UN Somalia holds 2023 Gender Theme Group Retreat


UN Somalia GTG Group photo
Members of UNCT Somalia Gender Theme Group pose for a group photo at the team retreat in Safari Park Hotel Nairobi on 17th July 2023 (Photo: UN Women/Adelaide Malweyi)

The UN Somalia Gender Theme Group (GTG) Retreat, held in July 2023, was a remarkable blend of insightful discussions, team building, and strategizing for promoting gender equality in Somalia. 

The retreat kicked off with a deep dive into the gender theme group's annual work plan for 2022–2023, where the participants engaged in assessing the implementation of the Bi-annual work plan and documentation of lessons to guide the development of the 2024-2025 work plan aligned to the UN Cooperation Framework, Humanitarian Development Plan, and the National Development Plan-9 whose goal is to reduce poverty and inequality through inclusive economic growth and employment, improved security and rule of law and strengthened political stability. The retreat adopted the Humanitarian, Development, and Peace Triple Nexus in driving the GTG agenda. the retreat sessions focused on the key initiatives aimed at advancing gender equality and inclusivity. Through spirited conversations, the group fostered an environment where diverse perspectives converged to shape actionable goals to be pursued collectively in the coming years. 

GTG members in group discussions during the retreat. Photo: UN Women/Adelaide Malweyi
GTG members in group discussions during the retreat. Photo: UN Women/Adelaide Malweyi

The importance of teamwork and collaboration was evident throughout the retreat, especially during the engaging team-building exercises. Attendees were united as a group to partake in various challenges designed to enhance communication, trust, and problem-solving skills. While most of the strategic thematic sessions organized indoors through group work, the outdoor adventures facilitated thought-provoking discussions in which, participants emerged with a deeper appreciation for their colleagues and a renewed sense of unity in pursing the common goals. 

One of the pivotal discussions centered around the promotion of accountability on gender equality commitments through implementation of the scorecard exercise. Recognizing the significance of measuring progress, participants engaged in thoughtful conversations about developing a comprehensive scorecard to track the UN system contributions and impact. This exercise not only underscores accountability but also empowers the group to fine-tune strategies based on measurable results, ensuring their efforts leading to tangible positive change. 

Dr Syed Sadiq, Head of UN Women Somalia Office emphasized on the significance of UN accountability frameworks and tools, which include UNCT System wide Action Plan (SWAP), Gender Equality Scorecard, Gender, and Age Marker and called for GTG collective support to implementation of the new Cooperation Framework. 

UN Somalia GTG members engage in team building exercises during the retreat. Photo: UN Women/Adelaide Malweyi

The retreat also featured insightful guest speakers from UN Women Headquarters and field offices, who shared their experiences and perspectives on various aspects of gender equality and empowerment. Their wealth of practical experiences helped participants understand the relevant thematic areas, ignited meaningful conversations and encouraged attendees to approach their work with renewed vigor. 

As the retreat ended, participants left with a stronger sense of camaraderie, a clearer roadmap for the future, and a commitment to effecting change in the realm of gender equality. While commending the UN GTG members’ role within the UN System, George Conway, DSRSG/RC/HC for Somalia while delivering the closing remarks called for GTG oversight and technical support to the mid-term review of the UN Cooperation Framework and strengthening the coordination system on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Somalia.