lack of visibility in official peace and governance processes, the threat of sexual violence, and limited educational and economic opportunities. ‘ There is no such thing as protection in Somalia’ Zahra Mohamed Ahmed (Legal Advisor, Somali Women Development Center)  The levels of violence experienced by women in Somalia present an often insurmountable obstacle to participation in decision-making spaces, and as such constitute an ongoing violation of women’s rights. Further exacerbating this structural exclusion is the lack of government and security sector capacity and accountability to address the protection of women. ‘Security is viewed as a male business’  Abdi Aynte (Former Director of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies)  The lives of men and women are affected by war and conflict in very different ways, with women particularly adversely affected by conflict, and largely excluded from the (formal) decision-making structures that govern peace-building and conflict transformation. These challenges are linked to and compounded by the patriarchal norms represented in community and clan structures. ‘There is resentment among men at the state of society, especially their lack of opportunities. They [men] are seeking to protect their position through clan influence and political positions and see women as competition and resent them for that.’ Nafisa Yusuf Mohamed (Executive Director, Nagaad)  This statement brings to light the importance of incorporating men from a range of positions in society in line with a gender aware peace-building process that brings women’s experiences to the forefront. Furthermore, it emphasizes the need for a better understanding of how to address traditional concepts of masculinity and femininity in this process.
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