The women’s group was first formed in September 2021 in Marka – a coastal Somali town in the Lower Shabelle region, 95 km south of the capital, Mogadishu. It was then replicated in the surrounding villages of Buufow and Janaale, and expanded this year to Golweyn, Shalanbood and Ceel Jaale, all within the same district.
The group consists of 165 female members who are focused on increasing the collaboration between women from different clans in order to foster peace and enhance their security.
The women’s group has also helped dispel fears and criticism around reporting cases, traditionally felt by women in the region. “Our problems used to be kept in a shell while suffering, feeling shame and neglect, but things have changed now. We are being heard, cared for, and treated with respect,” explains another group member and GBV survivor.
Since its creation, the group has supported seven cases, a considerable number in a region where it is uncommon for women to report such cases. For many women in the area, this is the first time they have had the courage to come forward and speak up.
“Initially, I was reluctant to share my story because I was gripped by fear and worried about discrimination. This group has enabled us to share our stories,” says another survivor.