Young girls taking up the fight against gender based violence

19 December 2016
A young girl participates in the campaign
A young girl participates in the campaign

Young girls, including adolescents, from internally displaced persons (IDPs) settlements and host communities in Garowe and Bosaso in the Puntland State of Somalia are taking up the fight against gender based violence through advocacy and sensitisation activities including sports.

The advocacy emanates from undertakings conducted in line with the global campaign, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, which mobilises leaders, communities and individuals around the world to end the pandemic of violence.

The Ministry of Women Development and Family Affairs (MoWDAFA) in Puntland led the campaign in the region. UNFPA, a number of UN agencies namely UNDP, UNICEF, IOM, UNSOM together with international and local NGOs, jointly conducted the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence under the theme “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All”.

The 16 Days Campaign Against Gender Based Violence is an international campaign which begins on the November 25 every year, marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on December 10; the International Human Rights Day symbolically emphasising that violence against women is a human rights violation.

In keeping with the campaign activities, MoWDAFA organised basketball tournaments for girls in Garowe and Bosaso. MoWDAFA explained that the basketball teams were selected from the IDPs settlements and the host communities to encourage community integration and collective action on preventing and mitigating violence against women and girls.

Prior to the basketball tournaments, the girls had a one day session where they had comprehensive discussions on gender based violence and human rights and their vital role in participating in the ongoing prevention and mitigation efforts across Puntland and within their communities.

Speaking at the opening of the discussion forum, director general of MoWDAFA Abdirizak Nouh thanked UNFPA for supporting the initiative.

“It is very impressive to see such wonderful and talented young girls coming together to exercise their rights and contribute towards making lasting changes in this great community of ours,” said Nouh, adding: “MoWDAFA and its partners, including UNFPA, are committed to encouraging youth, especially young girls and adolescents, to participate in community building and development.”

Nouh said the campaign was not only happening within the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence but that it would be scaled up and continue as an awareness campaign on reducing and preventing violence against women and girls.

One of the young girls who participated in the discussions and the tournament Deko Ahmed Omar noted that girls have a major role to play in combating violence against women and girls.

Another girl Farun Omar said she was delighted to participate in the activities. “ I am so happy to be part of “such a wonderful team aimed at building our communities and more specifically empowering young girls to be part change makers”.

 “Currently, violence against women is high in Somalia. Young girls continue to be victims as they do not really have a voice within their communities. We have to stand united for lasting change,” said Omar.

The 16 days of Activism Campaign in Puntland also included TV and radio talks shows, sports tournaments for girls, poetry competitions, workshops, community based campaigns and rallies.


– Ridwaan Hassan ABDI 



For more information please contact UNFPA Somalia Communications Specialist Pilirani Semu-Banda on e-mail: