Innovating the triangle in Somalia

Schermafbeelding_2013-05-16_om_17.42.39.pngMillions of children and young adults do not have access to quality education and healthcare, essential rights and needs for the path out of poverty. In light of this problem, Oxfam Novib organised together with HIRDA and Butterfly Works the event ‘Innovating the Triangle of Education, Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and Gender’. On the 23rd of April the three partners came together in The Hague aiming to reflect with other stakeholders on the effectiveness of approaches to work on this triangle. Other issues addressed during this event were the rise in HIV infections and other sexual transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancies, and sexual violence among youth. The ‘triangle’, combining quality education, gender justice and SRHR, is an important and effective way to deal with these challenges. 

The main topic of the discussion was the current and future policy of civil society, the UN and governments on the above mentioned issues. The event particularly reflected on the opportunities of the new Dutch policy of Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch Minister for International Cooperation and Trade, whose new policy includes an ambitious agenda on Gender and SRHR, but also carries out cuts on education.

Eight workshops were organised, which dealt with more specific issues related to this theme. HIRDA organised one of these workshops, called ‘Improving access to education for girls in Somalia’ including a presentation and discussion by Matan Dahir, and Diede Sterenborg of HIRDA, and Ms. Anke van der Kwaak, Senior Health Advisor and trainer of the Royal Tropical Institute. HIRDA has over 14 years experience working on improving the quality of Somali education and making it accessible to all children, especially girls. During the workshop, HIRDA shared its lessons learned, and the challenges and approaches it takes to conduct its programmes on education, gender and health. The role of women as income generators in Somalia and the need for more participation of young people (both girls and boys) as well as inclusion of religious leaders, local authorities and parents in developing further strategies was noted.

It was an inspiring day, offering a platform for different organisations working on education, gender and SRHR to learn from each other’s activities, (best) practices and lessons learned. The cuts on education in development have been an important issue during the day, a theme that is the foundation for gender equality and awareness of SRHR. Several organisations started a manifest against this decision. If you agree that education is one of the pillars for development let your voice be heard and sign the petition by clicking on this link.

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