Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation
Based in Mogadishu, theSomali Women Development Centre (SWDC,) is a non-governmental and non-profit making organization working to improve the situation of women in Somalia. The Somali Women Development Centre strives to minimize the number of women who are subjected to violence by empowering them through access to knowledge and greater economic independence as well as strengthening them socially by improving their standard of living and thereby that of their families as well. Staff from SWDC attended the WELDD training on Public and Political Participation held in Banjul, the Gambia in March 2014. Sagal Sheikh-Al, Programme Coordinator at SWDC got in touch to tell us about their commemoration of International Peace Day after attending the workshop.
More from Sagal is available here
Her account on SWDC's commemoration of the International Day of the Girl can be found here
As part of the “Right of Peoples to Peace”,International Day of Peace 2014, the Somali Women Development Centre (SWDC), reinforced the values of peace and stability for the protection of human rights in Somalia. Across 3 events, the SWDC encouraged 500 participates including religious elders, camp leaders, disabled persons, women, men, youth and children to share their experiences about war and conflict and their contribution towards peace building and stability.
The first event focused on Community mobilization for peace and religious awareness. The majority of participants were themselves survivors of the conflict in Somalia, facing a great deal of trauma following displacement from their home towns. Having come to live in camps, their involvement in the peace process was evident by the way they created a loving environment.
“If there was peace in my area, I would not come here. I got used to this life, being displaced for almost 20 years. Still there is no sign of peace but I have seen women coming together to celebrate the International Day of Peace,” said Asha, 42-year-old mother of 5 children displaced from Bardale.
“I have never seen peace, but I am on my way to seek peace morally and in action, by sensitizing my siblings and all the other neighbors”, said a 12 year old girl.
One of the local religious leaders together with the Quranic School (Madrasah) teachers also delivered a speech to highlight the importance of peace, co-existence and tolerance in Islam.
During the second set of activities, children participated in the peace celebrations by expressing themselves through writings and drawings. Their feelings towards peace and stability and the meaning it has for them in Somalia, was highlighted through such drawings as a bird carrying peace messages, beautiful flowers or police officers.
Traditional Somali dance and poems were also incorporated during the event for peace. Women and girls from the camp performed wonderful traditional Somali dances such as “Hugorow” and “Surow”. Some participants also chanted the famous Somali poem “Buraabur” (which is mainly sung by females). One of the female attendants said: “without representation of women, Somalia will not have sustainable peace and stability’.