Monday Feb 08 (SomalilandPress)-Female religious leaders have taken a central role in the fight against AIDS in Somalia. This follows a series of trainings recently conducted by local organizations, with support from UNDP.

In Somaliland, UNDP supported four training events for female religious leaders in Hargeisa, Borama, Berbera and Buroa, in collaboration with the Somaliland HIV/AIDS Network and the Somaliland AIDS Commission. These trainings increased their knowledge on HIV and AIDS and placed female religious leaders at the forefront of community-based advocacy and awareness raising. Using the Compassion in Action toolkit developed by UNDP’s HIV/AIDS Regional Programme in the Arab States, the female religious leaders were sensitized about key issues: misconceptions that increase the chances of contracting HIV; stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV; and the important role that religious leaders and community members play in helping to reduce the number of new HIV infections and caring for the sick. They were also equipped with messages from the Koran that support the fight against HIV and AIDS.

These trainings helped to develop common messages on prevention, treatment, care and support for people living with HIV, which will be disseminated during Friday prayer meetings.

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Tradition and religion are strongly linked in the Somali community. Therefore, religious leaders have a great responsibility in leading the fight against HIV/AIDS and advocating for shared communal responsibility in addressing the primary socio-cultural and behavioural risks associated with the spread of HIV. Their open interaction with their congregations can enable them to inform and educate members and encourage positive change regarding sensitive issues related to sexuality, which are often not discussed by the community members.

The trainings were attended by over 100 female religious Leaders drawn from different parts of Somaliland.

Training in South Central Somalia was conducted towards the end of 2009 and sensitized participants on the basic principles of Behaviour Change Communication. The trainings also brought together religious leaders and participants who had been trained under the Behaviour Change Communication Peer Educator project. The aim is to strengthen community outreach work among the various groups in the region.

By December 2009, over 800 religious leaders had been trained using a specific toolkit designed to equip religious leaders to become ‘agents of change’ in the response to HIV and AIDS. In addition, 240 religious leaders were trained using the Behaviour Change Communication toolkit.



  1. AIDS and HIV shouldn't have been in somaliland in the first place. All these because some idiots can't and wouldn't control their nops especially all the Qaad (Kat) addicts who on their way to somaliland from europe make a short stop in ethiopia where they picked up these killer diseases and then pass 'em over to their wives. If i had the power, i would have set up a death camp for these dudes until the end of their woefully lives.

    One big clue is that, we neglected our duties religiously and morally, thereore we deserve to get the worst of the worst.

    God bless the dead.

  2. It is not only sex that cause the HIV&AIDS. This is where we are all wrong.

    There are other factors and once it is gone then it will spread like a wild fire. Let's not turn our eyes blind and face the reality.

  3. Somali community should stop denying the HIV present in Somaliland and Somalia. It was just 8 years ago when some of us argued hiv has no place in Muslim communities. It is a time for prevention regardless of who brought it. If HIV has treatment it would be same like other human disease, unfortunately it has nothing to fight it accept some medications that slow it down. Anyone who has this should be register in medical organization and should take prevention as well.

    Those who already has it need to be told it is important for them to stay away from others. In the west, anyone who has hiv is required to tell others before contact with others. There was one woman who told her parter after and she found herself in legal problem. I understand that they didn't bought it and Allah may help them at the sametime, they need to have same responsibility to prevent. Hiv spead very quickly.

    No need to blame anyone including those Somalilanders from abroad through Ethopia since Ethopian are going back and for from Adis to Berbera. You don't see those who sleep in Hargesa, Borama and Burco hotels. It's very difficult to no who has and who is bringing it.

  4. People need to have moral sense and self-control to avoid getting HIV/AID. Although, we are Muslim and being sexually active before marriage is "Xaraam", laakiin, haddii aad belowdo oo basarku kaa ha laabo, isbasri! Haddii aad cudurkan qabtona dadka ha qaadsiin. Waa gariimad caddaan ah.