UN Women Somalia holds historic workshop for Civil Society Reference Group


Dr. Syed Sadiq Head of Un Women Somalia (left) and the CSO RG Chairperson Ms Asha Siyad (Centre) and the Co-Chair Abdukarin Kulane (right)Photo by Mohamed
From Left: Dr. Syed Sadiq Head of Un Women Somalia. CSO RG Chairperson Ms Asha Siyad and the Co-Chair Abdukarin Kulane. Photo: UN Women/Mohamed

In a groundbreaking stride towards promoting the women's peace and security agenda in Somalia, UN Women in coordination with the UN Joint Program partners, the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development (MoWHRD), and with active engagement of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), recently hosted the first workshop of the Civil Society Reference Group (WPS CSRG) members. The Civil Society Reference Group (WPS CS-RG) for Somalia is an institutional mechanism to harness civil society expertise. The WPS CS-RG is established through the Joint Program on Women, Peace, and Protection funded by the Peace Building Fund (PBF) and the Somalia Joint Fund (SJF).

In her welcome remarks, Sadia Noor, Gender Director of the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development (MoWHRD) congratulated the members for their selection and highlighted the important role to be played by the Reference Group in the government and CSO efforts in promoting women’s participation in peace processes and leadership.

CSO Reference Group
Members of the CSO Reference group pose for a picture at the workshop. Photo: UN Women/Mohamed

The WPS CS-RG is a group of 11 pre-eminent national experts on Women, Peace and Security, Leadership as well as on women’s rights more broadly. The WPS CS-RG will have a dual responsibility — as advisors to the Women, Peace, and Security Joint Program and as advocates and partners for the realization of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda in Somalia. It will support efforts at dissemination of the messages of the WPS program to the public, from the national to the community level, especially to marginalized groups, youth, and the media. It will also serve as an interactive space and open forum for dialogue between the WPS Joint Program and women’s rights organizations, groups, and networks working on WPS and Leadership, especially at the grassroots.

The WPS Joint Program intends to work closely with women’s movements and relevant human rights-based civil society organizations (CSOs) on the implementation of the WPS Program in a mutually supportive and reinforcing way, deploying, and building upon their vast knowledge and experience, developed at global, regional, national and community levels.

The one-day event held on 13th August 2023 at Airport Hotel in Mogadishu and virtually, not only provided a thorough understanding of the members' terms of reference but also marked the successful election of chairpersons, co-chairs, and nomination of two Reference Group members for participation in the WPP Joint Program Steering Committee. 

“This laid the foundation for an informed and engaged group ready to take on the monitoring and advocacy role on WPS ahead,” said Asha Siyad Abdule , Chairperson of the CSO RG.

“The two elected Co-Chairs will be reinforcing the commitment to inclusivity and representation. These representatives were tasked with driving the CSORG's agenda forward, joining their expertise and passion to bring about impactful change. The establishment of WPS CS-RG will strengthen the partnerships of Government, CSOs, and the United Nations and facilitate the effective implementation of the WPS Joint Program through consultations and will draw upon the rich and diverse expertise, experience, outreach, and networks, perspective and knowledge that civil society can offer,” said, Dr Syed Sadiq, Head of UN Women Somalia Office.

The workshop paved the way for the next phase of action, a two-day in-person meeting aimed at refining the work plan and planning monitoring missions to the field. Change is not only possible but inevitable when committed CSOs come together for a common cause.