Linked with renewal.
She says: “We want to move to a country that treats us like human beings, where we can live in freedom … Ask anyone, we can’t send our children to school. The one job we (women) are allowed to do here is be a cleaner”.
And: “The Egyptian government will never help. The U.N. just stood by. If there’s no solution we will all have to just kill ourselves. This is the final solution, so that world knows it’s impossible to live like this”.
Fawzia Adam – Somalia (Somaliland *)
She works with RAAD.uk
Born in 1962 to an upper middle class family in the Galgaduud region of Somalia, Ms Asha Hagi Elmi Amin had more opportunities than many of her fellow countrywomen. She did not let them pass her by unused. In 1986 she completed an Economics degree at the Somalia National University (SNU), and by 1991 she had a Masters in Management and Organisational Development and a Masters in Business Administration from the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya.
Even as a student, her leadership skills were obvious and she was elected Chairperson of the SNU Student Association. As a post-graduate she accepted a position in the Somali government’s Ministry of Finance but served only for a short period. Her commitment to peace and gender issues compelled her to switch to the civil society sector where she has remained since 1992. Ever since the formation of Save the Somali Women and Children (SSWC), Ms Elmi has distinguished herself as a peace activist. Through the organisation’s programmes and her own initiatives 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. Ms Elmi firmly believes that women’s contributions will advance peace and further political processes, and ensure Somalia’s development as a stable, democratic and competitive state. For more than a decade she has devoted herself to advocating for 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, promoting women’s rights, and improving women’s living conditions in Somalia. In 1992, Ms Elmi, together with a core group of women intellectuals comprising a cross-section of the community, bound themselves in an organisational commitment that became Save the Somali Women and Children (SSWC). The group’s belief in Ms Elmi’s leadership prompted them to work towards achieving her dream of enhancing women’s participation in the Somali peace process. Under Ms Elmi’s leadership, SSWC has been crucial to the formation of the Sixth Clan, and thereby to women’s participation in the peace process. On 29 January 2004, after eighteen days of intense negotiations, Somalia’s main warlords and sector leaders signed a landmark all-inclusive peace agreement. Ms Elmi also signed the peace agreement on behalf of civil society, making it the first time in Somali history that such an agreement had been signed by a woman. Through Ms Elmi’s vision, women have become full partners in the peace process and steps have been taken to ensure women’s full and equal participation in the future of Somalia. Besides her tremendous achievement in engendering the peace process, Ms Elmi has, since June 2001, chaired the Somalia-National Committee (NC) on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)/Harmful Traditional Practices (HPT), incorporated into the Inter African Committee on FGM/HTP by 31 NCs and eight affiliates. Of the 31 NCs, the Somalia-NC has the highest incidence of FGM/HTP to address. The Somalia-NC is led by a nine-member committee of prominent personalities from all sectors of society. Committee members are elected for their knowledge, experience and capacity to effect change. Their vision is an FGM-free environment for the girl child in Somalia and they seek to achieve this through campaigns at the national level. Staunch advocacy and volunteer services have been provided to the campaign on Zero tolerance to FGM/HTP practice in Somalia. A drop in FGM practice (around 5 – 7%) has been observed in the last two years. In recognition of her exemplary life as a woman of peace, Ms Elmi has received a variety of awards including the 2003 Peace Appreciation Prize awarded by Community Concern Somalia. (Read all on Femmes Africa Solidarite).
After completing a BA in Education in Sudan in 1971 she embarked on a brilliant and fully rewarding diplomatic career. Her career led her to Moscow, Washington, Berlin and Addis Ababa, where she served as Associate Social Officer in the United Nations Commission for Africa, and specifically the African Centre for Women. In 1981, while working for the Somali Embassy in Washington D.C., she successfully completed a Master of International Public Policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. The result of these international experiences is a deep expertise in the field of management, research and training, public relations, international relief activities particularly for refugees and war victims, social development and international relations. Very active in mobilizing international relief efforts for refugees and war victims, she founded SOMAID in 1988, an NGO focusing on education, for which she has been the Executive Director until 1994. She is also founder of several other grassroots groups dealing with sustainable development issues, refugee affairs and human rights in the Horn of Africa, among them REFAID UIC and the Association of Somali Women Advancement. To further develop her expertise and interest in education, she established several training centers for women in Ethiopia and Somalia, and several Child Care Centers for children in Somalia.(Read on ZOOMinfo).
* Remark in polnish with the picture: Somaliland-18.V.1991 r. Somalijski Ruch Narodowy (SNM) jednostronnie proklamował niepodległą (od Somalii) Republikę Somaliland na obszarze byłego protektoratu brytyjskiego, nie uznaną przez społeczność międzynarodową. Somaliland ma swojego prezydenta, ministrów i posłów, których regularnie wybiera w wolnych wyborach. Ma stolicę – stutysięczną Hargeisę – konstytucje, walutę, armię, policję i poborców podatkowych. (see on the
polnish Smolecki Serwis Internetowy).
First International Conference on The Role of Woman and Family in Human Development.