UNFPA Somalia Representative, Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse, made a five day working visit in Garowe, Puntland from 16-20, June 2013.
The visit kicked off with an informal meeting Mr Cisse held with the UNFPA team stationed in Puntland (Dr. Bakhtior Kadirov, Ms. Bahsan Said, Mr. Daher Farah, Ms. Shukri Ahmed, Mr. Kamal Abdukadirand and Mr. Yusuf Hassan) on the 16thof June focused on programme progress, strategies and priorities including Population Estimation Survey for Somalia (PESS) and program areas including safe motherhood, birth spacing, promotion of gender equality, addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV), Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) and obstetric fistula as well as youth reproductive health, empowerment and participation. The meeting shed light into recent accomplishments, including the establishment of Reproductive Health Unit, successful advocacy and partnership initiatives, engaging female and male police officers in the GBV programme, involving religious leaders in promoting birth spacing and addressing GBV, developing a complete midwifery cadre and the fistula repair campaign.
The second day of the visit, 17th June, saw Mr. Cisse paying a visit to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC). The main objective of the meeting was to discuss with the Acting Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, and Chief de Cabinet of the Office of President of Puntland, Dr. Jama Warsame the technicalities on the joint agreement on PESS entered between the Somali Administrations and the UN Technical Team in Kampala on 10-12 June, 2013.
Both sides reached a common consensus on the modalities of the Kampala agreements, most importantly, the overall PESS methodology, correction of the geo-file, quality control and validation mechanisms, updating the sampling frame of water-points, verification of the enumeration areas based on satellite imagery, sample design and estimation procedure, use of pre-war regions and districts and the like. It was also agreed that due to soaring temperatures in the hot season around Bossaso, a validation exercise there should instead be conducted in the second half of September followed by the main survey in the first week of October, 2013.
The officials, accompanying Mr.Cisse, proceeded then to the PESS Office for the handover of ICT equipment and furniture. MoPIC officials expressed their appreciation for the support which they referred to as a continued generosity of UNFPA to Puntland's society as Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan went further to note that his government's commitment to the PESS project is strengthened by its recent assignment of a two story building for the PESS Team.
On the 18th of June, Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse met with the Minister of Health of Puntland State of Somalia, Dr. Ali Abdullahi Warsame. During the meeting Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse said that ‘no woman should die giving birth’, and we should do our utmost to save mothers lives. Dr. Ali Abdullahi Warsame noted the improved level of strategic partnership with UNFPA and commended UNFPA tangible support to Puntland health sector, particularly life-saving maternal health services. The MoH staff also commended the level and quality of the cooperation, emphasizing that the change had come and the working environment had improved significantly. They expressed their high appreciation to Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse for supporting and promoting national ownership of the programme being in line with the aid effectiveness concept.
After the meeting Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse and Dr. Ali Abdullahi Warsame proceeded to the closing ceremony of the BEMOC training for midwives and handover of reproductive health commodities, including delivery beds, Ob/Gyn tables, operating tables, operating theatre lights, oxygen concentrators, tables for instruments, infant incubators, stretchers, wheel chairs, hospital beds and midwifery kits.
Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse and Dr. Ali Abdullahi Warsame visited Garowe General Hospital. As a result, it was agreed to upgrade the maternity unit of the hospital given the demand on the ground.
In the afternoon, Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse also visited the nursing and midwifery school in Garowe supported by UNFPA, and met with the principal, tutors and students.
On the 19th of June, Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse met with the Minister of Family and Social Affairs, Ms. Halima Haji Hassan and Minister of Labour, Youth and Sport Mr. Abdiwali Hersi.
Minister of Minister of Family and Social Affairs, Ms. Halima Haji Hassan thanked UNFPA for strategic partnership and support, adhering to the very principles of national ownership. Ms. Halima Haji Hassan took note of the challenges and opportunities in tackling GBV, ongoing needs assessment on Gender/GBV, the capacity building initiative aimed at engaging female and male police officers in addressing GBV, upgrading community centers in support of mobilizing women and male involvement, and many other interventions supported by UNFPA. With reference to the findings of the needs assessment Ms. Halima Haji Hassan emphasized the dire situation on the ground, requiring a focused and strategic response at the community level, especially remote areas. It is to be noted that during the meeting the importance of linking the gender and GBV programme with the health sector interventions was also highlighted.
Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse and Ms. Halima Haji Hassan then proceeded to the conference room of the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs and met with the religious leaders and students, including imams– participants of UNFPA supported workshop on birth spacing in the legacy of Islam and tackling GBV, including FGM/C relying on Islamic values and principles. The workshop facilitator shared the initial recommendations in support of birth spacing and addressing FGM/C. Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse addressed the audience, taking note of the centrality of change from within.
The meeting with the Minister of Labour, Youth and Sport, Mr. Abdiwali Hersi went in a friendly and constructive atmosphere. Mr. Abdiwali Hersi noted that young people represent the majority of the population and it is crucial to engage youth in conflict mitigation and peace building processes. Technical staff of the Ministry delivered a detailed presentation on their vision, mission and mandate as well as interventions supported by UNFPA. It was highlighted that youth need their own physical, spiritual and virtual space to come together, strategize and develop frameworks of their own choosing. It was also noted that this would be possible through supporting youth centers and establishing youth development funds. Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Cisse shared recommended and best practices generated and implemented in other countries that could potentially be replicated in Somalia.