AMISOM to work closely with federal states on gender mainstreaming in Somalia

AMISOM Police Chief of Staff, Rex Dundun, awards a certificate to a police officer during a medal ceremony to mark the departure of a contingent of police officers from Uganda at the AMISOM headquarters in Mogadishu, Somalia, on August 29, 2017. AMISOM Photo / Ilyas Ahmed


Mogadishu, 2 November 2017 – The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has reviewed its gender strategy plan to suit its new mandate and strengthen collaboration with the federal member states.

The reviewed strategy took into account AMISOM’s exit strategy, the expanded role of the police and the various strands of the recently adopted Comprehensive Approach to Security and how to sustain the Mission’s achievements in Somalia after its withdrawal.

The plan was reviewed at a two-day workshop organized by AMISOM’s Protection, Human Rights and Gender Unit in conjunction with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), held in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Speaking during the closing ceremony, Wednesday, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Francisco Madeira, hailed the exercise, which he noted had made the document more responsive to the Mission’s new mandate.

“The new AMISOM gender strategy has addressed all gender dimensions in AMISOM’s work and exit strategy; the expanded role of the AUPOL (police component in AMISOM) and the Comprehensive Approach to Security,” Ambassador Madeira said.

The SRCC hailed the intention of the strategy to extend AMISOM’s positive work and engage with the federal member states, noting that the discussions in the meeting were robust and engaging.

The two-day workshop was attended by senior African Union officials, including the SRCC; the Senior Political Officer at the African Union (AU) Commission, Semiha Abdulmelik; the Coordinator, Peacekeeping Unit, ACCORD, James Machakaire; Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) officials; Gender officers from AMISOM and the Somali National Security Forces; the British Embassy representatives and members of the civil society.

Ms. Abdulmelik echoed the SRCC’s remarks, adding that the updated document presents a wonderful opportunity for African Union (AU) to leave a legacy and highlight some of its values, gender equality being one of them.

“For many of us, one of the challenges that we have always had is the perception that AMISOM is quite security heavy and I think this gives us the opportunity to demonstrate what the AU shared values are, a strong one being gender equality and empowerment of women. This broader legacy, I think is incredibly important,” Ms. Abdulmelik explained.

Mr. Machakaire lauded the inclusiveness and openness exhibited during the review process, which, he noted, bodes well with efforts by AMISOM and the government of Somalia to mainstream gender.

“I want to reflect on the inclusiveness of this workshop, where the government of Somalia was present right from the very beginning and quite active in their contribution to the discussions; where civil society was given space to express themselves freely and positively and this makes an inclusiveness that we do not usually find in most environments,” the ACCORD officials noted.

Jim Haggerty OBE, the Early Recovery and Stabilization Adviser at the British Embassy in Mogadishu, noted that gender mainstreaming is interlinked with security, adding that Britain was committed to supporting a gender and conflict sensitive approach to ensure Somalia finds lasting peace.

The United Nations Security Council in August extended the mandate of AMISOM to 31 May 2018 and approved a reduction of the size of its uniformed personnel to 21,626 by 31 December 2017, as it plans for gradual handover of responsibilities to Somali security forces.