Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 List of Figures
 List of appendices
 List of acronyms
 Executive summary
 Chapter 1: Women in Somali...
 Chapter 2: Women in the econom...
 Chapter 3: Institutions for...
 Chapter 4: Donor programs...
 Chapter 5: Recommended interve...
 Appendix A: Scope of work
 Appendix B: People interviewed
 Appendix C: Sex-disaggregated reporting...
 Appendix D: Verbatim statute of...
 Appendix E: Appropriate techno...
 Appendix F: Database developme...
 Appendix G: Photographs
 Appendix H: Bibliography
 Back Cover

Group Title: Somalia : an assessment of SWDO, and of the social and economic status of women in the lower Shebelle
Title: Somalia
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00083272/00001
 Material Information
Title: Somalia an assessment of SWDO, and of the social and economic status of women in the lower Shebelle
Physical Description: xii, 125, 67 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Delancey, Virginia H ( Virginia Helen )
Lindsay, Deborah E
Spring, Anita
United States -- Agency for International Development
Robert Nathan Associates
Publisher: Agency for International Development
Place of Publication: Washington DC
Publication Date: 1987
Subject: Women -- Somalia   ( lcsh )
Social conditions -- Somalia -- 1960-   ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- Somalia -- 1960-   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Somalia
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: by Virginia H. Delancey, Deborah E. Lindsay, Anita Spring.
General Note: At head of title: ARIES, Assistance to Resource Institutions for Enterprise Support.
General Note: "June 25, 1987."
General Note: "Submitted to: USAID/Somalia."
General Note: "Sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development."
General Note: "DAN-1090-C-00-5124-00."
General Note: "Project Office, R. Nathan Associates, Inc."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00083272
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 22988525
lccn - 90980228

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
        Table of Contents 3
    List of Tables
        List of Tables
    List of Figures
        List of Figures
    List of appendices
    List of acronyms
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Executive summary
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Chapter 1: Women in Somali society
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    Chapter 2: Women in the economy
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Chapter 3: Institutions for women
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    Chapter 4: Donor programs and projects
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
    Chapter 5: Recommended interventions
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
    Appendix A: Scope of work
        Page A-0
        Page A-1
        Page A-2
        Page A-3
    Appendix B: People interviewed
        Page B-0
        Page B-1
        Page B-2
        Page B-3
        Page B-4
    Appendix C: Sex-disaggregated reporting forms
        Page C-0
        Page C-1
        Page C-2
        Page C-3
    Appendix D: Verbatim statute of the Somali women democratic organizations
        Page D-0
        Page D-1
        Page D-2
        Page D-3
        Page D-4
        Page D-5
        Page D-6
        Page D-7
        Page D-8
        Page D-9
        Page D-10
        Page D-11
        Page D-12
        Page D-13
        Page D-14
        Page D-15
        Page D-16
        Page D-17
    Appendix E: Appropriate technologies
        Page E-0
        Page E-1
        Page E-2
        Page E-3
        Page E-4
        Page E-5
        Page E-6
        Page E-7
        Page E-8
        Page E-9
        Page E-10
        Page E-11
        Page E-12
        Page E-13
        Page E-14
    Appendix F: Database development
        Page F-0
        Page F-1
        Page F-2
    Appendix G: Photographs
        Page G-0
        Page G-1
        Page G-2
        Page G-3
        Page G-4
        Page G-5
        Page G-6
        Page G-7
        Page G-8
        Page G-9
        Page G-10
        Page G-11
    Appendix H: Bibliography
        Page H-0
        Page H-1
        Page H-2
        Page H-3
        Page H-4
        Page H-5
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text


Assistance to
Resource Institutions
for Enterprise Support


Sponsored by the
U.S. Agency for International

Directed by
Robert R. Nathan Associates, Inc. JUNE 25. 1987


Assistance to
Resource Institutions
for Enterprise Support




June 25,


Submitted to :


By :

Virginia H. Delancey

Deborah E. Lindsay
Anita Spring

The view and interpretations in this publication are those
of the author (a) and should not be attributed to the U.S.
Agency for International Development
PROJECT OFFICE: Robert R. Nathan Associates, Inc., 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004 (202) 393-2700 Telex: 248482 NATECON
In Collaboration With Appropriate Technology International Control Data Corporation Harvard Institute for International Development


Assistance to
A I Resource Institutions
for Enterprise Support

The ARIES project is designed to strengthen the capabilities of
support organizations in developing countries to implement small-scale
and micro-enterprise development programs. ARIES builds on the work of
the Agency for International Development's former Program for Investment
in the Small Capital Enterprise Sector .(PISCES) and Small Business
Capacity Development projects. It works with intermediary support
organizations that provide services to small and micro-businesses and
industries, such as private voluntary organizations (PVOs), banks,
chambers of commerce, management training centers, business people's
organizations, and other developing country government and non-
governmental organizations (NGOs).

The contract for this five-year project has been awarded to Robert
R. Nathan Associates, Inc. (RRNA) with subcontractors Harvard Institute
for International Development (HIID), Control Data Corporation (CDC) and
Appropriate Technology International (ATI).

ARIES is core funded by the Bureau for Science and Technology's
Office of Rural and Institutional Development (S&T/RD) and the Bureau
for Food for Peace and Voluntary Assistance's Office of Private and
Voluntary Cooperation (FVA/PVC). Mission funded technical assistance
represents $3.8 million, or almost three-fifths of the five-year budget
of $6.8 million.

The ARIES project has three major components -- research, training,
and technical assistance -- designed to cross-fertilize each other. The
applied research component focuses on economic, social, and organizational
issues surrounding intermediary support organizations to inform AID
missions and host country actions in this subsector. The training
component includes design, testing, conduct and follow-up of training
programs in such areas as finance, management and evaluation for PVO and
NGO personnel. The technical assistance component provides short-term
technical assistance to AID missions and.intermediary organizations to
assist small and micro-enterprise development.

PROJECT OFFICE: Robert R. Nathan Associates, Inc., 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004 (202) 393-2700 Telex: 248482 NATECON
In Collaboration With Appropriate Technology International Control Data Corporation Harvard Institute for International Development



Chapter Page




Demographic Characteristics 1

Population 1
Health and Nutrition 3
Education 7

Social Characteristics 9

Marriage 9
Divorce 12
Women's Rights and the
Family Law of 1975 14
Division of Labor 15


Agriculture 22

Overview and Constraints 22
Farming Systems 22

Wage Labor 27
Registration and
Land Tenure 30

Assistance to Farmers 32

Research and Extension 32
Credit 39

Chapter Page

Commerce and Small-Scale Enterprise 46

Overview and Constraints 46
Trading 47
Small-Scale Production 49
Handicrafts 50
Assistance to Commercial and
Small-Scale Enterprises 51


The Somali Women's Democratic Organization 55

Origins, Objectives, and Goals 55
Institutional Structure and
Financial Planning 56
SWDO's Range of Activities 62
Strengths and Weaknesses:
Analysis of Constraints 64
SWDO and Handicrafts 67

Other Units for Women 71

Women's Education Development (WED) 71
Women's Unit for Research and
Documentation, SOMAC 73
Somali Family Health Care Association 74
Other 75


Donor Programs in Brief 76


Projects Specifically for Women 79

Save The Children (STC) 80
SWDO's Eradication of Female Circumcision
and Infibulation Project 82
Family Health Project 82

Chapter Page

Projects of Special Interest for Interventions 83

Shabelle Water Management Program 83
Seasonal Credit for Small Farmers 84
The World Bank: A Pilot Project to
Develop the Productivity and Welfare
of Women 86


Strengthening SWDO 91

New Directions 91
Structural Changes in SWDO 98
De-Emphasizing Handicrafts as the Major
Income Generation Activity of Women 101
Proposed Technical Assistance 102

Shabelle Water Management Project (SWMP)
Building in Components to Assist Women Farmers 106

Project Description 106
Land Registration 110
Baseline Survey 112
Baseline Survey Proposed by SWMP 112
Water for Household Use 114
Credit 116
Training 117
Adaptive Irrigated Agricultural Research
and Technical Packages 117

Increasing Women's Access to Credit 118

UNCDF: Seasonal Credit for Small
Farmers Project 118
Other Potential Credit Interventions 121

Other Centrally Funded Mechanisms 123

S&T/HR 123


Table Page

1-1 Demographic Indices 4

1-2 Percent Literate by Age, Sex, and
Rural-Urban Sectors 8

1-3 Educational Level Completed by Sex and
Rural-Urban Sectors 10

1-4 Percent Distribution of Males and Females
by Age Group and Marital Status, 1980 11

1-5 Currently Divorced Males per 100 Currently
Divorced Females by Rural-Urban Sector
and by Age Categories 13

1-6 Average Time Spent in Productive Activities by
Men and Women in Selected Villages in Bay Region 17

1-7 Labor Force Participation Rates by Urban-Rural
Sector and by Sex for the Twelve Months Prior
to the Labor Force Survey of 1982 19

1-8 Working Population Aged Ten Yeas and Over by
Urban-Rural Sector, by Sex, and by Type of Work 20

2-1 Division of Labor by Sex in Tasks Related to
Livestock Management 23

2-2 Levels of Market Participation 24

2-3 Division of Labor by Sex in Agricultural Tasks 26

2-4 Time Spent in Fuel Collection 28

2-5 Time Spent in Water Provision 29

2-6 Work Division by Men and Women in the
Banana Plantation 31

2-7 Present and Short-Term Improved Yields of
Crops in the Project Area 35

2-8 Constraints and Types of Extension Messages 37

2-9 Extension Activities in Lower Shabelle,
1986-1987 38

2-10 Credit Extended to Women by the Somali
Development Bank, 1982-1984 42

2-11 Credit Extended to Women by the Commercial
and Savings Bank of Somalia, January-March 1985 43

2-12 Cooperatives in Somalia 45

4-1 Repayment Situation of Gu 1985 Credits as of
August 31, 1986. 87

4-2 Summary of Input Distribution, Gu Season, 1986 88

5-1 Farm Types in the Shalambood Target Area 111

5-2 Summary of Indicators for the Baseline Survey
and for the Monitoring of Impact 115


Figure Page

3-1 SWDO's Structure 57

3-2 SWDO's Executive Office 58

5-1 Facilitating Economic Participation of Women:
Proposed Role for SWDO 92

5-2 Proposed Technical Assistance and New Directions 93

5-3 Problem Solving Extension Methodology: Principal
Steps in Overcoming Problems through Discussion
with Farmers 99











Scope of Work

People Interviewed

Sex-Disaggregated Reporting Forms

Verbatim Statute of the Somali Women's
Democratic Organization

Appropriate Technologies

Database Development













ADB African Development Bank

AID United States Agency for International

AFMET Agricultural Farm Management and Extension

FSR/E Farm System Research and Extension

CARS Somali Central Agricultural Research Station

CBR Crude Birth Rate

CDR Crude Death Rate

CF Contact Farmers

CSBS Commercial and Savings Bank of Somalia

CSD Central Statistical Department, Ministry of
National Planning

DICC District Input and Credit Committee

EEC European Economic Community

FAO Food and Agricultural Organization

FEA Field Extension Agent

FHH Female Headed Household

FLEC Family Life Education Center

FSR/E Farm System Research and Extension

GSDR Government of the Somali Democratic Republic

HRD Human Resources Department, Ministry of
National Planning

HQ Headquarters

IBRD International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (World Bank)



























International Labour Organization

Jobs and Sales Program for Africa

Maternal and Child Health

Male Headed Household

Somali Ministry of Agriculture

Somali Ministry of Health

Somali Ministry of the Interior

Somali Ministry of Justice and Religious

Somali Ministry of National Planning

National Input and Credit Committee

Overseas Education Fund

Program Development

Protein-Energy Malnutrition

Primary Health Care

Project Paper

Private Voluntary Organization

Regional Input and Credit Committee

Rate of Natural Increase

Somali Development Bank

Somali Institute for Development and Management

Somali Academy of Arts and Sciences

Standard Acronym for Somali Shilling

Somali Trade and Development

Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party

Social Soundness Analysis

SSE Small-Scale Enterprise

STC Save The Children

SWDO Somali Women's Democratic Organization

SWMP Shebelli Water Management Project

TA Technical Assistance

TFR Total Fertility Rate

T+V Training and Visit Model of Agricultural
Affairs Extension

UNCDF United Nations Capital Development Fund

UNDP United Nations Development Program

UNFPA United Nations Fund for Population Activities

UNHCR United Nations High Commission for Refugees

UNICEF United Nations Children's Education Fund

USAID/Somalia USAID Mission in Mogadishu

WED Women's Education Department, Somali Ministry
of Education

World Bank IBRD

Exchange rate as of May 1987 -- official exchange rate So.Sh.
90 = US$1. Parallel/market rate -- So.Sh. 140 = US$1.



The Somali Women's Democratic Organization (SWDO) asked
USAID/Somalia to provide a team to initiate a project directed
at improving its management capabilities and improving social
and economic conditions of rural women in the Lower Shabelle
Region of Somalia. A three-person team spent three weeks in
Somalia assessing the organization of SWDO, its current
activities in Lower Shabelle (Shebelli), and the economic
activities of rural and urban women. In addition, documents
and other materials were reviewed and discussions were held
with donor agencies in Somalia and Washington, D.C.

The research suggests that it is feasible and highly
desirable to provide technical assistance to SWDO as a mecha-
nism for impacting on and assisting Somali women to improve
their economic well-being. Of equal importance is to devise
and target strategies to include women in the mainstream of
development activities (viz., development projects concerned
with infrastructure, agriculture, health, and water manage-

There are three levels on which donors can assist Somali
women to be integrated into development activities:


1. Projects that specifically target women or
women's organizations; assistance to SWDO would
fall in this category.

2. A women's component or add-on to a larger and
sometimes unrelated project in which women's
activities are separated from the main project

3. Large projects in which women are integrated
into mainstream efforts; special consideration
should be given to assure that their needs are
addressed and that they participate.

Demographic and social data suggest that Somali women are
subject to greater health problems, have less education, and
less de facto rights in society than men. On the other hand,
women are taking an increasing role in development, especially
in the urban areas, and the legal changes brought about by the
Family Law of 1975 are beginning to be felt more extensively.

In the agricultural sector, women perform more than half
of the labor in farming and herding, yet their importance in
production is ignored by governmental agricultural services,
research and extension, and by donor-funded projects, all of
which tend to focus instead on women's role in marginal
economic activities. Similarly, women's roles in commerce and
in the small-scale enterprise sector are overlooked; projects
focus on rudimentary handicraft production, while ignoring the
activities in which there is a large female participation
rate, such as trading. Credit programs and technical training
tend to ignore the needs of women.

SWDO, with 60,000 members, has a network of executive
committees linking the national headquarters, through the
regions and districts, to a large number of community-based
units in villages and towns. The main strength of the

organization is its network of committed members and
structured committees. The membership is oriented not only
toward political mobilization; they also have a mandate for
economic and social development that they are now beginning to
exploit more seriously. SWDO has been directed from the top
and, because of the urban elite of its executive committee,
its orientation has tended to reflect national policy agendas,
as opposed to economic activities directed to rural and to
poor women. Yet, because of its extensive network, the
potential for SWDO to impact on rural development is signifi-
cant. An example of its ineffective orientation toward
economic activities for rural women has been its emphasis on
handicrafts. This emphasis targets small groups of urban
women, produces marginal income and lacks sustainability.

Donor development programs and target projects of special
interest for interventions are reviewed in this report, with
particular reference to women. USAID supports family health,
management training, and private sector projects. The upcom-
ing Shabelle Water Management Project (SWMP) provides an
example of a mainstream project that has thus far ignored the
needs, interests, and roles of women in water collection and
in agricultural production. The United Nations agencies have
funded agricultural credit, health, data collection, and
refugee assistance programs. Some of these provide examples
of projects that have targeted women specifically, but in
their roles as wives and mothers rather than as key partici-
pants in mainstream economic activities. On the other hand,
Save the Children has formulated an innovative enterprise
development project, with training and credit components,
supporting community initiated economic activities, and has
made a concentrated effort to encourage women to participate.
SWDO is participating in a Family Health Project and is


getting ready to implement a new project against female
circumcision; this neither strengthens SWDO as an institution
nor enhances its ability to impact on economic activities for
women. An upcoming World Bank project, to assist the produc-
tivity and welfare of women, is proposing support to SWDO and
to the Ministry of Interior. The Bank invites other inter-
ested donors to get involved in various aspects of this
effort, from the project design through the final implementa-
tion stage.

Recommendations for three project interventions are given
in Chapter 5. The first aims to provide technical assistance
to SWDO through re-directing the organization to:

1. Focus on broad programs rather than exclusively
on projects

2. Act as a linking organization between minis-
tries, donors, and projects relating to women,
in addition to implementing projects of their

3. Increase emphasis on SWDO committees below the
national level and particularly at the district
and village level. All levels need to become
proactive, have their own sources of funds, and
concentrate on reaching women for more than
political mobilization. It is recommended that
participatory methods that provide feedback
from rural, peri-urban, and urban women be
devised and encouraged

4. Form a new unit to provide the locus for
technical assistance packages for the rest of
the organization, including an in-house infor-
mation gathering and dissemination capability
to liase with the donor community at the
national and project levels

5. De-emphasize handicrafts as the prime income
generating option for women. Any handicraft
project needs market study and stringent
quality control


These changes will be facilitated by technical assistance
and training to improve management capability, community
development expertise in local committees, and database
development and management.

The second recommended intervention is to build in
components to assist female farmers in the upcoming USAID
Shabelle Water Management Project by including the needs of
women in the project design and implementation. Specifically,
the project intervention would include the development of
infrastructure to supply potable water for household use,
collection of sex-disaggregated data in the baseline survey,
inclusion of women in credit and training programs, assistance
to women in registering land, adaptive research to take gender
related issues into account, development of strategies for
reaching women with extension services, and monitoring the
participation of women as project beneficiaries.

The third intervention is to increase women's access to
credit of all types, but firstly, to the UNDP/FAO inputs
credit program at the Commercial and Savings Bank. This would
be accomplished by a program of information and outreach to
inform women of the requirements for obtaining credit and to
assist them to fulfill the requirements. The first require-
ments to be addressed are membership in a cooperative or other
creditworthy group and registration of land title in an
irrigated area. USAID/Somalia could also link into the
present United Nations Capital Development Fund Seasonal
Credit for Small Farmers Project with local currency funds.

It is also recommended that SWDO encourage the formation
of non-formal savings and credit associations among women.
Technical assistance could be provided to investigate the


feasibility of organizing a network of cooperative credit
unions throughout Somalia.






- International Boundary
- Region Boundary
t Country Capital
0 Region Capital
," River


0 50 100 200
0 50 100

\ 0\ ,1


Las Koreh





0 50 100 200 km.
S 50 100 mi.---
0 50 100 mi.

E Desert-Some nomadic herding
S(camels, goats in north,
sheep, cattle further south)
= | Mixed Grazing and Crop Cultivation
'2'l; '(maize, sorghum, cassava, millet)

SIrrigated Zone
(yielding principally bananas
sugar cane, cotton, and rice)




- .- -







Demographic Characteristics


Compared to most other Sub-Saharan African countries,
Somalia is relatively homogenous in terms of linguistic,
cultural, and religious background. Somalis constitute about
98 percent of the population; the rest are Arabs, other
Africans, Europeans, and Asians. The population is estimated
to be between 5.9 and 7.7 million by mid-1987 (Somalia CSD and
HRD 1985; Population Reference Bureau 1987), with a sex ratio
of 100.4 males per 100 females, and an age distribution of
46.5 percent under 15 years of age (Somalia MONP and UNICEF'
1984: 3; Somalia MONP 1984).

Approximately 32 percent of the population is urban, 34
percent is rural, and 34 percent is nomadic (AID CDSS 1985:
19). The overall rate of urbanization is estimated at 5.4
percent (World Bank 1986: 240). It is believed that this is
related not only to urban "pull" factors, but also to rural
"push" factors that drive people from the harsh conditions of
the countryside. In the Lower Shabelle, the region of inter-
est to this study, there are indications of net in-migration,
of both men and women, because of favorable agricultural
opportunities in the Shabelle River Valley.

The population of Somalia is growing rapidly because of a
desire for many children, and prevailing patterns of fertility
and mortality show sustained, high birth rates in combination
with declining death rates over time. A recent study showed
that 90 percent of the women surveyed desired more than six
children (Sibanda 1985: 63-64). Another study reported that
less than 10 percent of the women interviewed expected
families of five children or less, and that three-fourths of
the women expected family sizes of eight or more (Somalia MOH
1985: 42). In fact, the 1980-81 Population Survey found that
the average number of children ever born, by the end of the
childbearing years, is 7.5, and that the Adjusted Total
Fertility Rate (TFR) is 7.4 (Somalia MONP 1985: 18, 22). The
World Bank maintains that the TFR is somewhat lower because
the nomadic population, which in most countries has lower
fertility, was not included in the survey. Thus, the Bank
estimates the TFR at 6.7 (World Bank 1985: 4-5).

Various estimates place the Crude Birth Rate (CBR) at
46.5-49.0 (Somalia CSD and HRD 1985; Somalia MONP 1985: 18,
22; World Bank 1985: 4-5; World Bank 1986: 230). Such birth
rates have remained high over time.

Although death rates are still high, they have fallen
over time, leading to a high rate of natural increase. The
Crude Death Rate (CDR) has dropped from 30 per thousand in
1940 (Abdi 1985: 23) to a present range estimated widely from
15.4 to 23 per thousand (Somalia CSD and HRD 1985; Somalia
MONP 1985: 27; World Bank 1986: 230; World Bank 1985: 5;
Population Reference Bureau 1987).

Subtracting the CDR from the CBR provides an estimate of
the Rate of Natural Increase (RNI), a measure of the annual

growth rate of the population. Although it has been estimated
to be as low as 2.5 percent (Population Reference Bureau
1987), it is more commonly estimated in the relatively high
range of 2.9-3.2 percent (World Bank 1986: 228; World Bank
1985: 2-3; Abdi 1981: 19-21; Somalia CSD and HRD 1985).

While overall death rates have fallen over the years,
infant and child mortality rates have remained high. Recent
estimates of infant mortality rates have been as high as 170
per thousand (Abdi 1985: 24) and as low as 147 (Somalia MONP
1985: 26). However, even the latter figure is high compared
to many other African countries. Maternal mortality rates are
also high. For every 100 children born in Somalia, one mother
will die in childbirth and two others will suffer related
morbidity (Abdi 1985: 24).

Table 1-1 summarizes the main demographic data discussed

Health and Nutrition

There are few up-to-date and reliable statistics on
health in Somalia. However, until recently, the main emphasis
has been upon curative health, practiced in some 80 hospitals
in the country, mostly in urban areas, and 308 basic health
units, including approximately 88 maternal and child health
(MCH) clinics. Thus, because of the dispersion of the popu-
lation over vast areas of the country, according to the
National Health Plan 1980-1985, 85-90 percent of the rural and
nomadic population have not had access to health facilities.
For example, in 1981, there was a ratio of one physician per
15,630 persons, and one nurse for each 2,550 persons. As a

Table 1-1. Demographic Indices

Mid-1987 population

Sex ratio

Population under 15

Geographic distribution:


Urbanization rate

Total fertility ratea

Crude birth rate

Crude death rate

Rate of natural increase

Infant mortality rate

Maternal mortality rate

5.9-7.7 million

100.4 males per 100.0 females

46.5 percent

32 percent
34 percent
34 percent

5.4 percent


46.5-49.0 per 1,000 population

15.4-23.0 per 1,000 population

2.9-3.2 percent (annual)

147-170 per 1,000 live births

1 per 100 children born

a. The average number of children a woman will bear,
assuming that current age-specific birth rates will remain
constant throughout her childbearing years.

result, many Somalis have had to, or have chosen to, depend
upon traditional healers for care.

More recently, there has been a shift away from the
curative approach to the establishment of a primary health
care (PHC) system. This will focus on rural villages, with
emphasis upon training community health care workers and
upgrading the skills of traditional birth attendants.

Some of the most common diseases that Somalis, both male
and female, suffer from are tuberculosis, malaria, shisto-
somiasis, and intestinal disorders. Malnutrition is also a
serious problem for all Somalis, young and old. Overall, the
World Bank reports that in 1983 Somalis were obtaining only 89
percent of the required daily calorie supply per capital (World
Bank 1986: 234). One study indicated that 35 percent of the
rural population and 10 percent of the urban population of
both sexes fell below a calorie-based poverty line (Somalia
MONP and UNICEF 1984: 69).

Although malnutrition is a general problem, women, as
well as their children, are particularly at risk. A survey
carried out in Mogadishu indicated that 34 percent of the
women surveyed showed evidence of nutritional deficiency
(Sibanda 1985: 51). It also indicated that 16 percent of
children under five surveyed showed moderate protein-energy
malnutrition (PEM), and 4 percent exhibited severe PEM. This
is lower than Ministry of Health estimates for all of Somalia,
that are 19 percent and 7 percent, respectively (Sibanda 1985:
73-75). The study in Mogadishu concluded that when the data
are broken down by age, it could be seen that the children are
born malnourished, as a result of malnourished mothers and

poor nutrition during pregnancy, and that their malnourished
status worsens, for those who survive (Sibanda 1985: 76).

Other very serious health problems arise for women and
their daughters in Somalia because of the almost universal
practice, before the age of ten, of female circumcision and
the relatively common accompanying practice of infibulation.
The most serious complications occurring at the time of the
operations include severe shock, hemorrage, pain, and in-
fections (Somalia MNOP and UNICEF 1984: 87-88; Masood 1983;
SWDO 1985: 45 Abdallah 1982). Complications continue
throughout life, however, and are very serious for both
mothers and babies at the time of childbirth. Most women
experience long, difficult, and painful births. Many of them
attempt to reduce their consumption of food during the last
trimester of pregnancy in order to relieve the pain of the
anticipated birth. This causes further complications leading
to small, underweight babies and malnourished mothers.

The practice of female circumcision is a deep-rooted
tradition. But, there is rising opposition to it, particular-
ly among Somali women. The Somali Women's Democratic Orga-
nization (SWDO), along with other organizations, is presently
engaged in a campaign to educate Somalis about the health
consequences of this practice (SWDO 1985: 45).

The injurious effects of many, closely spaced children
upon the health of both mothers and children have also been
recognized in recent years in Somalia (DeLancey 1987).
Efforts to educate women about the health problems and to urge
them to begin more actively to space their children are now
being made, particularly through the Somali Family Health Care
Association and its constituent members, i.e., SWDO, USAID,

the Ministry of Health, the Women's Education Department of
the Ministry of Education, and UNICEF. Information is reach-
ing both urban and rural women throughout the country through
the SWDO communication network, but acceptance of such ideas
still meets resistance because of religious tenets and
cultural tradition.


In the early 1970s, the Government of Somalia conducted a
mass literacy campaign throughout the country. Thus, figures
on literacy in the country reflect this influence, perhaps,
more than that of attendance at school. For example, the
Population Census of 1975 reported that 54.8 percent of the
population was literate (60.9 percent of the men; 47.9 percent
of the women). Yet, only 8.4 percent of those over the age of
ten had ever attended school (10.6 percent of the men; 5.9
percent of the women). Literacy was slightly higher in the
Lower Shabelle Region than overall (64.5 percent of total
population; 69.6 percent of the men; 59.2 percent of the
women). However, the percent who had ever attended school was
lower in that region than for the country as a whole (3.3
percent of total population; 4.5 percent of the men; 2.0
percent of the women), probably because the number of
available schools in Mogadishu is greater than in other
geographic locations (Somalia MONP 1984: 119), so there are
more places available.

Table 1-2, from the 1982 Labour Force Survey (Somalia
MONP 1985: 25), provides information on literacy by age, sex,
and rural-urban location. The table reveals, as do the
earlier data, that literacy is more prevalent in urban

Table 1-2. Percent Literate by Age, Sex, and
Rural-Urban Sectors

Age Mogadishu urban Rural
Male Female Male Female Male Female

10-24 84.5 63.3 82.1 54.8 49.7 20.3

25-49 74.5 27.5 73.1 20.9 40.4 6.6

50+ 57.9 6.4 50.7 6.2 25.3 -

Source: Somalia. MONP. CSD. National Survey of Population
1980-81: Report on Findings, November 1985.

than in rural areas, and that literacy is higher among men
than women in all categories.

Table 1-3 provides further information on educational
accomplishment by sex and rural-urban location. Similar to
the findings in Table 1-2, Table 1-3 reveals that a greater
percentage of urbanites compared to rural individuals (within
each sex category) and a greater percentage of men than women
have completed each educational level (Somalia MONP 1985:
26). The World Bank confirms these findings. In 1983, 28
percent of the school-aged males compared to only 15 percent
of the school-aged females were actually enrolled in school in
Somalia (World Bank 1986: 236).

Social Characteristics


Marriage is nearly universal in Somalia; only the phys-
ically or mentally disabled do not marry (see Table 1-4, and
Somalia MONP 1985: 14-15). By age 35, nearly all Somali
women have been married.

The average age at first marriage ranges from 18.6 years
in the rural agricultural sector to age 20.4 years among the
nomadic population (Somalia MONP 1985: 15). The earlier
Census of Population differed slightly, but showed regional
breakdowns as well. Thus, in the Lower Shabelle Region, women
marry, on the average, at 18.7 years of age. This varies,
however, according to location. Urban women in the region
marry at 18.6 years; rural women marry at 18.7 years; and
nomadic women marry later, at 19.3 years of age (Somalia MNOP
1984: 70).


Table 1-3. Educational Level Completed by Sex and
Rural-Urban Sectors

attended Elemen- Inter- Second- Univer- Tech-
Sector school tary mediate ary sity nical


Male 100 52.3 15.9 22.5 10.5 2.4 1.0
Female 100 34.2 12.0 17.2 4.1 0.5 0.4

Other Urban

Male 100 44.0 13.6 21.6 7.4 0.8 0.6
Female 100 21.7 8.5 10.8 1.7 0.3 0.4


Male 100 12.7 6.6 4.9 0.7 0.1 0.4
Female 100 5.0 2.7 1.8 0.2 0.1 0.2

Source: Somalia.

MONP. CSD. National Survey of Popula-

tion 1980-81: Report on Findings, November 1985.


Table 1-4. Percent Distribution of Males and Females
by Age Group and Marital. Status, 1980

Age Never Div./ Never Div./
group married Married Widowed sep. married married Widowed sep.

15-19 98 2 0 73 25 1 1
20-24 76 23 1 24 69 3 4
25-29 39 58 1 2 6 87 3 4
30-34 13 82 2 3 2 89 4 5
35-39 6 88 3 3 1 89 4 6
40-44 3 93 2 2 1 83 8 8
45-49 2 92 3 2 1 79 8 8
50-54 1 93 3 3 1 66 16 17
55-59 1 91 4 3 3 65 20 12
60+ 2 86 6 6 1 28 34 37

Source: Somalia MONP.CSD. National Survey of Population
1980-81: Report on Findings, November 1985.


Childbearing begins soon after marriage and continues
until the end of the reproductive years. This fact is evident
from the high CBR and TFR described earlier. It also is
consistent with Islamic law relating to marriage, that defines
marriage as a contract that has as its main object the pro-
creation and legitimization of children.


Very little data on divorce are available, although it is
generally believed that the rate is very high. It is also
believed that remarriage occurs regularly, with short duration
between unions. Table 1-4 above indicates that very few women
are divorced or separated at younger ages. This could be
interpreted to mean that the divorce rate is very low for
young women. Or, more probably, it could mean that young
women remarry soon after divorcing. In fact, data from a
recent survey show that 38 percent of ever-married women had
been married more than once (Somalia MONP 1981, as cited in
Somalia MONP 1984: 76). The percentage of women remaining
divorced or separated begins to increase with age (Table 1-4)
until it reaches a maximum of 37 percent, greater than the
percentage of women married or the percentage of women wid-
owed, for women over 60 years of age. Data in Table 1-4, as
well as that from the 1975 Census of Population, show that sex
ratios of divorced men per 100 divorced women are quite low
(see Table 1-5 below), and suggest male-female differences in
remarriage (Somalia MONP 1984: 73).

Although the legal causes of divorce are limited and set
forth by the Family Law of 1975, the actual causes of divorce
are more numerous. For example, when a husband marries
another wife, some women prefer to live separately or to be
divorced. Some divorces arise out of frustration caused by


Table 1-5. Currently Divorced Males per 100 Currently
Divorced Females by Rural-Urban Sector and by Age Categories

Sector Age 14-49 All ages

Urban 21 18

Rural 38 23

Nomadic 56 39

Source: Somalia.
of Population 1975.

MONP. CSD. Analytical Volume: Census
January 1984.


infertility. More recently, divorces have begun to result
from the stress of rapid social change, as noted among reset-
tled nomads (Masood 1983).

Women' s Rights and the
Family Law of 1975

In 1975, the first Family Law, was put into writing
(Somalia MOJ/RA 1975). It was heralded as a landmark that
gave equal rights and duties to men and women in marriage,
although still maintaining the husband as the head of the
family. But, it caused great dissension among many who
considered it anti-Islamic. For example, by tradition, and
also in accordance with Islam, men may be married to as many
as four women at one time. Yet, the Family Law prohibits
marriage to more than one woman except under certain con-
ditions recognized by a District Court.

Other conditions are also regulated by the Family Law.
For example, divorce used to be the absolute right of the
husband whenever he wished. Under the Law, certain conditions
must prevail for divorce by the husband and for dissolution of
the marriage by either party, and action must be taken in
court. Similarly, rules for the maintenance and guardianship
of children are set out. Distribution of marital property at
the time of a divorce is regulated so that a divorced woman
may not be driven from her home without possessions. And,
inheritance, which by Islamic law permits sons to receive
twice that of daughters, should be distributed equally. In
addition, beyond the realm of marriage, the Family Law has
been interpreted to provide women with additional rights that
allow them to participate more fully in public life, to hold
political office and thus participate in decisionmaking, and
particularly to have land rights that provide them with access


to credit and training (Somalia MONP and UNICEF 1984: 84).
Although these and similar rights have been put into writing,
many of them are not accorded in practice.

Division of Labor

Within the Household

The division of labor within the household differs,
depending upon the urban-rural location of the family and the
principal economic occupation of the family. That is, there
are basic differences, depending upon whether or not the
family is nomadic, agricultural, or urban-based and govern-
ment/business/trade oriented. However, in all families, women
are responsible for managing all aspects of the household,
especially cooking, cleaning, and caring for the children.

Among nomadic families, women, girls, and young children,
whether boys or girls, are also responsible for looking after
the small livestock such as the sheep and goats, and often the
cattle as well. The latter is particularly true when the men
and boys drive the camels to more distant locations for water
and grazing during the dry seasons when the cattle must remain
closer to the water points.

Within farming families, in addition to managing the
household, women also farm, producing and often marketing
their crops. Typically, they are more involved in the produc-
tion of foodcrops for household consumption and less involved
in independent production of cash crops for the domestic or
export markets than men. But, the latter does not keep them
from working on their husbands' farms as well as their own.


The sexual division of labor in agriculture is discussed in
greater detail under that heading in Chapter 2.

Typical of most African countries, even when women spend
long hours working on their farms, they spend still longer
hours working in their households. Table 1-6 provides evi-
dence of this from a recent study carried out in the Bay
Region (Longstreth 1985). The table describes the sexual
division of labor by individual task within the household in
typical agro-pastoral families, and emphasizes the extent to
which the burden of work in the household falls upon women.
In this example, women spent more than ten times as much time
as men working in their households, even though they also
spent 1 1/3 times as much time as men did on the farm. That
is, in addition to nearly 3j hours of work on the farm each
day, on the average, the women also spent seven additional
hours in household work, preparing food and cooking, caring
for their children and others, sewing and caring for clothing,
shopping, and gathering fuel and water. Preparation of food
was, by far, the most time-consuming task in the household.
Caring for children and maintaining a supply of water were the
next most time-consuming tasks.

In urban areas, women's work differs from that in the
rural areas. While women continue to be responsible for
managing their households and ascertaining that their children
are cared for, they may also need to earn an income because
they must purchase most of their food and fuel, and possibly
even their water. Many women engage in self-employment as
traders, and increasing numbers are entering the labor force
in the civil service or in private business.


Table 1-6. Average Time Spent in Productive Activities
by Men and Women in Selected Villages in Bay Region

Mean minutes per day
Activity Women Men

Total Time in Agricultural Work

Major crop production
Minor crop production
Animal husbandry
Food preparation for sale

Total Time in Household Work

Food production for consumption
Physical child care
Non-physical child care
Physical care of others
Non-physical care of others
Clothing care
Fuel gathering
Water gathering

Total Time in Other Work

Paid Work
Clothing construction













Note: Differences in time allocations were determined with
t-tests; levels of significance were designated as follow:
*p<.10, **p<.05, ***p<.01,****p<.001.
Source: Molly Longstrath. "Final Report on the Women's
Time Use Study, Bay Region, Somalia, May to July 1985." Paper
funded by a Women in Development Fellowship from CID/WID


Within the Labor Force

The labor force, or the economically active population,
is defined as all persons of a particular age category (age
ten and over, in the Labor Force Survey of 1982) who have been
either working or looking for work during a specified time
period, in order to generate income. It is important to note
that by this definition, women who work in the household, but
who do not generate an income, are not considered as part of
the labor force. They are, therefore, not considered econom-
ically active.

Labor force participation rates may be determined by
calculating the proportion of all persons in an age category
who are members of the labor force, i.e., who are economically
active. The Labor Force Survey of 1982 found that urban women
have very low labor force participation rates in general, and
also in comparison to urban men (Table 1-7). This results
from their greater involvement in household work and the
higher proportion of girls going to school in urban areas,
particularly Mogadishu, than in rural areas (Somalia MONP
1985: 43, 54). Rural women, by contrast, have much higher
labor force participation rates; more than half of the rural
women are economically active, because of their greater
involvement in livestock rearing activities and agricultural
work in addition to their normal household'work.

The type of work that women perform within the labor
force is shown more specifically in Table 1-8. In Mogadishu,
the two categories of sales workers and professional, techni-
cal, and related workers account for about one-half of the
total, while the two categories of clerical-related and
service workers account for another 28.4 percent of the labor
force (p. 58, 65). These categories include women traders and


Table 1-7. Labor Force Participation Rates by Urban-Rural
Sector and by Sex for the Twelve Months Prior to
the Labor Force Survey of 1982

Mogadishu urban Rural

Male .5237 .5142 .7997

Female .1371 .1274 .5285

Source: Somalia. MONP. CSD. The 1982 Labor Force Survey:
Analytical Report. November 1985.


Table 1-8. Working Population Aged Ten Years and Over
by Urban-Rural Sector, by Sex, and
by Type of Work
(Last 7 Days before the Labor Force Survey of 1982)

Type of Other
work Mogadishu' urban Rural

All 1,675 412 1,238 365 2,453 1,720
Not stated 22 13 4 3 12 5
related 197 97 127 31 54 6
Administrators, executives,
and managerial 305 39 243 14 51 1
Clerical and related 179 64 142 29 38 3
Sales workers 264 104 199 91 121 52
Service workers 100 53 44 26 26 6
Agriculture, forestry,
fishing, hunting 51 14 234 153 2,077 1,635
Production, transport,
equipment operators, laborers 556 27 245 18 74 12
Not classified 1 1 -

Source: Somalia, MONP, CSD. The 1982 Labor Force Survey:
Analytical Report. November 1985.


shopkeepers, as well as civil servants and professionals such
as nurses and teachers, and also secretaries, clerks, and
typists. In other, smaller urban locations, women are more
involved in agriculture-related occupations, with 42 percent
of the workers falling within that category. In addition,
another 25 percent of the labor force are involved in the
category of sales workers (p. 58, 66). In the rural sector,
where there are more than twice as many female employees as in
the two urban sectors combined, 95 percent of the women in the
labor force are involved in agricultural work, while 3 percent
are working in the second largest, though much smaller,
category of sales workers (p. 58, 67). It is important to
note that sales workers are predominantly individual market
vendors and not employees.

Overall, most studies show that the largest number of
women throughout Somalia are located in the rural areas.
Women who are economically active in those locations are
mainly involved in agricultural work, usually as small-scale
farmers or as farm laborers, receiving low remuneration for
very burdensome, time-consuming, low-productivity work. Those
women, in particular, should be specifically targeted for
development assistance in Somalia.



Overview and Constraints

Farming Systems

Women make up approximately 70 percent of the rural work
force and perform 60 percent of rural production work (Minis-
try of Planning 1984: 79-80; Masood 1983). In the nomadic
sector, the majority of households are at a subsistence level,
and women are involved in livestock production. Generally
women care for small animals such as calves, goats, sheep, and
poultry. They collect forage, graze and milk the animals, and
process and market animal products. Occasionally, they are
involved in these activities in relation to large animals,
although this is more usually the responsibility of men.
Table 2-1 shows the division of labor in livestock management
in terms of male and female households heads (MHH and FHH),
wives, boys, girls, and external labor. Women are also
involved in the marketing of livestock and animal products;
Table 2-2 gives the levels of participation in terms of MHH,
wives, and FHH. Women who head their households are more
likely than wives to do tasks (such as selling large and small
livestock) that are usually carried out by men.


Table 2-1. Division of Labor by Sex in Tasks
Related to Livestock Management

MHH FHH Wives Boys Girls External
Tasks N:86 N:10 N:86 N:70 N:78 M F

Herding camels

Milking camels

Herding cows

Milking cows

Herding/feeding calves

Collecting forrage

Herding goats/sheep

Milking goats

Raising chickens

Selling large livestock

Selling small livestock


Preparing hides/skins

Preparing milk products

Marketing milk products

Marketing meat and eggs







1.0 1.0
(1.0) (10.0)

1.0 5.0
(1.0) (50.0)

38.0 5.0
(44.0) (50.0)

21.0 7.0
(24.0) (70.0)

50.0 4.0
(58.0) (40.0)

30.0 2.0
(35.0) (20.0)



1.0 6.0
(13.0) (60.0)






























S 2.0

0.0 3.0
3.0) (3.0)

3.0 2.0
4.0) (2.0)

2 n 72

















Source: WED/FAO Rural
Note: Number in () is
Masood (1983:27).

Household Survey, 1983.
a percentage.



Table 2-2. Levels of Market Participation

Marketing item

Large livestock

Small livestock

Milk products

Meat and eggs

Male H/H

N = 86

(44 percent)

(24 percent)



N = 86

(9 percent)

(35 percent)

(24 percent)

(41 percent)

Female H/H

N = 10

(50 percent)

(70 percent)

(30 percent)

(60 percent)

Source: WED/FAO, Rural Household Survey, 1983).


In the Lower Shabelle and Juba riverine areas, many
households are agricultural or agro-pastoral and women are
involved in all aspects of farming at both subsistence and
cash sales levels. The sexual division of labor and the
contribution of women and men to farming activities are given
in Table 2-3. Standard descriptions of the sexual division of
labor in African agriculture often specify that men clear and
prepare the land, while women plant, weed, and harvest.
Careful studies all over the continent show that women and men
are involved in a variety of farm operations, many of which
overlap (see Spring 1985; 1987). The Somali data in Table 2-4
show that both sexes do all tasks and that FHH perform these
operations (such as land clearing and preparation, planting,
weeding, irrigating, transporting, and digging storage pits)
in greater frequencies than wives, presumably because of the
absence of male labor. There are no sex differences in
fertilizing crops, but the incidence of use of this input is

Data from the time use study given above in Table 1-6
(Longstreth, 1985) show that women in the Bay Region spend
more time (205 minutes or about 2J hours per day) in
agricultural work than do men (159 minutes or about li hours
per day). Minor crop production and animal husbandry tasks
are similar in time expended, but women spend an hour per day
more than men on the production of the major crops. Women
consider weeding done with a hoe as the most tiresome task,
according to Longstreth.

It is important to emphasize the large amount of work and
responsibility women have in the production of staple and
cash crops (such as maize, sorghum, sesame, tomatoes, and
bananas) and of livestock enterprises (such as cattle and


Table 2-3. Division of Labor by Sex in Agricultural Tasks


Land clearance

Land preparation





Bird scaring




Digging pits/storing

Marketing large quantities

Marketing small quantities


Female head
of household

Male head
of household














Note: Number in () is a percentage.
Source: WED/FAO, Rural Household Survey, 1983.
Ministry of Planning (1984: 81).

in household




























small ruminants). The data on their work is especially
important because of stereotypical notions that women are only
or primarily responsible for small kitchen gardens and chick-
ens. This misconception has led to the rationale that pro-
grams for women should emphasize advice on horticultural crops
and poultry. In fact, Somali women, just as Somali men,
require technical packages and extension advice on major and
minor crops and on small ruminants ahd cattle.

Women are also responsible for fetching water and fuel.
According to the data in Table 2-4, women in Lower Shabelle
spend between four and seven hours per collection and they
collect fuel between one and seven times a week. Water
collection in the region takes half an hour in the wet season
and eight hours in the dry season (Table 2-5). In the wet
season, women may take several trips per day to fetch water,
but in the dry season, they usually make only one.

It is important for programs and projects to appreciate
women's work in fetching water and that lengthy collection
times affect agricultural and domestic work schedules.
Furthermore, water for household use from streams and irriga-
tion channels is prone to waterborne diseases, especially
schistosomiasis in Lower Shabelle. A proposed water manage-
ment project (see Chapters 4 and 5) should address both
household water supply and women's roles as agriculturalists
in the target area.

Wage Labor

Most women in the agricultural sector are concentrated in
subsistence farming as unpaid family workers. Some of these
women also perform agricultural wage labor, of which there are
two types. Poor and landless women may hire themselves for


Table 2-4. Time Spent in Fuel Collection

Frequency/ Average time/
Region Week Collection

Lower Shabelle 1-7 times 4-7 hours
N:24 N:18 N:18

Bay 1-8 times 1-9 hours
N:37 N:34 N:34

Middle Shabelle 2-3 times 2-4 hours
N:35 N:30 N:24

Total 1-9 times 3-4 hours
N:96 N:82 (average) N:76 (average)

Source: WED/FAO Rural Household Survey, 1983.
Masood (1983:28)


Table 2-5. Time Spent in Water Provision

Round trips
Village Wet season Dry season

Sarman Dheer I hour 6 hours
Hareero Jiifo 11 hours 6 hours
Shabelle Dugsilo hour 8 hours
Wasta Jaffay I hour 4 hours
Buulo Hawo hour 8 hours
Lootis I hour 6 hours
Robay Gadud hour 3-6 hours
Gaduudo Dhurti 1 hour 6 hours
Bullo Fur I hour li hours
Durei Aki Galle i hour 5 hours

Source: Ministry of Mineral and Water
Development Agency, 1983.
Masood (1983:28)

Resources and Water


piece work or day work to individual wealthier farmers in the
area for cash or kind payments. The farm operations they
perform are usually weeding and assistance with harvesting
(threshing and transporting). Wages are low and employment is
seasonal and temporary.

Women are also employed on a seasonal, but more regular
daily basis on plantations, state farms, and cooperatives
where they tend to do planting, weeding, and harvesting.
Women work on bananas in Lower Shabelle, the main cash crop
and the country's second largest export. Table 2-6 shows that
women are involved in transporting seeds and fruit, planting,
hoeing, fertilizing, and cutting the fruit (SWDO 1985: 56).
Women also clean and pack the bananas. In total, women
account for 57 percent of the total labor force involved in
banana production. Currently there are no differences in pay
scales between men and women doing the same jobs, but there
are pay differentials for different jobs. Women interviewed
at one of SOMALFRUIT's packing plants in Lower Shabelle
reported that they work three to four consecutive days when
ships come into port (about three times per month), earning
a total of So.Sh. 300-500 for the period worked, depending on
task performed. Some of these women, who are SWDO members,
also had irrigated farms. They had a variety of strategies
that included cultivation by themselves and their families of
maize, sesame, and tomatoes, depending on the season,
cultivation of fruits soursopp, papaya), renting some of the
land and receiving payment in crops grown, fishing with nets
and traps, and seasonal weeding on nearby Italian plantations.

Registration and
Land Tenure

The traditional land tenure system is based on the
household's continual usage or inheritance of a plot. Recent


Table 2-6. Work Division by Men and Women
in the Banana Plantation

Number of women Percentage No of men
Banana works 10-14 15-50 of women 10-14 15-59

Carrying in seeds 80 80.0 20

Putting the seeds in lines 16 39.0 -25

Sowing 80 80.0 -20

Irrigation 120

Hoeing 50 100 51.7 60 80

Fertilizing 100 83.3 20

Pruning 90

Harvesting 12

Carrying the fruit 130 81.3 30

Cutting 20 66.7 10

Cleaning 2 8 100.00 -

Packing 2 30 100.0 -

Subtotal 52 564 60 427

Total 616 487

Source: SWDO (1985:56)


land tenure legislation allows long-term registration of lands
in individual names, within a certain range of minimum and
maximum sizes. With those recent changes in the law, the
best, irrigated agricultural land is rapidly being registered
in the names of wealthy, often well-educated, urban men who
know the mechanics of acquiring land. In research conducted
in October 1986 by members of the Faculty of Economics at
Somali National University, a not 'uncommon complaint of
farmers along the Shabelle River in Afgoi District was that
their land, that had been in actual use under the traditional
land tenure system, had been taken over by wealthy, large-
scale farmers from Mogadishu. Some of the poor farmers
maintained that they had to resort to a farming system of kala
goys (share cropping).

More often than not, the land that a woman farms is not
registered in her own name, for either cultural or economic
reasons. A married woman is less likely to farm her own land;
she is more likely to farm a portion of the land that may be
registered in her husband's name. Women tend to have smaller
plots than men and the plots are less likely than men's plots
to be irrigated. When a large plot of land is registered in a
woman's name, it has been found, sometimes, that this has been
done to disguise the identity of a prominent husband. Yet, it
is important for women to have access to titled land, particu-
larly when they need seasonal credit for inputs to expand

Assistance to Farmers

Research and Extension

The agricultural crop sector produces 11 percent of GDP
and has been a focus of Somali hopes to increase exports and


improve the lives of villagers. The Ministry of Agriculture
(MOA) has several research stations and extension programs.
The Somali Central Agricultural Research Station (CARS) in
Afgoi, originally set up with USAID and FAO funding, focuses
on irrigated crops. Its mandate includes foodcrops, especial-
ly grains (maize), legumes, and oilseed crops. Along with
standard sections such as soils, agronomy, horticulture,
pathology, entomology, irrigation, rorage, and weed control,
is a new farming systems research and extension (FSR&E)
section and team. The FSR&E section includes two exten-
sionists. There are hopes that some feedback from extension
and from farmers may be obtained by this arrangement. The
team includes an agronomist and an entomologist but lacks an
economist/rural sociologist. Up until now, research findings
have been given in annual reports and there have been no
mechanisms to get feedback from extension or from farmers.

The Agricultural Extension and Farm Management Training
Project (AFMET), a multi-donor project (IBRD, USAID, ADB, and
GSDR), operates through the Training and Visit (T and V) Model
in which each Field Extension Agent (FEA) works with 64
contact farmers (CF), who are divided into eight groups; each
CF has ten families to whom to extend information. FEAs are
high school graduates interested in agriculture who receive a
three-month training course. They are assigned to the village
and then trained for a season. Most FEAs are young men.
Although some women were hired, few elected to stay in the
rural occupations and left the employment. The T and V system
provides for monthly and fortnightly (bi-weekly) refresher
sessions for FEAs so they can give recommendations every two
weeks to farmers.

The climate of Somalia is divided into four seasons: two
rainy seasons (Gu and Der) each followed by a dry season. The


Gu is the long rainy months from March/April to June/July in
which up to 70 percent of total rainfall of 100-500 mm/year
falls. Der lasts from September/October to November/December.
In Lower Shabelle, maize is grown during the Gu season.

The Lower Shabelle Region has both irrigated and dryland
farming. Large-scale private and state farms produce bananas,
rice, and sugar. Smallholders on irrigated land grow maize
and sesame in rotation with bananas and other horticultural
crops (papaya, grapefruit, and vegetables). In rainfed or
dryland agriculture, smallholders grow sorghum, and some
pulses cowpeaa, mung bean) and sunflowers/safflowers. In
Lower Shabelle, AFMET works in five extension areas (Merka,
Merka II, Awdhaegle, Qorioley, and Afgoi). Table 2-7 gives
some present yields as well as some short-term projections
that various agricultural projects might hope to accomplish.

Through FSR&E, the constraints that farmers experience
have been determined and extension messages have been for-
mulated to remedy the constraints that mostly focus on low
plant populations, untimely weeding, water management, and
pest management. In addition, farmers are affected seriously
by the lack of credit for inputs, drought every three or four
years, difficulties in obtaining plowing services (tractors),
and soil salinity.

AFMET is involved with research trials in order to verify
extension recommendations and to provide practical exercises
for FEAs and for farmers. Work has been conducted through
simple on-farm trials such as different levels of nitrogen and
with different levels of plant populations, different levels
of nitrogen with different levels of weeding, and maize/cowpea
intercropping mixtures. Based on trial and other results, the


Table 2-7. Present and Short-Term Improved Yields
of Crops in the Project Area

Present Projected Yield
yield a small large
Crop Unit average scale scale

Sorghum qt./ha. /season 6.2 7.0 21.0

Maize qt./ha./season 10.4 12.0 21.0

Rice qt./ha./season 10.0 14.0 25.0

Sesame qt./ha./season 4.6 5.0 8.0

Groundnut qt./ha./season 5.0 6.0 10.0

Cowpeas qt./ha./season 4.8 6.0 10.0

Cotton qt./ha./season 5.0 8.0 16.0

Sugarcane mt./ha.c/year 55.5 90.0

Bananas mt./ha./year 21.2 25.0

a. Under irrigation, except sorghum.
Source: Somalia Agricultural Sector Survey (n.d.): 80.
b. One quintal = 100 kilograms/hectare.
c. Metric ton/hectare.

constraints and the various extension messages have been
developed (see Table 2-8).

AFMET personnel in Janale (Genale) have distinguished
three types of farmers belonging to three different recommen-
dation domains in their target areas. These are traditional
farmers who continue to farm without adopting any of AFMET's
improved practices or technologies.' These farmers realize
maize yields of ten quintals/ha. (1,000 kg./ha.) for the Gu
season. Advanced farmers, who are using AFMET's recommenda-
tions, have yields of 45 quintals/ha. (4,500 kg./ha.) and the
intermediate or "transitional" farmers have yields of 25
quintals/ha. (2,500 kg./ha.). It would be useful to have data
on the characteristics of each type of household in terms of
its composition and available labor, sex of household head,
crop and livestock enterprises, and off-farm activities to see
whether or not female-headed households have been affected
much by extension.

AFMET's contact with farmers is given in Table 2-9.
Fifty FEAs, five of whom are women, have reached 126 villages
in 1986 and the hope is to reach 225 in 1987. Compared to
similar programs in other countries, the number of farm
families claimed to have been reached (34,080 in 1986 and
43,320 in 1987) seems too large relative to the number of
contact farmers (2,400 in 1986 and 3,200 in 1987). AFMET
personnel in Lower Shabelle mentioned that at present, less
than 0.5 percent of these are women, but that the goal is to
have two women as part of each group of eight CFs. The staff
noted that it was culturally possible for male FEAs to work
with female farmers, although there are others who would
disagree. However, since extensionists choose to work with
farmers who have land title, they may encounter difficulties
finding women with title to land (see land tenure and


Table 2-8. Constraints and Types of
Extension Messages

Types of
Extension Messages


Low yield


(maize-stalk borers)


Land preparation

Lack of information
about farmers

Increase plant populations
(density and spacing)
(50,000 plants/ha.)
Seed selection
Improved seed
Land preparation
Fertilizers: amounts and timing

Deep plowing
Manual weeding
Early and timely weeding
Crop rotations
Chemical control

Control for maize, cowpeas,
and sunflowers
Crop rotation
Better land preparation
Chemical control

Canal cleaning
Problem solving for water
Machinery maintenance

Oxen training in rainfed areas
(tsetse in irrigated areas)
Tractor plowing

Record keeping

Table 2-9. Extension Activities in Lower Shabelle,
(Category for Number of Female Contact Farmers Added)

Merka I Merka II Awdhaegle Qorioley Afgoi Total
1986 1987 1986 1987 1986 1987 1986 1987 1986 1987 1986 1987

No. of FEAs

Village reached

Farm families reached

Number of contact farmers

Number of female contact

Package demonstrations

Comparison trials

Fertilizer plots

Farming systems research

Research extension link

Food security survey

Monitoring and evaluation
survey points




















































































5 5

50 50

126 225

34,080 43,320

2,400 3,200

825 1,949

1,102 1,143

75 129

60 153

5 10

1 4 4 1 2 7 8

1 -

1 2

registration below). In addition, the T and V system sched-
ules contacts with farmers at regular intervals and times.
Unless these meetings are syncronized with the time women have
available, women may be bypassed by extensionists. Neverthe-
less, the staff commented that it could be possible for women
to be chosen as CFs, trial cooperators, and targets of
extension services, but this would take some support and
direction to staff from the senior AFMET officers.

Record keeping to collect information on project partici-
pants is an important component of the AFMET extension pro-
gram. No sex-disaggregated data are collected, but extension
data on standardized reporting formats are collected by the
staff. These could easily be changed and used by the FEAs.
An example of a sex-disaggregated format is given in Appendix


Credit is important for increasing agricultural produc-
tivity. Medium- and long-term credit is necessary for the
purchase of agricultural equipment such as tractors, or for
extensive land improvement such as digging irrigation canals
or purchasing a pump. Short-term credit is also important for
the purchase of seasonal inputs such as improved seeds,
fertilizer, and pesticides, because it is difficult for
farmers to pay for such inputs before they sell their crops at
harvest time.

In Somalia, there are two main sources of credit from the
formal, financial structure of the country, the Somali Devel-
opment Bank (SDB) and the Commercial and Savings Bank of
Somalia (CSBS). The SDB provides medium- and long-term credit
in the productive sectors of the economy, such as agriculture,


livestock, and industry. The bank's headquarters are in
Mogadishu and there are branches in Hargeisa in the North and
Kismayo in the South.

The Commercial and Savings Bank of Somalia provides
short-term credit, especially to the commercial sector. The
bank has 38 branches throughout the regions and districts of
the country. The bank has recently initiated a new project
with the assistance of the UNDP and the FAO, and a grant from
the UNCDF, to provide seasonal credit to small-scale farmers.
This credit program will be discussed more fully in Chapter 4
under the heading "projects of special interest for inter-

In some African countries, there are a variety of non-
formal or semi-formal types of savings institutions that are
used by those who do not have access to the formal banking
structure. Such institutions are conspicuously absent in
Somalia, except for rotating credit associations, used most
often by market women in urban locations. The dearth of
alternative institutions is at least partly due to the Islamic
belief that interest payments might be usurious.

It is difficult for small-scale farmers, whether men or
women, to obtain credit in Somalia because they so often lack
collateral in the form of titled or irrigated land necessary
to satisfy formal bank requirements for loans. But, it is
even more difficult for a small-scale woman farmer to obtain
access to credit, partly due to culture, and partly to econom-
ics. If a woman is married, she is less likely to farm her
own land than a portion of her husband's land. If she has her
own land, it is likely to be a smaller plot of land than those
of men, and it is less likely to be irrigated or registered.
Women are often reluctant to apply for loans because they fear


that they will not receive them, or because they do not know
the mechanics of obtaining loans or how to complete the paper-
work. They may not have the time to spend away from their
family or the money needed to register their land or to travel
to the bank to convince officials to give them a loan. The
latter is particularly true for the SDB, as there are only two
branches outside of Mogadishu. But, it is also true to a
lesser extent for the CSBS.

It is evident from the few data available from these two
institutions that women have received only a very small share
of the total credit extended thus far (SWDO 1985: 60-61). No
credit was provided to women by the SDB prior to 1982. Table
2-10 provides data on credit extended to women in 1982-84,
although the figures are incomplete. Nevertheless, it is
possible to see that the number of female beneficiaries of
credit from the SDB is very small and that credit to women as
a percent of total credit was also very small. Only 14 or 15
women in all of Somalia received credit from the SDB in 1984.
And, except for the one female beneficiary in Kismayo in 1984,
the amount of credit extended to women as a percentage of all
credit extended by the bank has ranged between 0.0 and 8.2

The data available for the Commercial and Savings Bank of
Somalia are similar (see Table 2-11). Only three months in
1985 were available. But only 25 women received loans from
all 38 branches during that time period (SWDO 1985: 62-63).
And, the amount extended to women as a percent of total credit
extended ranged from only 0.4 to 7.0 percent, a very small

Women could potentially benefit from greater access to
credit to increase agricultural productivity. They need


Table 2-10. Credit Extended to Women by the
Somali Development Bank, 1982-84

Number of
Location Percent of total benefici-
and year Amount amount aries

1982 31,729,220 1.0 3
1983 n.a. 3.0 3
1984 59,302,157 8.2 11

1982 4,856,245 4.3 5
1983 n.a. 1.2 5
1984 n.a. 5.6 2-3

1982 169,969 3.5 1
1983 0 0.- 0
1984 n.a. 44.1 1

Note: n.a. = data not available.
Source: SWDO. Women in the SDR, Mogadishu: SWDO, 1985.


Table 2-11. Credit Extended to Women by the
Commercial and Savings Bank of Somalia,
January-March 1985

Number of
Percent women who
of received
Month Total amount Women's share total loans

January 161,421,210 11,300,000 7.0 4

February 709,562,320 2,800,000 0.4 7

March 277,715,316 12,682,761 4.5 14

Women in the SDR. Mogadishu: SWDO,

Source: SWDO.



assistance, however, to remove the present constraints. Some
recommended interventions are presented in Chapter 5.


Cooperatives are active in many aspects of the Somali
economy. There are multi-purpose cooperatives, group farm
cooperatives, and to a much lesser extent, cooperative farms.
The multi-purpose cooperatives may focus on agriculture,
industries and handicrafts, livestock, fisheries, transporta-
tion, consumer trade services, and forestry. Among them, the
agricultural cooperatives join two to six villages and have a
minimum membership of 100; the land and private property
remain under the individual ownership of each member. Cooper-
atives grant credit, provide machinery, sell produce, carry
out social and cultural activities, gain access to extension
services, increase land holdings, and promote the joint
accumulation of working capital.

Group farms have a minimum of 25 farmers or landless
workers who practice collective or semi-collective cultiva-
tion, usually using modern technologies such as tractor
ploughing, fertilizations, and plant protection. Cooperative
farmers use the land collectively and pool their labor and
other resources.

The following table (Table 2-12) lists the six types of
cooperatives, and the frequencies of each type for the country
and for Lower Shabelle.

Although total membership of cooperatives in the area was
not determined, an examination of the records of a newly
established one revealed that of 110 members, 32 were women.


Table 2-12. Cooperatives in Somalia

Type of Number of Number in
cooperative cooperatives Lower Shabelle

National Agricultural Cooperative
Organization 413 87

National Fisheries Cooperatives
Organization 23 4

National Organization of Livestock,
Forestry, and Incense Cooperatives 83 5

National Cooperative Organization of
Handicrafts and Small-Scale Industrial 22 5

National Organization of Transport
and Construction Cooperation 33 7

National Organization of Consumer and
Service Cooperatives 70 11

644 119


No women held any leadership position or served on any commit-
tees. There is one woman who is the president or chairperson
of a cooperative (the "Ubax" Cooperative in Qorioley), who was
elected over three male candidates. She is an active person
in local government. The SWDO Regional Chairperson observed
that SWDO could mobilize women to stand for election and to
serve on committees.

Multi-purpose cooperatives have been designated by the
Commercial and Savings Bank as acceptable for the joint
guarantee of loans extended through the UNCDF Seasonal Credit
for the Small Farmers Scheme. In fact, it is primarily
members of cooperatives who qualify for credit; hence, women
need to be members to qualify.

Commerce and Small-Scale Enterprise

Overview and Constraints

The scope for viable commercial and other small-scale
enterprises (SSEs) varies with population density. Clearly,
the larger the market, the greater the diversity of enter-
prises and potential for development. This means planners
need to be responsive to the realities of specific locations
when projects are designed. Small enterprise development must
not be viewed in isolation, as SSEs are clearly a sub-sector
of private enterprises. More importantly, this subsector is a
vital component of a larger economy that is complementary to
the agricultural and livestock sectors. It is a source of
earnings and employment, a provider of non-farm goods and ser-
vices, and an important farm-to-market link in the economic


Rural small enterprises exist in towns and villages in
three basic forms:

1. Productive enterprises such as carpenters,
blacksmiths, bakers, potters, weavers, tailors,
and shoemakers

2. Processing enterprises such as maize grinding
mills, sesame oil processing, and confection

3. Service enterprises such as tea shops,
restaurants, fuelwood vendors, retail shops,
barbers, transportation services (donkey carts
and trucks), and repair and maintenance shops.

Characteristically, men's enterprises are small in size
and employ the owner and few workers. Most of them rent a
small workshop and pay annual taxes. Their markets are in
their own villages and sometimes extend to the neighboring
villages and towns. Women, however, tend to concentrate in
income generating activities with low barriers to entry and
requiring minimum skills and investment. With few exceptions,
they work singly and realize no economies of scale in purchas-
ing or marketing. Women living in towns or villages generally
do not farm. The majority are in very small commercial
trading, production, or service businesses with few, if any,
employees. They generally do not pay rent or taxes.


In the market places, women generally sell produce or
goods they have bought from a wholesaler or cooked themselves.
In Merka, women dominated the firewood business, from the
wholesalers down to those who broke up kindling, while only
men sold charcoal. In Mogadishu, women also sold fabric and


clothing, although they competed with male shopkeepers in this

In all the towns examined, the stall holders and shop
owners were mainly men, although sales staff could be female,
usually family members and unpaid. However, there were
exceptions of women who were successful in owning and managing
these enterprises.

Women vendors sold from mats on the ground, usually in
the same location each day. They went to work every day and
were the sole support of their families. Many had been in
business for a number of years, but their working capital only
grew in response to inflation. Women did not move from a
place on the ground to a rented stall. It is unclear if this
is due to chance, cultural barriers, lack of capital, or the
type of product sold.

Working capital varied from nothing (a lady selling wood
she had collected) to So.Sh. 20,000 (a wood wholesaler who
buys by the truckload). The average stock was So.Sh. 1,000,
that turned over every two days. Respondents reported obtain-
ing start-up capital from families or from husbands. The
women were unwilling or unable to say how much they earned in
a day, either from reticence to discuss income, or because
they did not keep adequate accounting records. (Only the
firewood distributor had a watch, a measurable sign of

Housewives will make baskets and other crafts, incense,
or food specialties at home for sale to a middleman who then
resells in the market. Those close to a market will collect
extra firewood, thatch, or hay to sell in the town as a source


of cash. Women farmers usually sell their cash crop to a
wholesaler, who only buys a single product, and then distrib-
utes to the market vendors. Wholesale markets are located
outside the town center and are dominated by men. Smaller
villages do not have a market and women are not so visible in
the commercial sphere.

Small-Scale Production

In towns and villages, women who make pottery and other
crafts, prepare foods and sweets, and work as dressmakers
conduct these activities mainly as a cottage industry. Such
activities imply that the husband or father is the main
breadwinner; more importantly, they allow women time to rear a
family and look after a house. Rarely do the producers sell
their own output in the market. Female heads of households
who need to support themselves are full-time vendors in the

In Brava, there are a number of family workshops making
shoes. These are managed by the father and the women work
alongside boys as part of the family unit. This family coop-
eration is also seen in the weaving cooperative in Jelib-
Merka. Here, a female family member, usually the wife,
prepares the threads and strings the looms, while the man
weaves the cloth and handles the money. In the latter case,
although both people are members of the local weaving coopera-
tive, none of the women are officers. Fish drying is a
seasonal activity also undertaken by women, but it is not a
regular income earner.

In Mogadishu, basket makers work together at the Lido (a
tourist market area), but they are from the same area, and the
bonding is informal. Reportedly, there are also some women


who own furniture production units and showrooms. They hire a
man to run the workshop and do the selling themselves. In the
gold market area, there are female vendors who do small-scale
trading in gold-colored costume jewelry on the street outside
the leased gold shops which were run by men. Again, they do
not have leased premises and have a.minimum of investment in
stock. The team did not focus on this minority of urban

In the rural areas, the economy is less monetized and
female farmers have much less opportunity to earn discretion-
ary income through small-scale production. They have less
time, less capital, and smaller, more diffused market demand
(Stearns: 1985). At the other end of the scale, women
seeking to go into a formal sector business face the same
types of constraints as men; that is, the lack of foreign
exchange, uncertain government policy environment, and scarce
credit. However, they also face social constraints that are
difficult to address directly.


Handicraft production is overrated as an income generat-
ing opportunity for women. The income earned per unit of time
spent is often too low for all but those with otherwise low
opportunity costs. The team saw old women making camel
blankets from scrap material. For them, this is a useful
activity; they have no other demands on their time, it is a
social occasion, and it earns a little cash. Housewives and
young girls making traditional caps and hats are likewise
happy to earn a small amount of money in a social setting.

For women with financial responsibilities, crafts should
be viewed as secondary to a mainstream activity where the


earning potential is greater. It is only when there is a
substantial market for the product that the craft becomes an
economically competitive activity. Pottery making on a
village scale and basket making in a tourist center are two
examples. Large-scale, organized handicraft production is
constrained, first, by the small domestic market and, second,
by the high quality demands of export marketing. The issues
of capital and management are also major problems which would
require expensive technical assistance to address. It is
unlikely that any project focused on handicraft production
could succeed financially.

Assistance to Commercial and
Small-Scale Enterprises

Women in Somalia are most active in a narrow range of
subsistence farming and micro enterprise activities, circum-
scribed by tradition and circumstance. Changing the range of
activities is far more complex than enterprise promotion
schemes for men where no break with tradition is involved.
Any program to assist women in commerce and production should
plan for increments of change, so that women gain confidence
in their ability to handle more complex businesses. This
means working first with women presently in business, assist-
ing them to be more profitable.

Credit for working capital is of primary importance since
most women are in trade. For lenders, this is the riskiest
type since the collateral value of the goods is not great and
repayment depends on the skills and honesty of the borrower.
Working capital credit programs are described more fully in
the PISCES documents produced by USAID.


Credit can mean a number of things. The UNCDF Seasonal
Credit for Small Farmers scheme is planning to diversify into
commercial credit. There are targets of numbers of benefi-
ciaries and an expert is going to be hired. This target could
include women and the expert to be hired could be assigned the
task of including women in credit input programs. Assessing
this would require women to demonstrate creditworthiness or
belong to a group which acts as the'guarantor. Another model
involves the formation of informal savings and loan groups
among interested women. In Zaire, there is a national trade
association of market women that arose from this type of
informal saving and lending system.

The credit should be in small amounts, at commercial
rates, to be paid back on a schedule matching the business
cycle of the borrower. A trader might pay back daily, a
wholesaler weekly, and an agricultural cooperative seasonally.
Any credit should be linked to training in rudimentary busi-
ness principles and marketing, appropriate to the business of
the borrowers.

In 1981, the Somali Development Bank (SDB) made credit
available for "rural development" to landowners. Research
indicates that small entrepreneurs find it difficult to get
credit through the Somali Development Bank because of collat-
eral requirements. Those interviewed perceived the only
guarantee of access to credit from the SDB to be through
owning "big" houses. In practice, borrowing capacity was
defined as one-third of the assessed value of the property
pledged as collateral. Further, the SDB extends loans only
for agricultural purposes and "productive" industry which
leaves out transport operations, agro-industrial service
operations, and many others in trade, maintenance, and dis-


Even though entrepreneurs face difficulties in obtaining
credit from the SDB or CSBS, it seems that a very efficient
and highly developed extended-family credit system does exist.
Many of those interviewed had some access to credit through
the extended family. Family savings, often with remittances
from the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, are the standard and
most often the only sources of credit. Grinding machines,
sewing machines, carpentry equipment, and tools were usually
bought with resources that were made available through members
of the extended family. It is not known what proportion of
the remitters or beneficiaries are women. Repayment of this
type of credit seems to be a debt of honor, but not an onerous
one. Schedule of repayments seems to be flexible, based on an
agreement between the owners of the enterprises and their
relatives, with the prime element being the capacity of the
business (owner) to repay.

Many women are in subsistence activities and have only a
small surplus of time, effort, and resources to commit to
change on an individual basis. Women need to be encouraged to
form groups to achieve their economic goals. Groups are
excellent mutual support units. Cooperative efforts to
purchase in bulk, develop a resource, borrow funds, or to
market collectively are very effective. This is currently
being done by the basket makers in the Lido and the coopera-
tive at Jelib-Merka. There is also an upcoming group farm
project (OEF International and USAID/SWDO) that will help
women work a large farm, as well as encourage enterprise
development. Mutual interest groups can also form the basis
of credit associations or unions. The women of Dar-es-Salaam
Village near Afgoi collectively purchased a water pump which
they run as a village asset.


The team did find a real reluctance on the part of women
to borrow money. In one vivid case, an influential woman had
turned down credit for a highly desirable use until additional
explanation of the benefits of credit overcame her reluctance.
An enterprise promotion or assistance scheme should address
this reticence directly in order for the proposed benefi-
ciaries to take advantage of the provision of credit. The
formation of a group of traders in a market, or female farmers
in a village can provide a mode for training in problem
identification and exploration of solutions. In such sit-
uations, access to credit would be identified as an area of
interest, and training would highlight the problems and
opportunities connected with borrowing.

The team is not recommending group businesses, however.
These are rarely worth the time once a small profit, if any,
is divided among many.


The Somali Women's Democratic Organization

Origins, Objectives,
and Goals

The Somali Women's Democratic Organization (SWDO) was
founded in 1977 by the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party
(SRSP). As one of the three branches of the SRSP, SWDO's
mandate was to propose, promote, and initiate progressive
policies and programs for the advancement of Somali women.
The statutes of SWDO state that it is to:

"struggle towards the betterment of the social life
of Somali women, their liberation from social and
economic inequality, the safeguarding of their basic
rights, and the encouragement of theij full partici-
pation in the national construction."

SWDO was to be "a broad based women' s organization
capable of mobilizing and guiding the Somali women toward the
right path of the Revolution." SWDO's first objective was to
raise the political awareness of women and to mobilize them to
fulfill the objectives of the SRSP.

1. See Appendix D for the complete Statutes.


In 1984, SWDO aspired to "translate the spirit and deeds
of Somali women into positive activities fulfilling the Party
principles and Government policies," and to enable women to
participate in development programs and to guide them into a
"socially meaningful life." This amplification of social
goals reflected SWDO's increasing interest and focus on social
and economic development as a necessary adjunct to its politi-
cal activities.

Institutional Structure and
Financial Planning

National Level

SWDO has four main organs, (1) a Congress, (2) a National
Council, (3) an Executive Office, and (4) Regional, District,
Town, and Village Committees. The Congress meets every two to
five years to elect the National Council, which includes the
heads of the Regional Committees. The National Council elects
the Executive Office annually (see Figures 3-1 and 3-2).

The Executive Office administers SWDO on a day-to-day
basis. There are 11 officers: the President, Vice President,
and Secretaries for Mobilization, Information and Propaganda,
Women's and Children's Welfare, Education and Training,
Foreign Relations, Finance and Economic Affairs, Adminis-
tration, Planning and Projects, and Inspection and Discipline.
Most officers are paid, but their staffs are composed of
volunteers and support personnel seconded from other govern-
ment offices. The President of SWDO has the option of re-
questing support personnel as needed.



S DO' '








Figure 3-2.

SWDO's Executive Office






Finance and



Vice Presiden




Women and


Education and



and Propogand


Planning and





for Inspection
and Discipline


The total number of those working at SWDO Headquarters
(HQ) varies; 54 are paid staff members, of which 26 are
drivers, cleaners, and messengers who are paid less than
So.Sh. 600 per month. The current top salary is So.Sh. 2,000
per month, paid to one Secretary. There are two Secretaries
who read and write a foreign language, but both are new to
their jobs and one serves on a part-time voluntary basis.

Budgeting and funds allocation are carried out centrally
on an ad hoc basis. Any Officer requiring funds for printing
or travel, for example, applies to the Office of the President
for approval. The Secretary of Finance and Administration
then issues any approved monies. It is unclear how the
accounting functions are divided between the Accountant and
the Secretary for Finance.

Donor assisted projects are treated as separate units for
accounting purposes. These projects are managed and adminis-
tered by separate staff who are hired and paid for by project
funds and work in the Project's Office.

Neither formal planning nor financial budgeting occur
within SWDO. In part, this is because there is no financial
certainty or consistency from year to year. For example, in
1986, SWDO received So.Sh. 450,000 from the SRSP. In 1987,
the SWDO President asked for and obtained a commitment of
So.Sh. 3,000,000 -- of which So.Sh. 750,000 was distributed to
SWDO by April 1987.

About So.Sh. 60,000 is realized from members' dues,
mainly from women who are employed in the government, where it
is deducted from their pay. Dues are collected semi-annually
(So.Sh. 2/month for those in cash employment and So.Sh.
1/month for others) and are split 50 percent to the HQ, 30


percent to the Region, and 20 percent to the District. The
Northeast, the largest region, contributed So.Sh. 5,000 in
1986, but contributions vary with the conditions in the rural

SWDO owns its headquarters building which is managed by
the SWDO Trading Agency. The building generates So.Sh. 1.5
million in gross rental income annually. Clear accounts are
kept by the accountant for the Trading group, but the building
expenses and SWDO executive expenses are mixed, so the net
income of the building and its exact contribution to defraying
SWDO's operating costs is not obvious.

Overall, SWDO's major group of expenses is related to the
preparation and printing of receipts for dues and membership
cards. It was reported that due to inflation, SWDO had to ask
for an additional So.Sh. 150,000 to cover higher printing
costs, suggesting that the membership system is a major cost
factor in the organization rather than a revenue generator.

Regional Level

The Lower Shabelle Regional Committee has nine members,
including a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Secretaries for
Finance, Training, Mobilization, and Supervision. They
inspect and oversee the activities of their respective
secretaries in the divisions. Only the Chairman is paid by
SWDO and all support staff comes from the local government.

In Lower Shabelle, there are seven district committees,
each with a nine-member executive committee (including a
Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretaries for Finance, Community


Affairs, Training, and Control). None of the executives are

In the Merka district, there are 280 village level
communities, each with up to a seven-member Executive Commit-
tee; some of these women may, in fact, be the only SWDO
members in the village. At the village level, the divisions
between officers are blurred and members seem to make collec-
tive decisions, without deferring to the authority of the
various officers. Members appear to be influential, active
women in their communities, who are prepared to organize on
behalf of SWDO.

The Regional Office in Lower Shabelle did not have a
listing of all their members or village level committees, but
one of its major responsibilities is to conduct a series of
inspection visits to these villages, and communications with
the villages are fairly frequent. In most districts, village
level committees are expected to write regular reports to the
SWDO District Chair. These reports detail the action taken by
the respective committees during the previous period, particu-
larly in mobilizing women to participate in ongoing campaigns
or celebrations.

Given the almost total lack of financial resources
outside of HQ, regional and district committees depend upon
the local SRSP and Government resources for logistical support
and staff. Inspection trips are planned to take advantage of
local Party or government transport, and staff support is
seconded from Local Government. SWDO appears to be well known
and respected by the local Party apparatus. In Merka, for
instance, the Governor has given the Lower Shabelle Executive


Committee land and a building to use for an income-generating


Membership is open to all women over 18 who are willing
to pay dues, although women in the smallest centers often do
not pay. SWDO believes it has about 60,000 members, but there
is no central list. The best coverage occurs in urban cen-
ters, and especially among government employees. Reportedly,
SWDO has a representative in each Ministry.

SWDO's Range of Activities

At present, SWDO is active in four main spheres, politi-
cal, social, external, and economic affairs. Political
activities are the most developed and include seminars on new
laws and policies, mobilization for preparation and cele-
bration of national days, participation in public campaigns,
and dissemination of government policy.

In social and external affairs, SWDO contributed to the
enactment of the Family Law in 1975, and to the formulation of
policies designed to promote greater participation of women in
economic, political, social, and cultural activities. SWDO is
an implementing agency for the USAID Family Health Project,
and is actively combatting female circumcision (with Italian
support, see below). Local committees work to assure adher-
ence to the Somali Family Law and the Secretary for Inspection
and Discipline gives legal support to women seeking retribu-
tion under this law (5,600 cases were processed in 1986).


Externally, SWDO seeks relations with women's groups
internationally, and sends representatives to conferences and
seminars on topics of interest, both local and foreign.

In the economic sphere, SWDO sets a number of goals for
the organization, namely, to assist and encourage educated
women to get better jobs, to initiate vocational and technical
education programs to help women earn money, to establish
women's cooperatives in groceries, production, agriculture,
and livestock, and to encourage and help women profit from
their traditional skills, such as handicrafts, cookery,
tailoring, cosmetic products, and small-scale industries.
(SWDO Information Booklet: 1985)

In 1981, SWDO established a tie dye and tailoring train-
ing school and production unit in Mogadishu (the Handicraft
Training Center). From 1981 to 1984, it was assisted by a
Danish expert, but since then it has suffered from lack of
foreign exchange. Although the accounts have not been fi-
nalized for 1986, the school and production unit has reported-
ly lost So.Sh. 400,000 in the last ten months. Due to lack of
material, the unit was not operating when the team visited.
The quality of production varies widely and output is sold in
a shop in the SWDO building (see Appendix G).

SWDO's economic activities have been handicapped by: (1)
the absence of an action plan that articulates the way in
which SWDO's economic goals are to be accomplished; and (2)
SWDO's top-down orientation. If a project is to be implement-
ed, its structure and direction are designed and managed by
the donor through the Planning and Project Office at Headquar-
ters. The local committees carry out the initiatives or
directives passed down from Mogadishu. There is little


institutionalized effort to support local committee initia-
tives, and the committees' lack of independent resources
further restricts community based efforts.

In addition, SWDO projects have focused mostly on the
traditional role of women as mothers and homemakers and not on
their roles as income generators. The needs and interests of
women living in villages and towns have also been addressed
more than those of rural agricultural and pastoral women.
SWDO's health, education, craft, and cultural activities are
located in towns and villages.

Finally, observation showed that affluent women were more
involved in SWDO and its activities at the regional and
national levels, perhaps because they have more free time.

Strengths and Weaknesses:
Analysis of Constraints

SWDO's network of committees has the ability to contact
women in cities, towns, and villages more completely than any
other institution for women in Somalia. From the regional
level downward, this is accomplished at remarkably little
cost. The capacity to communicate and involve women in
various activities is SWDO's greatest strength. However, for
a number of reasons, SWDO at the national level does not use
this network as fully as it might. The interests of the
Executive Office in assisting women economically relate to
women as citizens with national responsibilities and not to
women's special needs as farmers, traders, and herders. There
is, moreover, little awareness that SWDO's permanent staff
should be responsible for implementing the policy directives
of the Executive Office. Operationalizing policy statements
is left to the committees in the field, who predictably


respond by repeating the policy message of the national

Local committees are not given a mandate to initiate.
They are usually in the reactive mode, that is to say, they
respond to the next higher level. This means that there is
little flow of ideas from the lower levels to the top. As a
result, SWDO is directed by urban women and is not organized
to respond to the needs of rural or poor women. Equally
important, there is no opportunity for feedback from the
bottom up to occur in order to plan new activities.

In the political sphere, the goal of mobilization can be
very simple, such as getting the women to clean their village
or mobilizing them to turn out for a rally. The time frame is
short and the messages are clear. Success is easy to measure
in terms of number of participants. Inspection trips made by
national and regional executives look specifically at turnout
to measure the effectiveness of a local committee. In the
social and economic spheres, the problems and solutions are
more complex and need more focused attention. Action in these
spheres has remained in the hands of donor directed projects
such as the Handicraft Training Center, the upcoming Project
on Female Circumcision, and participation in the Family Health
Project (see below). SWDO committees at all levels could play
a greater role in directing where and how the donors could
assist women in social and economic development.

Ongoing activities at all levels, including mobilization
and legal assistance to divorced women and widows, are mo-
tivated by outside forces such as the national party or the
woman in need. There appears to be little internally directed
activity, except in isolated committees where the leadership


is particularly dynamic. This means that there is little
innovation or change through time. The same messages are
repeated and the same problems remain, with no new efforts to
conceive of and implement action plans to solve them. The
development activities of the organization have focused on
traditional women's areas: health, handicrafts, and cultural
activities. Efforts in education and training have also
focused on traditional activities such as homemaking and
tailoring. If income generation is to be the next target
area, the traditional focus must broaden.

The National Committee must ask itself whether it wants
to continue the creation of specific projects with specialist
project teams (managers and support staff) or begin building a
program of action that will work toward developing and involv-
ing the whole organization and women in different sectors,
from top to bottom.

The former approach will probably result in an isolated
and unsustainable project similar in impact to the Handicraft
Training Center Project. Once the project is over and the
donor-based financial assistance and expertise is withdrawn,
there will be little residual management ability to keep it

The latter approach suggested here would involve
strengthening SWDO as an institutional broker or facilitator
of meaningful development programs. SWDO could exploit its
network and committed volunteers and leave the technical
specialization to the specialized ministries and agencies.
SWDO committees at the grassroots level could solicit views
and needs from the community and could communicate these to
the people who would design projects. SWDO activists could


organize and motivate women to take the fullest advantage of
any and all projects that are implemented. Programs developed
in this manner have a greater likelihood of becoming self-
sustaining since they would address the immediate concerns of
the potential beneficiaries. SWDO would assure that technical
projects address the needs of women and that women take part
in them to the fullest extent, without getting involved in the
mechanisms of implementing them.

A prime attraction of implementing projects has been the
funding and resources that come with them. Unfortunately,
many of these resources are only available as long as a
project is ongoing, and usually the resources are targeted at
project-related activities. Aside from the Project Office
that has outside donor funds, the rest of SWDO struggles with
an erratic and insufficient resource base. These resources
are used primarily to collect dues, to supervise the various
levels of committees, and to mobilize women for demonstrations
of support for global national issues. SWDO field committees
need a greater revenue base if they are to act as agents for
development in their respective communities.

SWDO and Handicrafts

Development planners and women's organizations often
think of handicraft projects first when they think of income
generating activities for women. Hence, it is not surprising
that SWDO's first economic activity focused on the Handicraft
Training Center concerned with tie dyeing and tailoring. This
interest in handicraft activities for women is based on
various notions, including the belief that handicrafts are the
type of work that women do well, that the work does not
interfere with domestic responsibilities, that low levels of


investment are required, and that short periods of time will
produce items for sale.

Indigenous handicrafts carried out by Somali women
include making pottery, basketry, and mats; the former is a
rural village activity, the latter two are found in rural and
urban areas. Men are involved in such activities as weaving,
jewelry making, and leather working. Of these, gold and
silver smithing yield the highest returns. Urban and peri-
urban women do various stitchery activities that include the
embroidery and knitting of hats and decorative wall hangings.
SWDO felt that the team should see all the craft activities in
which women are involved and particularly emphasized hats,
baskets, mats, and pots (see Appendix G).

Crafts that give good returns are rarely practiced by
women. Costing out the amounts received for pots, baskets,
mats, and hats showed that returns by Somali women interview-
ees were not great, and in no way compared, for example, with
the returns from men's crafts activities such as gold and
jewelry making.

Unfortunately, the reality of the handicraft industry is
rarely judged accurately. Few realize that excellent handi-
crafts require specialized skills and often years of appren-
ticeship. Craft production is often labor-intensive and
provides meager returns for long hours of work. Furthermore,
these activities are rarely stepping stones to a small-scale
industry that would offer greater incomes to women. Any type
of income-generating activity for women requires a solid
understanding of their lives and of how the enterprise fits
into their work patterns and income requirements. Somali hat
makers, for example, are for the most part housewives for whom


stitchery provides recreation and "pin money." No amount of
capitalization could turn these embroidered or crocheted hats
into a booming business. Certain villages are noted as places
where pottery is produced and traders visit these villages to
purchase items; the women there are also farmers and farm
laborers. Their pot-making could be facilitated by carts to
help them carry raw materials (clay) and finished products.
(Appendix D gives an example of a cart that might be feasi-
ble.) Marketing strategies could produce wider distribution,
although currently traders come to the village to purchase the

SWDO embarked upon the Handicraft Training Center in 1981
as a means of assisting women with skills training and income
generation. The Center was funded by the United Nations
Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), executed through the
Handicraft and Small Scale Industry Unit of the African
Training and Research Centre for Women. The Danish Interna-
tional Development Agency provided technical assistance for
four years. In 1981, SWDO received US$179,000 (So.Sh.
16,110,000) to train four groups of 35 women each and seven
professional/administrators in basic skills in tie dyeing,
screen-printing, tailoring of ladies' and children's wear, and
doll, basket, and mat making. The first progress report noted
that neither the target number of women nor the anticipated
sales were achieved. However, the 1984 issue of Himilo: The
Voice of the Somali Women, a magazine produced by SWDO, was
pleased to report that the Center sold So.Sh. 1,094,000 in
1983 compared with only So.Sh 361,000 in 1982. They estimated
that cost recovery was 85 percent in 1983 compared with only
40 percent in 1981. The end of project report (Petersen 1984)
reported that a total of 130 women were trained (with an
additional 18 still receiving training), 77 in basic skills,


21 in advanced skills, 3 instructors, and 9 staff. Production
of dolls, toys, and traditional crafts was discontinued in
1981 and embroidery was discontinued in 1983. The SWDO (1985)
volume notes that 346 women have been trained. As noted
above, the financial statement for 1986 showed that the
Center's operation resulted in a net loss of So.Sh. 400,000.

The team visited the showroom and the Center in May 1987
at the request of SWDO, who admitted that the Center had
invested in individuals, rather than in a cooperative effort
that could maintain capital for continual operation. The SWDO
staff insisted that the major difficulty of the Center was
lack of hard currency to purchase dyes and material. The
visit revealed that production units were still using the same
screens and blocks that had been in use since 1984 (when the
expatriate technical assistance person left). Only 15 of the
30 sewing machines were usable, and three broken-down vehicles
were parked in the courtyard. The building was in disrepair
and the last class had 68 students, but training was stopped
because of drought and lack of materials, according to a
member of the production section. A visit to the retail
outlet and an examination of the inventory showed that many of
the dresses and cloth were poorly executed. Some were printed
upside-down, irregularly printed, or printed off-center.
Garments were often stained or spotted with dye. The tailor-
ing was poor in that items were cut and sewn irregularly,
seams were unmatched or unfinished, and stitching was often in
the wrong places. No new designs or patterns had been created
since 1984.

Other Units for Women

Women's Education
Department (WED)

The Women' s Education Department (WED) in the Ministry of
Education was organized in 1974 with a mandate to design and
plan an overall strategy for women's education on a long-term
basis. The broad objectives of WED are to:

1. Improve the capacity of women so as to partici-
pate more fully in national and community

2. Provide opportunities for women to develop
their skills and knowledge so that they are
better placed to care for themselves and their

3. Raise the level of the literacy of women, and
widen the scope of understanding and intellec-
tual thinking about their life and environment
(SWDO 1985: 39)

More specifically, according to the 1980 prospectus, WED
was set up to provide non-formal education opportunities to
rural and urban women to enable them to contribute more fully
in the national development programs. WED recognized that
women to a large extent are responsible not only for the
physical and social well-being of the family, but also for
contribution to the economic resources of the household
through agriculture and management of all other resources. To
accomplish non-formal education, Family Life Education Centers
were established in all 82 districts of Somalia, and in 20
additional refugee camps (approximately 66 centers were
actually in operation in 1985) (Masood 1983: 42; National
Planning Seminar 1984).


The curriculum of the Family Life Education Centers
covers three areas: basic literacy, development of skills,
and family life education. It includes courses in food and
nutrition, child care and development, health and hygiene,
clothing and tailoring, handicraft making, community develop-
ment, and literacy training. These subjects are taught over a
period of four years, on a half-day basis, after which a
certificate is earned. An entire year is spent on the family
life component.

In 1979-80, 3,714 students were enrolled in classes.
During the 1981-82 school year, 5,933 women were trained in
literacy and home economics skills. However, because of
recently falling enrollment, WED made an internal evaluation
in 1983. It found that eight of the 42 FLECs were closed, due
to lack of attendance, lack of qualified lecturers, lack of
funds, and lack of facilities. The women found that after
investing four years of their time in the centers they earned
a certificate that did not provide access to further education
or employment. However, while attendance lagged for the
curriculum set by WED, new FLECs in the same region were
self-initiated by groups of women who borrowed a meeting
place, brought their own material, and divided themselves into
"action groups" according to their learning needs. The WED
course was too long and too rigid for most women. Thus, the
evaluation led to some restructuring of WED, and teachers are
now being reoriented towards a greater outreach style of
operation (Somalia MONP and UNICEF 1984: 40-41).

In order to operate the FLECs, WED also has one-year
training courses in training centers established by the
Ministry of Education with the assistance of UNICEF. These
are for teachers and headmistresses of the FLECs. Since 1974,

almost 600 teachers and headmistresses have been trained
(National Planning Seminar 1984).

During the last year, the WED received a gift of sewing
machines and a grant to set up a revolving loan fund for the
purchase of cloth and sewing supplies to establish a small-
scale enterprise in dressmaking. The women purchase the cloth
that is handwoven in Jilib-Merka, and other traditional
cloth-weaving communities along the coast, and create fashion-
able attire for women and girls. Although an evaluation is
not available because it is just a new endeavor of the WED,
the designs of the clothing are attractive, and the clothing
is well-made and can be seen worn in Mogadishu by Somali women
and expatriate women alike.

Women's Unit for Research and
Documentation, SOMAC

In May 1983, a Women's Unit for Research and Documenta-
tion was established within the Somali Academy of Sciences and
Arts (SOMAC) because of the lack of written materials and the
absence of an archival center related to women's studies. The
Women' s Unit was the product of efforts exerted by SWDO and
female intellectuals, with the collaboration of the Ministry
of Higher Education and Culture, the SOMAC, and other
concerned agencies (Women's Research Unit 1984: 19).

The objectives of the Unit are to:

1. Establish a base for documentation and archival
materials concerning women

2. Increase the knowledge and understanding among
women in Somalia by systematic collection and
analysis of existing data


3. Initiate studies, data collection, and action-
oriented research on women's condition in order
to feed back to the SWDO and help national
institutions and others to identify the factors
facilitating or limiting their advancement
(Women's Research Unit 1984: 19)

The first project carried out by the Women's Unit was
research on women's movements, based upon collection of ar-
chival and existing sources, as well as on collection of oral
history. The second project was an in-depth study of female
circumcision and infibulation for use as a basis for attempts
to change the practice. A study of marriage and divorce in
Somalia is now in progress.

Somali Family Health
Care Association

The Somali Family Health Care Association is a new,
non-governmental organization with two main objectives:

1. To acquaint Somali families with the benefits
of child spacing to assure adequate health of
the mothers and children

2. To acquaint Somali parents with the short- and
long-term medical dangers of circumcision and
infibulation to their daughters (Somalia MONP
and UNICEF 1984: 64)

Other objectives are:

1. To protect mothers' health and improve their

2. To disseminate nutrition education to the
people by using various techniques

3. To create centers for social and health ser-
vices whereby diffusion of family guidance
shall be carried out

4. To organize seminars about family health
conditions resulting from lack of family
planning knowledge

5. To prepare research studies on the health and
socioeconomic conditions of the family

6. To provide family planning methods by giving
necessary health and social care

7. To communicate with similar organizations in
the Arab World and at the international level
to exchange knowledge and expertise according
to international and Somali rules and usage
("Establishment of the Somali Family Health
Care Association" 1984: 14).

Action is taken by the Association upon the advice of an
Executive Committee consisting of representatives from the
Ministries of Health and Education and SWDO, among others.
The Association is partially funded by USAID.


Several other institutions are involved in women's
development programs as follows (SWDO 1985: 38):

The Ministries of the Interior and Justice, the
Somali Youth Union, and the Custodial Corps are
engaged in the development and training of
Somali Young Pioneers who are orphans. More
than 1,600 young women have been trained in
different skills since its establishment.

The Ministry of Education and the Somali
National Commission for Refugees organized
training programs for refugee women in Somalia.

The Ministry of Fishery, Settlement Development
Institutions, and related projects have at-
tempted to work specifically with women to
develop their skills in agriculture and fishing


Donor Programs in Brief


USAID currently implements some national projects that
affect the Lower Shabelle Region. The Family Health Services
Project (649-0131) provides training to women in child spacing
and health, using SWDO as an assisting agency. The Somali
Management Training and Development Project (SOMTAD, 649-0119)
has had a training component in Lower Shabelle but no women
have as yet been included.

The Policy Initiatives and Privatization Project (PIPS,
649-0132) has not worked directly in Lower Shabelle, but has
had one woman entrepreneur as a client. An upcoming $50
million project, the Shabelle Water Management Project (SWMP)
will focus exclusively on the area but presently has no
women's component. (SWMP is discussed in greater detail in
Chapter 5.)

The portfolio of active USAID projects will drop from 18
in 1986 to eight in 1988. The largest single project will be
the SWMP.

USAID implements its refugee programs with extensive
assistance from PVOs. Of particular interest are the programs
to assist refugee women in farming, forestry, and income
generating projects. Among the PVOs are Overseas Education
Fund (OEF) with projects in forestry, farming, and small
enterprise development, and Save the Children with projects in
farming, community outreach, and skills training for women
(see below for a fuller description). The PVO efforts are
interesting because they explore innovative areas, including
involving women in agro-forestry, promotion of animal
traction, and enterprise development.


The United Nations Development Programme is most active
in the Seasonal Credit to Small Farmers, in conjunction with
the FAO (UNCDF $640,156, FAO $1,020,000). In addition,
UNSO/Denmark has funded sand dune fixation in Merka. Women
have been mobilized to work on this labor-intensive self-help

In non-formal education, UNICEF has been providing
assistance for materials and technical support to the Women's
Education Department (WED). Most recently, substantial
assistance was provided to train refugee women in family life
education. This effort enhances the growing awareness that
women's contributions are essential to alleviate poverty, meet
basic family needs, improve food production, and distribute
resources more equitably. Since its establishment, approxi-
mately 600 teachers have graduated from the WED Family Life
Teacher Training Centre in Mogadishu. In addition, UNICEF has
been involved in forestry projects (that could be duplicated
in the Lower Shabelle and designed to include women).


The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA)
is in the midst of a three-phase census, coupled with a human
resources development component and a population education
project. UNFPA is particularly interested in increasing the
women's component of this five-year effort (1987-91), but
lacks ideas. It has funds to allocate to a research and data
collection effort, including training for researchers, but it
has not identified an appropriate vehicle for implementing the

The ILO, UNFPA, and Habitat, using UNDP funding, are
erecting 200 demonstration low-cost houses in Dar-es-Salaam, a
model village, in Lower Shabelle. ILO and UNDP are jointly
supporting a Somali PVO (Haqbitar) in the Qorioley refugee
camp. A soap making project, employing both men and women,
was set up, and is reportedly self-sustaining, although
another report said they had not yet started. Unfortunately,
the team was unable to visit the project firsthand.

An eight-member ILO/JASPA team has just finished a
mission and their report on the role of women in the informal
sector is expected by June 1987.

In Lower Shabelle, the European Economic Community (EEC),
the Italians, and the World Bank have all been involved in
agriculture and irrigation rehabilitation. Almost $90 million
will be invested in irrigation and area development from 1982
to 1990. It is uncertain how much of the benefit will reach
women as collectors of household water and female farmers, who
tend to work on smaller plots, farther from the main canals.


Projects Specifically for Women


The Qorioley refugee camps are the locus of a major
effort to assist women and children. UNICEF, UNHCR, and Save
the Children all have projects at the camps. The UNICEF
Family Life Training School teaches traditional home manage-
ment, childcare, cooking, and sewing. Recognizing that most
women need to earn a living from the skills they are taught,
UNICEF has recently added a business component to the four-
year program, though as with all the Family Life programs, the
drop-out rate is high since mainstream agriculture provides
far greater income earning potential.

The best graduates either get a sewing machine (82 so
far) or are employed in the tailoring workshop. This workshop
is attached to other income generating efforts, a shop and a
restaurant. These enterprises were started with credit from
UNHCR but they have long since paid back the loans. The
restaurant repaid So.Sh. 100,000 in nine months. Finally, it
was remarked that although the restaurant is very profitable,
it is unlikely that the shop and tailoring units could survive
if they had to pay regular expenses such as rent and salaries.

A small garden and a poultry project, both run by indi-
vidual women and selling only to the shop and restaurant are
also attached to these enterprises. Other training is assist-
ing women to set up as hairdressers, shopkeepers, and cooks.
These examples show what can be done in areas where there are
enough people with enough money to provide a market for the
goods or services.

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