Prolonged conflict has prevented Somalis in many regions from living together peacefully. Violence has often been used to gain power and resources, hindering the development of strong, unbiased and accountable state institutions, such as the police or the judiciary. Consequently, there are high levels of mistrust among communities, and between society and the state. Clans often resort to providing their own informal security, and armed fighters use violence to resolve disputes and assert their power.
Saferworld has worked with the Somali Women Development Centre, Somali Women Solidarity Organisation and Isha Human Rights Organization in three regions of Somalia –Banadir, Jubaland State and South West State – to tackle the mistrust that leads to violence and conflict within and between communities. We do this by supporting the creation of community groups, led by dedicated volunteers, that identify safety concerns affecting their communities, including for marginalised people such as internally displaced people. We then support these groups to work with security providers and government to find solutions to these concerns, and establish independent and sustainable ways of working.
We are worked with partners to establish state-level Police Advisory Committees, made up of civil society representatives, former police officers, lawyers and government officials. These committees visit police stations to assess their work and to feed back ideas for improvement. We use the evidence gathered from this process to make recommendations to improve policy – to create more accountable and inclusive institutions.
Our goal is to ensure these groups and communities are genuine partners to government, and influence the safety and security policies that affect their lives. We also aim to challenge traditional patriarchal attitudes towards the role of women by ensuring equal participation in our community and policy initiatives.