The unfolding humanitarian crisis in Somalia as a result of biting drought has led to the diversion of funds meant for the national International Women’s Day celebrations in a bid to address other ‘critical needs’, the Director General of the Somali Federal Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development Dr. Abdiqani Sheikh Omar, has said.
“This year is truly different from the previous years. We have been debating on how to minimise the funds spent on celebrations like the upcoming International Women’s Day because our country is in a humanitarian crisis and the funds would rather be spent on extending humanitarian assistance to those affected by the drought,” Dr. Abdiqani explained, while addressing journalists at a monthly press briefing by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in Mogadishu, ahead of the International Women’s Day today.
At the same function Lydia Wanyoto, the deputy AU Special Representative for Somalia said that Somalia has made significant progress in enhancing the status of women.
She commended the Federal Government of Somalia for supporting the women’s cause and ensuring greater political participation for women in the recently concluded elections.
“I commend Somalia for its efforts in elevating the status of women and according them an opportunity for greater political participation and decision making in the country’s affairs,” Wanyoto told local journalists.
Eighty (80) women parliamentarians out of three hundred and twenty nine (329), were elected to the federal parliament in the recently concluded elections. The figure represents twenty-four percent of the total number of parliamentarians.
“Although Somalia did not achieve the 30 per cent quota for women in parliament that is internationally recognised, women won big in the recently concluded elections,” Wanyoto stated.
She also noted that AMISOM is marking its 10th anniversary in Somalia, this March, with noticeable dividends of peace and development across Somalia.
She cited thriving business and education sectors, the return of the Somalia diaspora community in the country, as an illustration of prevailing peace and stability.
Wanyoto presented a donation of assorted items including t-shirts, to Dr. Abdiqani Sheikh, for distribution in Mogadishu and the regional states, during celebrations to mark International Women’s Day.
Present at the event was a section of Somali women parliamentarians.