Posted on September 21, 2016 by
Fatima Ahmed is Chemonics' gender focal point for the USAID Strengthening Somali Governance (SSG) project.
Why is social inclusion important for the development of Somalia?
The crime rate in Somalia remains high, and weak government institutions often fail to bring justice. The marginalized populations in our society, such as youth, persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV, internally displaced persons (mostly women and children), and the poor, are often ignored by our communities, and government institutions do not address their needs.
Somali women face acute challenges today. Women’s political participation remains limited and is discouraged. Even more marginalized are women who are subjected to domestic violence, single mothers, women with disabilities, and women living with HIV. They are usually outcasts in their communities and are not supported when, for example, they try to start up small businesses or seek employment.
Cultural stereotypes and a lack of political will make it difficult to support the inclusion of these groups in our society. But inclusion is important for the development of Somalia because development should not leave people behind. Being more inclusive will decrease the stigma and discrimination that marginalized populations face and make them less vulnerable to attacks, harassment, and illegal arrest.
What is an innovative approach that you or your project have taken to include marginalized groups in Somalia's development?
Our project was first to introduce and support the minimum 30 percent quota resolution, which enables Somali women to take 30 percent of the seats in the upper and lower houses of parliament. We are also creating TV shows to advocate for the adoption and enforcement of a quota system at all levels of government, particularly at the leadership level. This is an ongoing process, and we face challenges because not everyone supports women’s empowerment and inclusion. With respect to other marginalized groups, we focus on advocacy and physical access for people with disabilities. For example, we are helping the Ministry of Public Works and Reconstruction to develop inclusive building codes.
What are the biggest challenges you have encountered while pushing for inclusive development? What lessons have you learned?
Building support for legislation that promotes gender equality can be challenging. Women’s representation in government is low, and we have to engage men as main allies to push for women’s rights. Besides the institutional barriers, it has been difficult to change the public stigma around professional women and to empower women to take up these positions. It is necessary for development practitioners to be patient, to be resilient, and to recognize the significance of such change within institutions and in Somalia as whole.
We have learned that establishing committees to advise on and monitor the implementation of fundamental changes and the allocation of resources for marginalized groups are effective means to promote inclusion. Information sharing, as well as resource and knowledge exchanges, have played an integral role in coming up with solutions to foster inclusion. Learning from best practices on inclusion from other countries, Somalia can use or adapt proven tools and highlight the urgency of including marginalized groups in its development.
Posted on September 16, 2016 by
This post originally appeared on SEEP's blog
Chemonics is a proud member of SEEP.
Have you ever wondered if there is a better way to expand and
deepen financial inclusion? Have you tried forming innovative
partnerships or using digital technology?
Financial inclusion is a building block of strong economies
throughout the world. However, in many developing countries, we
consistently see constraints to financial inclusion. For example,
financial service providers do not provide services in...
Posted on September 14, 2016 by
Over the past few decades, international development actors have
sought models from outside of the traditional donor-implementer
paradigm, understanding that innovation in development comes from
cooperation and learning. In an attempt to tear down the silos of
business, government, and NGOs, the international development
community has called on strategies employed by tech incubators and
accelerators to create new ways to identify, fund, and implement
technologies, strategies, and products that...
Posted on September 12, 2016 by
This blog post originally appeared on SEEP's blog
Chemonics is a proud member of SEEP.
Picture this: Your market development program is going well.
Your strategy aligns with the national government’s objectives.
Your donor is happy. Business owners are happy. People are getting
jobs and earning income. The market is growing.
And then a crisis hits. The market dries up. Job growth grinds
to a halt. The government changes its strategy.
What do you
Market development can be challenging in the best...
Posted on September 8, 2016 by
Reading is essential for learning across all academic subject
areas. As children progress through school, schools, teachers, and
communities must help them to become critical and independent
readers and learners. Their future depends on it. This is why USAID
and its partners, like Chemonics, aim to improve literacy for 100
Research suggests that we have a good understanding of what
children need to become proficient readers. USAID’s approach to
reading instruction is based on...
Posted on September 7, 2016 by
A growing body of evidence shows that empowering adolescent
girls to become future leaders in their communities is key to
achieving global development goals, ensuring the sustainability of
development interventions, and making a significant social impact.
It is only by supporting, educating, and empowering adolescent
girls that we can
unlock their full potential to transform the world in which we
live. The first step of achieving this goal is to eradicate
violence against adolescent girls, which...
Posted on September 6, 2016 by
The challenge of equitable
and efficient land allocation
Land-use decision making forces politicians and land managers to
grapple with choices that pit one interest group against another,
and every decision seems destined to create conflict. But what if
potential land uses could be ranked and supported by science? Are
there win-win scenarios out there, waiting to be discovered?
In the Okavango River Basin, one approach is doing just that.
The Land-Use Conflict Identification Strategy, or LUCIS, is...
Posted on August 31, 2016 by
By Debora Freitas López and Dr. Kamden Hoffmann
The importance of gender
mainstreaming and integration
The disparities between men and women have resulted in women
often bearing the burden of development needs, and as a result,
gaining fewer benefits from development interventions. Yet, we know
that improving access to health and education for girls will
contribute to better child, maternal, and family health outcomes,
such as reduced domestic violence as well as improved nutrition and
Posted on August 30, 2016 by
The World Bank estimates
that only 10 percent of Afghans hold
an account with a financial institution, far below the average of
22 percent for low-income nations. The reasons for this are
numerous: many Afghans report mistrust of banks, some lack the
proper documentation to access financial services, and those living
outside major population centers find great difficulty in even
traveling to a bank. Of particular note from the World Bank’s
is that nearly one-quarter of
Posted on August 25, 2016 by
Bassey Archibong is the director of household economic
strengthening for USAID's Maximizing Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprise
in Targeted Sites (MARKETS II
) project in Nigeria. The project
aims to improve the performance, income, nutrition, and food
security of poor Nigerian rural farmers or smallholders in an
environmentally friendly manner.
Why is social inclusion important for the development of
Nigeria, 68 percent of the population lives in poverty, living on
less than $1.25...
Posted on August 23, 2016 by
Kelly Brooks is chief of party for the USAID Human Rights Activity
(HRA) in Colombia.
HRA supports the Colombian government and civil society to foster
respect for human rights and protect vulnerable
The Colombian government is negotiating a peace accord
with the FARC guerrilla group
after 50 years of
conflict. What are the biggest challenges that the demobilization
of the FARC presents, and how can the donor community support
Colombia in overcoming those challenges?
Posted on August 18, 2016 by
It has become increasingly trendy in international development
to look to Silicon Valley and the tech world’s start-up culture for
inspiration in making our programs more “innovative.” Inspired by
the pace at which the tech world can turn an idea into products and
staples of everyday life, we aspiring innovators of international
development look to their example in turning ideas into social
Posing the question what does innovation look like in
international development, Chemonics and...
Posted on August 16, 2016 by
The United States’ economic future is inextricably linked to
Asia. A full quarter of the goods and services exported by the
United States are bound for Asia, and about 30 percent of our
imports come from the region. In addition, exports to Asia support
more than a million American jobs. As such, the United States is
committed to strengthening its economic relationship with Asia and
ensuring that the benefits are shared broadly. This shared
prosperity is founded on sustainable, inclusive growth...
Posted on August 11, 2016 by
August 12 is International Youth Day
, an exciting occasion meant
for governments and intuitions to draw attention to youth issues
worldwide. More than half the world’s population is now under the
age of 30 years old, and it is critical to review successes in
working with youth populations to empower young people as
tomorrow’s leaders. Below are three strands of success I found in
Chemonics work with youth in workforce development, livelihood, and
agripreneurship initiatives in 70 countries...
Posted on August 8, 2016 by
Each biennial International AIDS Conference is eventually
remembered for the broad themes coming out of a long, exciting, and
energizing week of presentations, networking, and protests. A key
theme of this year’s conference in Durban, South Africa, was
patient empowerment. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) was a
rallying cry to help the most vulnerable populations such as gay
men, female sex workers, and intravenous drug users take more
control of their efforts to avoid infection.
We heard from...
Posted on August 3, 2016 by
The slender young woman was slumped on the metal chair, her
malnourished baby in her arms. “I have no milk,” she said, pulling
her breast out of her shirt. “I just give him water because it is
As a Peace Corps volunteer in those days, I struggled in my
halting Hausa to explain to the mother how important exclusive
breastfeeding was for her infant. My counterpart, a Nigerien nurse
in our rural clinic outside of Mayahi, perfunctorily squeezed her
breast with his gloved hands, producing...
Posted on August 1, 2016 by
With mobile phone penetration rates exceeding 80 percent
in many developing
countries, development organizations have a new and exciting way of
communicating with and collecting information from beneficiaries
and stakeholders. Paired with the growing emphasis on
evidence-based decisions, collecting data through SMS surveys has
generated a significant following and an array of tools for design
and deployment. For many good reasons, the development community is
jumping on the bandwagon. But before...
Posted on July 27, 2016 by
Late last year, I know many of you joined me in applauding as
the United Nations formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals
, an unprecedented step
that aligns development agencies and stakeholders worldwide around
a single platform. The goals themselves are ambitious and sweeping
— ending poverty and hunger, for instance, are goals we have been
working toward for decades. But we need that ambition to unite us
and drive us.
To help bring these goals fully into development work on...
Posted on July 26, 2016 by
Tony Savelli is the project director of the Global Health
Supply Chain – Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM)
Project. GHSC-PSM is working to ensure uninterrupted supplies of
health commodities reach patients around the world by transforming
supply chains at the global and country level.
What would you like to see GHSC-PSM accomplish over the
next five years? In other words, how do you define success for
project where health commodities are involved, the ultimate goal...
Posted on July 20, 2016 by
Some animals that depend on the forest tell us a great deal
about the health of their environment and the effectiveness of
efforts to preserve it. In the Philippines, environmentalists and
government officials are using a new system called the LAWIN
Forest and Biodiversity Protection System
to monitor the state
of forests in an unprecedented way – among other things, collecting
data on the presence of forest-dependent species.
The Philippines' vanishing
Like many developing countries, the...