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Presidential elections in Somaliland on 13 November – FCO Statement Made on 4th December 2017

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On 13 November, people across Somaliland took part in elections to choose a new President. The UK played an active role as part of a group of international donors in supporting the Somaliland National Election Commission in planning, preparing and delivering these elections. On 16 November, the international election observation mission stated in their initial findings that they had not witnessed irregularities on a scale which would undermine the integrity of the result. The UK joined international partners in expressing our deepest regrets for the loss of life caused by violent protests in some locations in the days which followed the voting.

On 21 November, the National Election Commission announced that Mr Musa Bihi Abdi had been chosen by the people of Somaliland as their next President. The UK Ambassador in Somalia has extended the UK’s warm congratulations to Mr Musa Bihi Abdi on his election and has commended the commitment and responsibility of opposition candidates, Somaliland’s people, and its institutions to the electoral process and strengthening democracy.

The UK remains committed to helping people from across the Somali region to reach their fullest potential. We now look forward to deepening our partnership with Somaliland as we support Mr Bihi in fulfilling his aspiration to govern for the benefit of all Somalilanders.

 

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World Bank Funded Somali Business Catalytic Fund Cancels Second Round Applications

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The World Bank funded Somali Business Catalytic Fund program implemented by DAI Inc. placed an advert on local Somaliland newspapers on the 29th of October 2017 to announce the second round of grant funds available to the business community thereby inviting would be applicants to submit concept notes for evaluation.

Funding was made available for two sectors:

1. Women’s Only Businesses – Small Grants ($10,000-$50,000)

2. Supporting the Private Sector to Create Greater Resilience in Response to Climate Change – Large Grants ($50,001-$150,000)

Regrettably, the World Bank has now taken the decision to CANCEL this round for technical reasons, and will not be making funds available for the program. This means applications for grants will no longer be accepted, and if you have recently already submitted an application it will NOT be reviewed or evaluated.

The The Somali Business Catalytic Fund Management said they apologize for any inconvenience caused.

 

 

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Somaliland: Empowering Women through ICT

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Women’s underrepresentation and lack of access in the ICT Sector is a global issue and it is no different in Somaliland, a conference on this issue has been organized in Hargeisa by Hayaan Haween, a platform designed to address issues that directly and indirectly affect women’s lives.

Attended by a number of intellectuals, women’s organizations, independent local researchers and others, the event focused on challenges facing women in the new technologies and the potential to improve women’s livelihood through ICT and how that impacts the economy in Somaliland.

Khadra Mohamed, host and graduate from Malaysia mentioned the state of technology in Somalilland and explained about the freedom to use the internet with regards to some restrictions on the Social Media platforms. She highlighted how those platforms are blocked or made inaccessible in many countries in Africa and the third world in general.

“I remember in the late 90s seeing broken computers being sent from Jigjiga or Mogadishu to be fixed in Hargeisa” Says Abdirashid I Ibrahim, Founder of Somali Jobs and Co-Founder of Maroodijeeh International University. “In 2000 there was a boom in the establishment of institutions offering technology courses with the first IT degree initiated in 2007” he added.

Abdirashid explained about the rapid development of technology related services in Somaliland potential to improve women’s livelihood through ICT which will have a huge positive impact in the economy. He spoke about the story of Njeri Rionge, a co-founder of the Multi-million Dollar Wananchi Online and her first business where she was selling yoghurt from a car trunk to high school students.

“This is a good example of the power of technology to help shift women from working in the informal sector to formal sectors” said Abdirashid, “You are all here because of technology, a Facebook post or a WhatsApp message is how you learned about this session tonight, right?” he concluded.

Abdulaziz Jama Oumer, a Master of Science in IT (Msc.IT) holder and a PhD candidate cited global statistics from International Telecommunication Union (ITU) depicting unequal access to technology between men and women. “There are no statistics for Somaliland or Somalia” He said highlighting that lack of information exacerbates this problem.

“Not everyone in Hargeisa owns a smartphone, not everyone uses The Internet” said Abdulaziz highlighting the Digital Divide and its limitations. Speaking about the limitless opportunities for women in the digital world, he said people can work from home, create new connections and can also enter the field of technology as professionals. “Sky is the limit” he said.

As for increasing technical knowledge and experience among professional women, he insisted that the only way to tackle the language barrier – perceived as one of the main barriers for young women to enter the ICT sector – is to start with improving the English Language first.

During the event, the panelists agreed that in order to move forward, a National ICT Policy must be developed, a policy that familiarizes girls with ICT.

At the end of the event, networking and mentorship connections were created, also job offers were made by some of the attendees who were previously lacking information about women in ICT. A number of women got an employment opportunity during the session.

From the huge turnout to the event and the comments from the Q&A session, it was evident that this was a topic of great interest for all.

Hayaan Haween “Journey of Women” is a platform founded in Hargeisa, Somaliland to highlight topics that affect women’s lives through raising awareness on critical issues. Previous topics featured on Hayaan Haween include Maternity Health, Literature of Somali Women, Breast Cancer and Mental Health Awareness and The Legend of Queen Arraweelo.  At these monthly events, a panel of experts discuss the topic followed by a Q&A session.

“Founded in May, 2017 this platform has proven to be popular with a growing following of young men and women” said Khadija Abdillahi Sheikh, a Banker, Social Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Hayaan Haween

 

You can follow Hayaan Haween on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for videos of this session and previous ones @HayaanHaween

 

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CONIFA Suspends Somaliland Football Association

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During the last CONIFA Executive Committee meeting on the 4th of October 2017, the Executive Committee decided unanimously that the Somaliland Football Association is suspended for one year with immediate effect. The Reason for the suspension are irregularities regarding the reporting of qualification matches for the 2018 World Football Cup.

As a result of the suspension, the Somaliland Football Association loses all rights as a member until the 3rd October 2018 but remains a member of CONIFA.

According to an official statement from CANIFA, The Somaliland Football Association was informed about the measure and did not challenge the decision.

CONIFA is the Confederation of Independent Football Associations.

 

 

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