There is a perception amongst Somalis that many of the decisions which affect their lives are internationally driven, with little local consultation. This lack of ownership impacts on the effectiveness of aid programmes, undermines Somali civil society, and contributes to the alienation of Somali communities from decision-making. SOSCENSA provide a mechanism for increasing grassroots civil-society engagement with international and national decision-makers. Read how our work is having a measurable impact in contributing to peace and development in South Central Somalia.
Providing a focus for constitutional dialogueSomalia is currently drawing up a new federal constitution. This is seen by many Somalis as a conflict resolution mechanism – with participation in the consultations on the draft constitution a way to finally have a voice on matters that directly affect them.
“We are happy that we are giving our recommendations towards the fate of the Somali people, I think it is the first time for Somali people to comment on their Constitution, and it is a lifetime chance. After 21 years of civil strife, I think that the federal system will solve the problem of injustice, which has cost the nation a lot since that time. Federalism will basically narrow the gaps.”
- SOSCENSA member from Lower Jubba region
SOSCENSA has become the focal point for much of the local dialogue on the draft constitution. During the first half of 2011 SOSCENSA conducted a series of consultations, explaining the issues involved in the constitution and gaining the input of 220 representatives from across the 11 regions of South-Central Somalia. The members represented local NGOs, professionals and the business community. The consultations were held in Mogadishu but people travelled from all 11 regions to attend the meetings.
This is important because the Independent Federal Constitution Commission (IFCC), which is administering the process of public consultations and producing a final draft constitution based on these consultations, has been unable to reach as many Somalis as had been hoped, due to the prevailing security situation.
Many participants expressed the desire for the consultations and awareness-raising on the constitution to continue until ‘every man with a camel’ and ‘every woman who digs in the field’ understands what the document contains. “The most important thing about it [the consultation] was that we were asked about opinions, and that nothing was dictated”, said one woman from Middle Jubba region. Many participants also said that they would carry what they had learnt back to their home areas despite the security risks involved in doing so.
SOSCENSA has produced a report making recommendations on each article of the draft constitution which was shared with the IFCC and UNDP in 2011. In 2012 SOSCENSA is continuing consultations to find out the views of all 11 regions of South Central Somalia. This will lead to a report that compares the views of Somalis, region by region, and tracks changes in attitudes to the constitutional process and draft constitution between the beginning of 2011 and a year later.
Read SOSCENSA's report on the consultations