The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has today reiterated its commitment to strengthen gender mainstreaming in Somalia’s peace processes ahead of Somalia’s 2016 elections, and ultimately contribute to the protection of women, girls, boys and men in Somalia with the presentation of its finalized Gender Mainstreaming Strategy.
A stakeholders workshop was held in Mogadishu to discuss how to make this a reality, with participants including AMISOM Deputy Head of Mission Hon. Lydia Wanyoto, the Attorney General of Somalia Dr. Dahir Ahmed, AMISOM Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics Maj. Gen Nakibus Lakara, the AMISOM Police Commissioner Anand Pillay, Hon. Mariam Moalim, the Chair of the Women Caucus of Somalia, Gen. Mohamed Abdulle Dore, Representing the Somalia National Police Force at the workshop, the Director General Mohamed Omar from the Ministry of Women&Human Rights and Kwezi Mngqibisa, the ACCORD Coordinator, Somalia Project Initiative, among others.
The workshop sought to increase awareness of the gender strategy both among AMISOM and Somali government officials, identify entry points through which the validated gender strategy will be implemented, define the roles of different stakeholders as well as develop an implementation plan for the strategy.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, the Deputy Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson for Somalia (DSRCC) Lydia Wanyoto said gender mainstreaming will go a long way in enhancing the rights of girls and women and other vulnerable persons.
“The African Union remains highly committed to taking concrete actions in implementing the African Union Gender Policy and ensure the advancement and protection of women rights, including Somali women and girls,” Lydia Wanyoto said.
The Somali Attorney General Dr. Dahir Ahmed noted that this strategy will be essential in combatting gender-based violence, adding that his office is already leading the campaign.
“In our office we have zero tolerance for such crimes as rape, domestic violence, child molestation, forced marriages, all forms of bad conduct are prohibited,” Dr. Dahir Ahmed said.
The African Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), organized the workshop together with AMISOM. Kwezi Mngqibisa, the ACCORD Coordinator, Somalia Project Initiative noted, “our gathering here today is about consolidating the effort of ensuring that the peace that we seek is that which ensures that women and their participation are central in the effort”.
The validated strategy is meant to strengthen the capacity of AMISOM to respond to gender issues in Somalia and will culminate in an implementation plan. Hon. Mariam Moalim, Somali Member of Parliament welcomed the initiative as timely.
“I fully agree that without peace the disabled people, the minority people, the women and children suffer the most. This strategy is very important for restoration of those rights that have been lost,” Hon. Mariam Moalim said.
AMISOM recognized the contribution of some key stakeholders who played a major role in the drafting of the mission Gender Mainstreaming Strategy by awarding them with Certificates of Recognition.