Somalia continues to suffer chronic instability and violence. Women and girls are often disproportionately affected by this violence, and experience unique struggles and obstacles in comparison to men. Since October of 2021, Albany has been working to help Somali women and girls feel a greater sense of security through the HMG-funded ‘Women to Women Security’ project that aims to increase female voices in security-related decision-making.
To achieve its goal, the Women to Women Security project pursues two parallel training strands with two specific audiences: Somali security sector actors and Somali community members, particularly women.
Security sector actors will receive gender-sensitivity training to help them better understand women’s security priorities and how to more sensitively engage with them as well as other members of the communities they serve.
For community training, Albany delivered a Women to Women Unit (W2WU) consisting of 130 members from the community, inclusive of women and men. They receive training in skills related to event-organisation, public speaking, and grant management to enable them to engage with the wider community to learn what women’s main security concerns and priorities are, and then communicate this back to security sector actors. One of the ways in which this will be done is through the organisation of community events – organised by the W2WU and attended by security sector actors – to facilitate dialogue that creates an enhanced feeling of security for women in Somalia.
There is a cross-cutting component to this project that focuses on providing both security sector actors and the W2WU with trauma education. The intention is to de-stigmatise trauma and provide both groups with tools to help them better manage trauma symptoms they might be experiencing, so they can better engage with one another.
Women to Women Security Project is an ongoing project that is operating in Baidoa in the South West State of Somalia. The project has plans to expand outside of Baidoa, with the intention to help women and girls outside of SWS also feeling a greater sense of security.