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IIDA has been promoting gender equality in development since 1991. Yet today, in many parts of the Somalia, women continue to lack voice and decision-making ability; and their access to education, economic opportunities and political participation remain very constrained. This inequality is manifestly unfair as under-investment in women puts a brake on poverty reduction and limits economic and social development. IIDA strongly believes that gender equality is a longer-term driver of competitiveness and equity

That is why IIDA is one the founding members of and the lead organization for the Somali Women Agenda (SWA), a national women’s movement formed by Somali women both within Somalia and in the Diaspora. SWA aims to draw urgent attention to the need to alleviate the status of Somali women and strengthen each other in addressing issues affecting women and girls, through capacity building, advocacy and networking. It seeks to promote women’s participation in the decision-making process, in an effort to affect policy change and promote accountability.

IIDA presented the need for a Somali women’s movement to its partner, Italian NGO, the Cooperation for the Development of Emerging Countries (COSPE), which concept was then proposed to several donors in 2004. After a series of deliberations, the Somali Women’s Platform for Action, with initial funding from the Department for International Development (DFID) was officially launched in February 2007, during the Kampala Symposium organized by UNIFEM.

The Somali Women’s Platform for Action (SWOPA) sought to take on and encourage actions that effectively support initiatives likely to establish progressive convergence of Somali women’s organizations, and create links with those in the Diaspora. This culminated in the formation of what is now the Somali Women’s Agenda (SWA) in October 2007, a platform of women today representing a constituency of approximately 200,000 Somali women from all over Somalia and the Diaspora with representatives from 22 organizations, including: IIDA, YOUTH LINK SOMALIA, SSWC, HEEGAN, DIJHRO, WAWA , ALLA MAGAN, SWEA, FEPMA, HINNA, FATXI, SOMALI WOMEN DIASPORA (SWD), WAMO, CORD, DELPHIA, KALSAN, Somali women activists, Somali women journalists and other individuals committed to the cause. SWA comprises of 4 Taskforces; Peace, Development, Human Rights and Political Taskforces that work to fulfill SWA’s objectives and visions. The formation of SWA defined the movement and the journey of the Somali women both in the country and the Diaspora and emphasized the need to strengthen each other in addressing the issues affecting women and girls.

University of Nairobi