Media, Human Rights activists launch campaign to increase women participation in electoral process
Somali media practitioners and human rights activists have agreed to conduct nation-wide public awareness campaigns on women participation in the 2020/2021 electoral process. In support of the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) efforts to raise awareness about the electoral process, the Political Affairs Office of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in conjunction with the Protection, Human Rights and Gender Affairs Unit, organized a one-day workshop held in Mogadishu. Youth participants, women’s groups, human right activists as well as female journalists agreed on modalities to use to promote women participation in the electoral and political process. Sadia Shurie, who is Management and Finance Advisor at the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC), urged media reporting to be impartial, truthful and deliberately intended to create awareness on the importance of women participation in the electoral process. “NIEC has implemented a raft of measures to ensure equal participation of the youth and especially women in the available positions at NIEC. Twenty-four percent of NIEC staff both in Mogadishu and the regions are women. NIEC also conducts regular consultations to promote women participation in the electoral process,” she said. Muna Hassan Mohamed, who works as a Political Officer at AMISOM, underlined the importance of conducting nation-wide campaigns to sensitize women on the importance of their participation. “We agreed that sensitization, through the media, is key in making sure women are cognizant of their role in the electoral process. And as AMISOM, we act as facilitators to ensure success of the awareness campaigns,” Muna said. Hinda Dahir Jama, head of the Somali Women Free Press Association urged female journalists to take the lead in reporting about women participation in the electoral process. “Our discussions centred on how to best report on the elections, while focusing on aspiring women leaders through programming that shows how women are capable of running for elective positions,” Jama said. Ms. Mane Ahmed, Gender Officer, highlighted the need for Somali women to get the adequate knowledge on the electoral process so that they are able to fully participate and contribute to the process. Among the issues that the meeting discussed as key to achieving were building on the last achievement, gender equality and increased women participation in the upcoming elections, higher level advocacy forums to engage the ad-hoc committee and the NIEC, visibility for female candidates in the media.