Somalia: Girls Push for Gender Development
Girls Association Advocacy for Rights (GAAR), Report on Gender Development in Somalia. Somalia is a small country with population of ten million and has lacked a powerful functioning government since 1991 when the military regime of Siad Bare was overthrown. For two decades the country has suffered from lawlessness and misery. As the first victims of conflict, women and young girls have born endemic rape and brutality at the hands of armed militia groups.
Somalis are originally a nomadic people who continue to practice inherited ideas and cultures. The importance placed on preserving what is perceived as ‘traditional’ greatly affects interactions between different community groups and family members and can be argued to have significantly hindered the fight for gender equality in Somalia.
Despite the best efforts of local and international NGO’s to build awareness of gender rights in Somalia, the number of people benefiting from their programs are relatively small. Beneficiaries also have very little opportunity to transmit their knowledge to the wider society. Further, the majority of gender development projects target older women and miss the opportunity of working with younger women who could benefit considerably from such programs.
The high levels of illiteracy among young women in Somalia make consciousness raising doubly difficult. It is extremely important that school age girls are exposed to the discourses surrounding the concept of gender equality and how it relates to their lives and to the lives of older women around them.
Established in 2002, The Girls Association Advocacy for Rights (GAAR) works to promote and protect the rights of Somali women through education, capacity building and employment. Cultural and religious barriers have meant continuous challenges to its work. Yet despite threats to the safety of its workers, GAAR continues to strive for a better future for the women and girls of Somalia.
For More information please see the GARR website below.
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