Protecting Women and Girls Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), and Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) and Participation of Women In Peace-building

About the publication

  • Published: March 2016
  • Series: --
  • Type: NGO reviews
  • Carried out by: Basemark Consultants Limited
  • Commissioned by: Norwegian Church Aid
  • Country: Somalia
  • Theme: Conflict prevention and resolution, peace and security, Women and gender equality
  • Pages: 61
  • Serial number: --
  • ISBN: --
  • ISSN: --
NB! The publication is ONLY available online and can not be ordered on paper.


Somalia has continuously experienced high levels of violence against women and girls, manifest in; sexual violations, female genital mutilation (FGM/C), physical abuse and widespread discrimination. Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) has been associated with harmful cultural practices, religious misconceptions, contextual vulnerability and poverty. The project ‘Protecting Women and Girls Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), and Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) and participation of Women in Peace –building was a response to contribute to the reversal of the above trends. The project was a joint initiative between Norwegian Church AID (NCA) and Save the Children International (SCI) funded by Royal Norwegian Embassy and implemented by three local implementing partners.

The project was designed and implemented in two components. The SGBV component strengthens the resilience of women and girls in Mogadishu IDP camps. It is designed to improve the protection environment of girls and women through elimination of SGBV incidents in 4 target districts in Banadir region, Somalia. The FGM/C component draws on a Norwegian-funded, strategic partnership in Ethiopia between NCA and Save the Children. In Somalia, NCA and SCI similarly aimed to reduce support for FGM/C at the community level, by working with communities and specific change agents including; religious and traditional leaders to influence attitudes, as well as to strengthen the policy and service provision environments related to FGM/C. This project was implemented from 2014-2015,, for which this evaluation has been undertaken. The FGM/C component was a pilot phase of a new programme envisioned to run from 2016-2020.

Purpose/ Objective:

The purpose of the SGBV component was to assess if and how programme outputs were achieved according to the OECD/DAC 5 point criteria which includes; relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability.. From this, specific recommendations for possible further initiatives that build on this programme’s results were to be made.

For the FGM/C component, the purpose of the evaluation was to conduct an in-depth appraisal of the project using OECD / DAC 5 point evaluation criteria to assess the extent to which the project achieved its objectives


A mix of approaches including; quantitative, qualitative methods were applied. Respondents were selected among direct beneficiaries and other stakeholders with interview consent and ethical considerations. Specific tools for each of the components including; structured questionnaires, key informant interviews and focused group discussions were administered. Cluster sampling methodology was applied in quantitative data collection while purposive sampling was applied in identifying key informants. The evaluation grid and results framework analysis were used to directly measure the performance of the programme. The analysis of data was undertaken in line with the outcomes and presented in tables and figures. Content analysis of secondary and qualitative data was undertaken for in-depth explanations. Information from the three approaches were triangulated and incorporated in the findings.

Key Findings:

In the SGBV component; the project set out to protect women and girls against SGBV as one of the outcomes in zone K IDP settlements. Results show that solar lamps, energy savings stoves for risk reduction and intensified awareness were undertaken. The 10 security patrols to secure women in the IDP settlements were not undertaken as planned due to difficulties associated with the implementing partner. As a result of these interventions, 96.8% of the SGBV survivors/right holders have information about SGBV. On risk reduction, 83% of SGBV survivors feel more secure than before. Three quarters 75% of the SGBV survivors report that SGBV cases have gone down. This largely as a result of risk reduction measures undertaken which ensured that the survivors did not risk collecting firewood as they had energy saving stove as alternative , while solar lamps provided protective lights in their dwellings.

The second outcome focused on providing SGBV survivors (women and girls aged 15-47 years) with psychosocial, medical and economic coping assistance. In restoring women’s dignity, the project provided SGBV survivors with a dignity kit that constituted clothing, personal effects and other constituents for personal grooming. Four hundred SGBV survivors received 4 months tailoring courses and were provided with a kit to set up business practice. This empowered women and their families and was instrumental in preventing SGBV by ensuring that conflicts that emanated from domestic struggles to provide or secure livelihoods were addressed. Through SSWC support centres, 3,189 women, 89% of total in need, received restoration counselling. Primary health care services were provided to SGBV survivors although the project lacked capacity for specialized treatment. The provision of various services were supplemented with holistic capacity building in which the right holders and duty bearers including; religious and camp leaders underwent various trainings. Overall, 95% of the SGBV survivors report access to health services, 70% psychosocial services while 11% have security services within their reach.

The third outcome focused on having women participate in peace processes at local and national level. Results show that SGBV survivors 100 in total were enlightened on their various rights stipulated in the UNSCR resolution 1325 as the agents of change. However in outcome 4, religious leaders and other duty bearers were enlightened on their role to protect and promote women participation in line with the UNSCR 1325 resolution. The training was conducted towards end of the project in which there was limited influence time to implement the resolutions. The project was not able to involve women in peace building efforts at the national level, but at the same time, no process was going on. On these two outcomes, the project has established significant local capacity from which peace building and attention of SGBV from rights perspectives will be continuously supported.

FGM/C Component: Results show the project has made remarkable progress in the envisioned outcomes, but more needs to be done as FGM/C abandonment requires concerted long-term response. Outcome five focused on safety and justice of the GBV survivors, by provision of medical and psychosocial support services. Results show that 44 FGM/C survivors were seen for fistula complications out of which 13 received reconstructive surgery, while the rest were seen for medical, psychosocial and obstetric needs. An assessment undertaken as part of evaluation found that 74.1% of the right holders had access to health services whenever they needed them. Even as links were made with the health systems, referral for GBV survivors in need of specialized treatment remains a gap.

Outcome six focused on influencing the faith and community based organizations to transform and change beliefs, attitudes and behaviour that uphold GBV including FGM/C. It is clear that the project has brought on board 42 religious leaders to influence behaviour change through community dialogues and mosque sermons. Religious leaders are now important leaders of the project and strategic role models for the project based on observed support in community dialogue, messaging undertaken in mosque sermons and some demonstrated examples of barring their daughters from FGM/C to set examples. Results indicate that 50% of the right holders received FGM/C information from religious leaders which underscores their role in disseminating anti-FGM/C messages enhanced by the project. On the awareness side; overall, the project has reached 84.1%of men, women and youth with anti-FGM/C messages delivered through community dialogues, print materials, media and by religious leaders. Furthermore 74.1% received comprehensive information with deeper understanding of the harmful effects of FGM/C. With this, 60.1% of right holders are of the opinion that FGM/C should been discontinued on the account of woman’s health. Notably, 87.6 % of right holders are also of the opinion that FGM/C is declining due to intensified campaigns and improved knowledge. However, the decline in the extreme form may conceal the sunna type which is still preferred even among some religious leaders. The trends in FGM/C are however supported by recent observations indicating FGM/C practitioners have moved away from the urban centres where programmatic interventions are mainly concentrated to rural areas where communities are not reached by interventions and readily accept FGM/C . Once the programmatic interventions are expanded in the rural areas, preferably in the next phase, it will leave the practitioners with fewer options, thus the practice may decline significantly. The behaviour change model adopted in urban settings utilizing the working groups, community dialogue meetings and religious leaders has yielded results. There has been limited information sharing across the project regions while operations research and documentation has only been undertaken in Puntland.

Outcome seven focused on mobilization of faith and community based organizations to reduce all forms of harmful traditional practices; it is clear there were regional differentials in the achievement of the objectives. In Puntland declarations against FGM/C (Fatwas) were made and government policy level support was mobilized. In Gedo, various stakeholders questioned the readiness of the community to make anti- FGM/C declarations due to potential interference from Al Shabaab and the fact that since the communities were not fully mobilized especially in the rural areas, it would be taken as a joke. Making premature declarations would cause irreparable damage and dent future intentions to pursue zero tolerance through the model. Despite this short coming, religious leaders were instrumental in pushing the FGM/C abandonment agenda in sermons and public prayers and gatherings in Gedo region. In both locations religious leaders through the programme participated in documentation of key messages against FGM/C in reference to the Quran for dissemination in mosques. The envisioned coordination structures of working with clusters and networks were effective in Puntland, but were limited by the context in Gedo. The same happened to policy statements in Gedo region, except the local guidelines developed to make FGM/C practitioners compensate FGM/C survivors with hefty fines (50-150 camels) for damage inflicted in administering FGM/C.


SGBV: There is need to empower women and girls to stand up for their rights by mobilizing local, to include men in support of women, make linkages to national support and appropriate networks, scale up the response in terms of programmatic efforts; ensure that the security patrols are implemented and maintained as planned to secure the gains made so far; integrate shelter support in future SGBV programmes; include men in counselling programmes, strengthen referral mechanisms for specialized medical attention; target school children with protection against SGBV , support religious leaders to effectively enhance their influence on SGBV and proper sequencing of activities in line with their plans for impact. Training and expanded engagement of religious leaders and generation of empirical evidence for more targeted programming are also recommended.

FGM/C: There is need for; appropriate policies backed by evidence from empirical and action research; proper community driven fatwa or declaration in Gedos; lobby government for legislation and enforcement of laws for zero tolerance to all forms of FGM/C, including sunna; upscale the interventions in the rural areas; intensify prosecution of FGM/C practitioners and compensation of the survivors, expand school FGM/C eradication programmes, reward, recognize communities that depart from the practice through culturally priced alternatives like livestock; map health workers medicalizing FGM/C for action; mobilize support and resources for attending the unmet need for fistula treatment, deepen the role of men especially the young men who are more receptive in the programme in terms of participation and scale so as to challenge negative masculinities and promote gender equality; develop and advance key messages through the radio as the reported common source of messages and coverage; share information on lessons and best practices across implementing partners for more informed response.

Comments from Norwegian Church Aid:

NCA is working towards ensuring that the recommendations from the evaluation and lessons learnt will be prioritised and will serve to inform programming in the new strategic period.

Published 22.11.2016
Last updated 22.11.2016