Somalia

EU-funded project to combat gender-based violence launches in Somalia

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Trócaire, the European Union and our local partner SEDHURO have marked International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation by launching a new project to combat Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the Belet Hawa and Luuq districts of the Gedo region in Somalia.

The two-year project (2021-2022) aims at creating a safe environment for women and girls, free from SGBV, while promoting access to their rights. It has two main components: behaviour change interventions to abandon Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and empowerment of community actors and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for sustainable change.

The Government of Somalia has committed to zero tolerance for female genital mutilation in its national development plan. The Somali Women’s Charter also calls for laws to end FGM.

“The EU has always been a steadfast supporter of women’s rights, and more specifically when it comes to combatting Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation practices, said the EU Ambassador to Somalia, Nicolás Berlanga Martinez. It conflicts with the most fundamental human rights. We will continue to support Somalia in its efforts to adopt zero tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.”

“Trócaire has been present in Gedo Region since 1992 when the civil war broke out, providing health services to the community. As community leaders, we affirm our support to this intervention in partnership with Trócaire and all stakeholders”, said Hussein Awil, the Luuq District Health Board chairman.

“A Women Empowerment Programme such as this is unprecedented in the Gedo region. Sustainable change in social norms must be rooted in community-led actions, which this project will place emphasis on. This community-led approach has been Trócaire’s way of working in Somalia for decades”, said Paul Healy, Trócaire Country Director in Somalia.

“The Luuq Women Group is committed to working with Trócaire throughout the project, and we will aim to strengthen the women group’s advocacy capacity by participating actively in capacity building sessions and by taking advantage of other opportunities provided within this project”, said Shamsa Maalim, Luuq District Women Group Chairwoman.

The project, called ‘Facilitating Inclusive Rights Movements’ Actions in Communities to combat Sexual and Gender Based Violence (FIRM ACTS Project), is one of several initiatives that address the widespread issues of SGBV and FGM in Somalia funded by the EU through the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights. It will adopt a human rights and community based approach to address the root causes of SGBV, and aims to combat harmful norms while promoting women’s agency to claim their rights. It will support CSOs, communities and authorities to harmonize their approaches and support national policies and action plans to combat SGBV.