Three decades of violent conflict in Somalia have eroded institutional structures and severely strained the economy of this traditionally pastoralist society. Climate change, violent attacks, clan disputes and corruption all exacerbate problems with security and access to justice, jobs, healthcare, food and nutrition. In Somaliland, an established executive government has improved levels of democratisation and stability, but inclusive participation for all citizens, regardless of clan status, still brings challenges.
Saferworld works to strengthen the participation and influence of civil society and citizens in important policy and decision-making processes on peace, governance and security in both Somalia and Somaliland.
In 2008, we helped establish and develop non-state actor* platforms in Somaliland (SONSAF), Puntland (PUNSAA) and South Central Somalia (SOCSENSA). These platforms offer a two-way channel for Somali people to connect and communicate with national and international policymakers – important for inclusive governance as citizens' voices are rarely heard. The platforms’ legitimacy stems from the inclusion of a diverse range of participants from many different sectors of society. They continue to function independently. In the lead-up to the Somaliland presidential election in 2017, Saferworld supported voter education on the voter registration process, and trained and deployed 620 election observers. We will continue this work in advance of the upcoming presidential elections in 2022, supporting civil society to ensure there is a free and fair electoral process.
Drawing on lessons from peace processes around the world, we also research and analyse conflict dynamics and how these might help or hurt potential peace agreements.
*Defined as: An individual or organisation that has significant political influence but is not allied to any particular country or state.