International Women’s Day 2014

The 8th March is widely known as International women’s day. It’s a day in which the greater strength and will of women around the world are remember and honoured to ensure that the wider society takes note and learns from them. As women in Somalia are over 60% of the entire population, it is therefore even more vital to honour their contribution to the betterment and forwardness of the nation as a whole. Women in Somalia who for over two decades have faced hardships and struggles to survive a war torn nation have also been the ones to succumb to violence and injustices. They have had their will and rights taken from them and in majority of cases find themselves being ostracised from their own communities. The same communities they have worked so hard to protect and feed is the one that blocks their path to positive changes.

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As an organisation that works to improve the lives of women in Somalia, SWDC’s entire work staff scheduled themselves into two groups in order to commemorate this important day. The first team embarked on the role of honouring the strength of mothers and daughters at IDP camps to speak to the heart of the city itself and the other team participated in a national event held by the Minister for women and Human rights. The most vulnerable group are in most cases those who live at those camps and as we work to help them it is also a duty for us to embark on celebrating the positives that women have contributed there with them. Henceforth it was of no coincidence that the day was celebrated at one of the biggest IDP camps and located on the outskirts of the city. The camp known as Ex Al Cadala is in the Daynile district and houses 1000s of families’ majority of who have left their homes in different regions for one reason or another.

The event started at 7:58am at Ex Al Cadala IDP camp with majority of the participants being women and children. They sat and listened to speak Safiyo Abukar Sheikh Ali who is SWDC social worker; she spoke in length about the weight the day held and how vital it was we celebrated it. She asked participants to mention what it meant to be a woman in Somalia and what changes they wished to see.

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All the participants clapped and chanted slogans after the discussion and the women suggested partaking in traditional dances. One of the participants grabbed a plastic bottle and a stick to play the drum whilst two ladies got up and danced. The rest of the participants clapped and sang songs encouraging the dancers.

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After the dancing and singing the ladies left the event hall and walked outside their IDP camps still chanting slogans about women empowerment and encouraging each other to always be the force that drives their families and communities forward. SWDC team closed the event by asking the participants to stand in a long line for a final time and sing a last song to bid the day farewell.

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The second team from SWDC took part in commemorating this auspicious day at the police vehicle storage facility in the Abdiaziz district. The event which was held by the Minister for women and Human rights Mrs Khadija Mohamed Dirie was also attended by several dignitaries including the new mayor of Benadir region Mr Hassan Mohamed Hussein and other high level government members. It was commemorated by the attendance of several civil society members, sports teams, bands and other important members of society who all marched through the centre fields waving to the minister.

The event began with the marching participants from all sectors including district bands, civil society and prison guards who walked in draped in different colours. They chanted encouraging slogans and sang songs commending the strong women who continued to be an example for the nation. Those sat on terraces watched in awe and cheered for the different groups walking past. The stadium was filled with bright coloured dresses and women waving flags that showed their names and districts they hailed from.

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