Elmi Asha Hagi Amin – Somalia

Linked with Gender as a Tool in Building Peace, with Somalia – profiles, facts and reports; with Save Somali Women and Children SSWC, with Women defending Peace Conference, and with Women Peacemakers Program WWP.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She is a Visiting Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Member of Transitional Parliament of Somalia, Founder of Save Somali Women and Children SSWC, and Chairperson of The Sixth Clan.

Conference: “The Experience of Somali Women in Peace Building and Political Participation Amid Conflicts”, with Hon. Mde. Asha Hagi Elmi Amin, Sunday, October 8, 2:00-4:00 p.m., at the Fluno Center for Executive Education, 601 University Ave., Madison WI 53715 (USA). Come for an Intimate Sunday Afternoon Gathering for Coffee and Conversation. Details on speakers, agenda and registration for the Women’s Executive Leadership Summit are available by calling Mary Corbett at (608) 441-7330. (See on Tempo International).
She says: “Have one voice, and one interest as women”.

Elmi Asha Hagi Amin - Somalia redim 50p.jpg

Elmi Asha Hagi Amin – Somalia

She works for ‘Save the Somali Women and Children’ SSWC.

Women’s summit features Somali peace-builder: The Hon. Mde. Asha Hagi Elmi Amin, a member of Somalia’s transitional parliament, founder of Save Somali Women and Children and chair of the Sixth Clan, will be a featured speaker at the Women’s Executive Leadership Summit on Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Fluno Center for Executive Education, 601 University Ave., Madison. Elmi, a 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, will speak about her relentless work to empower women and advance their political participation in the Somali peace process.

The Women’s Executive Leadership Summit provides female leaders with strategies and skills to drive change and success in their professional and personal lives. The fourth annual conference attracts CEOs, vice presidents, C-level executives and high-potential executives from across Wisconsin and the United States. The conference runs Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 4-6, and is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business and the Center for Advanced Studies in Business Inc.

The conference will focus on issues such as gender bias, intergenerational communication, public service and philanthropy, finding and fostering leadership, and diversity and inclusion, as well as featuring exemplary women leaders sharing their personal and professional perspectives. The conference features nationally known experts such as Saj-nicole Joni, author of “The Third Opinion”; Ray Dempsey, vice president, British Petroleum; Jonas Prising, president-North America, Manpower Inc.; and Tashia Morgridge, philanthropist and president, TOSA Foundation.

Details on speakers, agenda and registration for the Women’s Executive Leadership Summit are available by calling Mary Corbett at (608) 441-7330. (See the University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Born in 1962 in the Galgaduud region of Somalia, Elmi Asha Hagi Amin had more opportunities than many of her fellow countrywomen. Since the formation of Save the Somali Women and Children (Sswc), Asha Elmi has distinguished herself as a peace activist. She has invested her education and skills to advocate for women’s participation in decision-making and to empower women from all walks of life.

Asha Elmi has been an important liaison with the Somali peace process teams.There was an intelligent and beautiful girl who lost her parents at the beginning of the civil war. Between the ages of 14 and 16, she was married six times, until she became well known under the nickname “the divorcee”. At 16, Fauzia was persuaded to join a free one-year computer-training course provided by the Save the Somali Women and Children (SSWC) Centre. She graduated in early 2003. Now Fauzia, who works as a secretary in a private business, has regained her self-confidence and leads a life full of prospects.

The driving power behind SSWC is Elmi Asha Hagi Amin. Her work includes both national and grassroots level components. As the key representative of women in the Somali peace process, she is regularly involved in national peace conferences and negotiations. Because of her political vision, she neither represents a single clan nor a specific region, but a wide array of women from across the nation.

Asha firmly believes that women’s contributions will advance peace and political processes, and ensure Somalia’s development as a stable, democratic and competitive state.

For more than a decade she has devoted herself to encourage Somali women to exercise their rights in peace negotiation and political decision-making. She has worked incessantly in pursuing viable peace for her country, engendering the peace process and promoting women’s rights and living conditions in Somalia. As part of her SSWC leadership position, she mobilizes women at a local level and she invests a good part of her time in grassroots projects that empower women, some of which she personally funds. The most obvious beneficiaries of her work are women, and specifically Somali women. Her long years of advocating women’s participation in decision making have paved the way for the women coming after her. While still limited, women have won access to decision-making levels, both through the Sixth Clan and the 12% quota currently in place for the future Somali government. There are five clans in the country, but Asha lobbied for women to be represented independently as the sixth clan* during the Djibouti talks in 2000.

Through the SSWC Centre, women receive training and education, which includes literacy, computer skills and practical skills like tailoring. Asha’s leadership in the Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia Campaign has increased awareness of the issue and pressured society to take appropriate measures. Her involvement in all these initiatives has created a more supportive environment for women in Somalia and capacitated them in their own right.

Because of her unique approach to negotiation, the entire Somali peace process has been enriched. To date Somalia has attempted to reconcile its factions under fourteen different peace processes. They have all proved ineffective, as the men were deeply divided among clans and competing interests. Not one voice could be heard that spoke of the interests of the Somali nation as a whole. That is, until the Sixth Clan became involved. Much progress has been achieved since the creation of the Sixth Clan in 2000.

Replying to Asha’s call to “have one voice, and one interest as women”, women have united across ethnic and geographic lines. They have spoken from a different, more inclusive point of view. They mediate between clans, they work to reconcile factions that threaten to walk out. For them, peace is the only real solution and a majority have remained faithful to that vision. For the first time in years peace appears to be a viable option, largely because women, under Ashas’s leadership, are holding it together.

All members were targeted, but she received a disproportionate part of the smear campaign. Among other things, she was regularly subjected to public vilification and death threats. Her current place in society attests to her strong character, her unblemished reputation and her ability to overcome the hostilities directed at her. Her past experience has also left her stronger to face the long road still ahead for the country’s peace process.

Advocating women’s human rights in Somalia was once considered a risky and challenging task. SSWC’s achievements and popularity have changed that. Both women and men have been motivated to involve themselves in the activities of organizations working for women’s human rights in Somalia. To date, twelve organizations have developed and grown, and SSWC is no longer the only civil society organization working. (Read all on 1000peacewomen).

Asha Hagi Elmi Amin, WAPPP Fellow (Fall 2005), Asha Hagi Elmi Amin is a member of Somalia’s transitional parliament, founder of Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC), and chairperson of the Sixth Clan, a Somali women’s network. When women were excluded from the peace process in Somalia, Amin united them across clan lines under the umbrella of the Sixth Clan to give them a voice in local and national decision-making. Due in large part to Amin’s efforts, 22 Somali women currently serve in the national parliament. In January 2004, Amin was the only woman to co-chair the final phase of the Somali National Reconciliation Conference and the first woman to sign the peace accord. Amin holds a B.A. in Economics from the Somalia National University and a M.B.A. from the US International University in Nairobi, Kenya. (See on WAPPP Fellows 2005-2006).

* About the Sixth Clan: After a number of unsuccessful Peace and National Reconciliation Conferences for restoration of stability in Somalia, the first all inclusive and civil society-centered conference was called in May 1999 by IGAD at Arta, Djibouti.
Clan based allocations became the agreed mode of participation, where each of the 5 main clans in Somalia were acquainted as a stakeholders. But, due to patriarchal believe such arrangements gives no space to women which makes 52% of the total population. Then, we (women) registered our reservation and floated our proposal on the “Sixth Clan” for an independent women’s participation and identity in the national conference. And, finally the women’s concern was accommodated and from there we became equal participants in the conference decision-making process.
Impact: – Women’s voice is heard and role in the conference appreciated – Space for women human rights in the national document – Affirmative action quota of 25 slots for women representation in the Federal Parliament. (See on Femme Globale / Elmi Amin Asha Hagi).

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