Gender Mainstreaming is the process of systematically incorporating gender perspectives into areas of work and assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programs.
It is a strategy for making women’s and men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.
The Academy for Peace and Development has been instrumental in engaging women in the processes of peace and state building to promote and better incorporate their voices in the nation’s institutional development. Therefore, Gender mainstreaming strategy is not an end in itself but a means to create conditions for increasing women’s participation in decision-making processes
Women in peace building
Resolution 1325 was the first UN Security Council Resolution to be passed that specifically addresses women’s roles in conflicts and peace processes, as well as the impacts of war on women was passed across the world on October 31, 2000. As many international and UN organizations have developed their programs and engaged in peace processes, Resolution 1325 remains the keystone for any peace building work aimed at the inclusion and protection of women.
With the support of Interpeace, the Academy for Peace and Development succeed in providing series trainings of conflict management and mediation tools for Women Peace Activists in Togdher Region in 2010. These endeavours led to the increased capacity of the group in contributing to the mediation of emerging conflicts in Togdheer region. The Peace Activists participated in the mediation process of Kalshale conflict; they travelled to the conflicted areas and met with women from the two conflict parties to encourage them to stop the fight and talk to their husbands, brothers, and fathers. They also contributed financially to the mediation process.
Political participation of women
The constitution of Somaliland in Article 22 states that “Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the political, economic, social and cultural affairs in accordancewith the laws and the Constitution”. Based on this, women and men have equal rights to political participation, to form political parties and to be nominated for political leadership. However, women’s representation in politics and decision-making in Somaliland is very low. The aim of the Pillars of Peace ll project is to further propel women in spheres they would not traditionally take part in. The project hopes to increase women’s political participation and in addition to that promote the capacity of women’s organizations in all regions of Somaliland. Recently, the level of political activity undertaken by women is increasing and it’s obvious in the last local elections in 2012, where 140 women were contesting out of 2, 368 candidates. The Academy of peace and Development raised the importance of women’s political participation and supported these candidates especially those in the regions by implementing series of forums that highlighted the value of having women councillors in the local government. Out of the 140 candidates only 10 women secured seats in local council which is relatively high comparing to the 2002 local elections where only 2 women won seats.
Capacity building of local women organization
One of the main objectives of the Pillars of Peace Program is to transfer peace building capacity to the Somaliland people and to women and youth in particular.
Therefore, the Academy efficiently designed capacity building activities in the form of sensitization workshops, focus group discussions, neighbourhood meetings, and regional forums. Participants of these initiatives were members of gender-oriented NGOs and Community Based Organisations, and were enthusiastically involved in different community activities such as awareness raising campaigns towards women’s role in the community development committees, political rights for women
Gender Advisory Committee
The Academy for Peace and Development established Gender Advisory Committee consisting of individuals from the five districts of Hargeisa with the intention of assessing present circumstances through information sharing and analysis, and identification of key local, regional and national actors. By the use of consultations and interviewees with their constituents, the advisory group will tackle issues, such as factors hindering women from participating in decision making processes.