South african Somali Women’s Network

The concept of SASOWNET was born out of a perceived lack of wide scale Somali women’s participation within various decision-making and consultative arenas’. This is attributed to a feeling of marginalization and a lack of confidence to enter a traditionally male-dominated decision-making space. As a part of the ASC’s ongoing commitment to add a capacity building component to the Somali Solidarity Campaign launched in late 2011, the ASC together with members of the Somali community in South Africa began to develop a programme that would address the challenges to participation identified. The result has been the initiation of a South African Somali Women’s Network (SASOWNET) as a platform through which to support Somali women in Somalia, across the Somali region and within the Diaspora, in their efforts to ensure that gender issues are addressed and that women’s representation and participation is assured in this critical transition phase. The ASC has undertaken to spearhead an initial 6-month process focused on networking, organisation building and empowerment. This initial meeting in Cape Town was the first step towards the establishment of a national network, with similar meetings planned for Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. The meeting was a great success with more than 20 women in attendance. There was an optimism and excitement at the prospect of a platform through which to air the grievances and challenges experienced by the women of the Somali Diaspora and a shared commitment to making this network a success. For updated information on the Somali Solidarity Campaign and the South African Somali Women’s Network, please ‘like’ the Somali Solidarity Campaign Facebook page.