SomalilandPress-Hargeisa, 24 March 2014 – UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, has launched its first programme strategy and document for Somaliland. UN Women will intensify its engagement in Somaliland and work with government authorities, civil society organizations, UN sister agencies and other stakeholders towards facilitating space for Somali women and girls.

The three-year strategy (2014-2016) outlines UN Women’s priorities around four key areas: women’s political participation, women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women and governance and national planning. In order to effectively implement this strategy, UN Women will open an office in Hargeisa consisting of national and international personnel, including programme, administrative and operational staff.

“Women are the backbone of the Somaliland economy and play a central role in peacebuilding. We welcome UN Women in Somaliland and are pleased to witness the launch of the three-year strategy for Somaliland. The Government of Somaliland is committed to providing any support UN Women may need and looks forward to a fruitful collaboration,” the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Mohamoud Ahmed Barre said at the launch event in Hargeisa.

In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women has been actively operating in Somaliland since 2011, providing suitable technical and financial support and forging effective partnerships with national and regional women machineries and civil society organizations.

By increasing its engagement in Somaliland, UN Women recognizes a simple truth: equality for women and girls is not only a basic human right, it is also a social and economic imperative. Where women are educated and empowered, economies are more productive and strong. Where women are fully represented, societies are more peaceful and stable. Nonetheless, Somali women and girls suffer from violence and discrimination and are under-represented in decision-making processes. A lack of access to good medical services continues to constitute a serious problem, especially in rural areas.

“Gender equality and the empowerment of women are one of the United Nations’ top priorities in Somaliland — from working to end gender-based violence, to giving women a stronger voice in politics, to supporting women in strongly participating in the economic development and reduce maternal mortality rates,” said UN Women Regional Director Christine Musisi.

By increasing its presence in Somaliland, UN Women will leverage its role as interlocutor between civil society and the Government, increasing knowledge and capacities available for public institutions and stakeholders on gender-related issues. Technical resources will also be accessible to other UN agencies and development partners to catalyze democratic processes, complement and ensure the coherence of efforts on the ground, and the translation of commitments to gender equality into policies and actions at the national and regional level.


For more information:


  • Paola Foschiatto, UN Women Programme Manager


·         Pauline Magawi, UN Women Programme Officer