Child Protection

Child protection in Somalia

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Community discussions point the way forward on eradicating Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia
21 April 2018 - During the large meeting of community elders, medical experts, teachers and other community members to discuss female genital mutilation/cutting, nine year old Rahmo sits gravely at the back listening carefully.

Journey to the house of peace
15 March 2018 - When Amina* found out that she was pregnant, all she could feel was shame. She thought about finding a place to give birth, then abandoning the baby. “I was raped by two men back home,” says Amina.

With Japan’s support, UNICEF steps up response to gender-based violence for women and children in Somalia
21 February 2018 — Ayan, 6, grips her father’s hand tightly as they walk slowly down the corridor of Medina hospital, where she has been receiving treatment and psychosocial support after a horrifying ordeal.

The continuing ordeal of a group of former child combatants in Somalia
November 2017 - The number of children in Somalia recruited by armed groups reached over 1900 last year – double the number of 2015. The majority of them were recruited by the armed Al Shabaab group.

US$5 million funding from Japan helps UNICEF reach 5,000 women affected by GBV in 2016
30 May 2017 - Vocational training classes are in full swing at the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre in Mogadishu. Many of the participants are victims of violence – violence that inflicted on them simply because they are women.

A home away from home
12 May 2017 - The bright smiles that could light up a room and the color-coordinated purple head scarfs that they both happen to be wearing leave no doubt in my mind that Sahro and young Sabiriin are a mother and daughter duo.

Japan funds help UNICEF provide services to Somali women, children and youth
17 March 2017 - At 21, Sadia is learning how to read and write and use computers - all for the first time in her life. She is one of the 800 Somali youth, most of them from disadvantaged families, who benefited from the generous funds donated by Japan.

Japan donation to support UNICEF’s crucial protection work for vulnerable women and children
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 20 February 2017 - The Government of Japan has provided a new funding to support UNICEF’s protection work for vulnerable women and children in Somalia.

Never look back: former child soldiers crafting new lives
12 February 2017 - Seventeen-year-old Abdi, in the blue overalls of an electrician trainee, is fixing the red and blue electrical wires hooked onto a wooden board.

Women facing daily threat of violence in Somalia’s makeshift camps for the displaced
1 March 2017 - Twenty five year old Fatuma fled Mogadishu because of fighting and now lives in a single room made of corrugated iron sheets in northern Somalia with her five children ranging in age from four months to 7 years.

US$2 million EU humanitarian aid funds helped UNICEF reach hundreds of thousands of Somalis with nutrition, WASH and child protection services
23 December 2016 – In 2016, UNICEF, through its implementing partners, treated nearly 100,000 Somali children suffering from malnutrition, and provided their mother with critical nutrition and hygiene education.

Video: EC Humanitarian Aid funding helps UNICEF provide reintegration to 900 former child soldiers
21 December 2016 - In 2016, ECHO – the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department, contributed US$2 million towards UNICEF’s work in child protection, nutrition and WASH, enabling UNICEF to provide psychosocial and reintegration assistance...

Somali women in Mogadishu show colourful support for combating gender-based violence
December 2016 - The UNICEF supported 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign in Somalia was often a colourful affair with a serious message.

Saying “no” to violence against women and girls – one community at a time
25 November 2016 - In Somalia, UNICEF, supported by partners, has been working with communities to help them prevent gender-based violence and respond to victims’ needs. One such project was the Community Care Programme in Mogadishu.

Japan-funded care centre provides crucial support to devastated Somali mother
November 2016 - When Sahra took the momentous decision to leave Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and return home to Somalia with her children, she knew there would be challenges. But she had no idea of the tragedy she would face there.

Japan funding to support 100,000 vulnerable women, children and youth
13 April 2016 - As reports of rape and other forms of Gender-based Violence (GBV) continue to rise in Somalia, thousands of survivors are set to benefit from Japanese-funded services.

A teenager who suffered through FGM/C works with her community to end the practice
March 2016 - Istarlin Mohamed is only 17, but has already suffered more hardship than others would face in a lifetime. She lives in a small camp for the internally displaced, in Dollow District of Gedo Region.

Former circumciser leads the campaign against FGM/C
March 2016: Grandmother Ebado Mohamed Elmi used to make her living by circumcising young girls, but she is now one of the leading activists against Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting in her village in Somaliland.

Youth for Change initiative gives young Somalis a second chance
November 2015 - When Asma moved with her uncles from Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa nearly 200 kilometres east to Burao, she found herself stuck at home and stopped from going to school.

Somali survivors of rape given support by Japan-funded Centre
October 2015 - Sixteen-year -old Fatuma stands staring through a window at the office of an NGO deep in thought. She is possibly thinking again about the night she was raped two months ago returning from a friend’s wedding.

UNICEF and the EU work to end Somali child recruitment
17 September 2015 – UNICEF Somalia has made important progress in its work to protect children from being recruited into armed groups – and to help those already affected - thanks to funding of US$1 million from the European Union.

Young Somali activist takes over UNICEF’s main twitter account to mark the Day of the African Child
17 June 2015 - To mark the annual Day of the African Child UNICEF organized a twitter takeover of the main UNICEF Twitter account usually operated from headquarters in New York by 5 young female activists from Somalia, Uganda, Niger, Chad and Sierra Leone

Young people are important actors in ending child marriage in Africa, says UNICEF
16 June 2015 – Child marriage remains a brutal reality for millions of girls across Africa, denying them the right to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

Five female activists to take over UNICEF’s Twitter for Day of the African Child
16 June 2015 - Each year, June 16 is celebrated as the Day of the African Child. Since the first time it was observed in 1991, the day has been an opportunity to focus on the challenges facing the continent’s children and youth...

Birth Registration in Somaliland
21 May 2015 – In the dimly lit postnatal care room in Burao General Hospital baby Hasna Shafia Hassan is fast asleep. She is only a few hours old. Her mother, Asiya Mohamed lies in bed recovering.

More brutal and intense conflicts leave children increasingly at risk of recruitment
12 February 2015 – Children are increasingly vulnerable to recruitment and use by armed groups as conflicts around the world become more brutal, intense and widespread, UNICEF and the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict said today.

Video: Former circumcision practitioner, Asha, talks about how she was persuaded to give up her work
5 February 2015 - On February 6 each year the UN marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. This is an important day for Somalia which has one of the highest rates of female circumcision in the world.

UNICEF helps Somaliland street children reunite with their families
January 2015 - More than 30 children, who had been living on the streets, were reunited with their families at a ceremony held in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa with support from UNICEF.

Villagers in northern Somalia battle against female circumcision
2 December 2014: A small, well-kept village along the Garowe to Galkayo road in Puntland, north Somalia is undergoing a quiet revolution.

UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict visits Somalia
20 August 2014 - Concluding her four-day visit to Somalia, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, called for the full implementation of the Action Plan signed by Somali Government....

Testimonies on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting from Somalia
31 July 2014 - Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is the cutting, partial or total removal, of the external female genitalia. Somalia has one of the highest prevalence rates of female circumcision in the world.

Somalis to work together to end child marriage and female genital mutilation for girls and women
23 July 2014 – Government officials, private sector and civil society organizations from all three Somali regions are joining the global movement to end child, early and forced marriage and all forms of female genital mutilation/cutting for all girls.

A young fighter for Al Shabaab in Somalia turns his life around
2 April 2014 - When he was 15, Mohamed joined the Somali extremist group Al-Shabaab and was put in charge of a battalion of roughly 20 children, his age and younger.

Regional authority in Somalia introduces an official policy to end FGM/C
14 March 2014 - UNICEF has welcomed the decision by the President of Puntland in north east Somalia to approve an official Government policy to support the outlawing of all forms of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C).

Teenage girl held captive by Al Shabaab starts a new life
13 March 2014 -Bilan was kidnapped by Al-Shabaab in Elasha-Biyaha on the outskirts of Mogadishu when she was just 14 years old. When her father tried to plead for his daughter’s release he was told the entire family would be killed if they made more fuss.

After four years in the Somali army, a former child combatant starts a new life
7 March 2014 -When Hanad was just 11, his father, a former general in the Somali Army was abducted and killed by members of extremist Al-Shabaab group. Hanad was amongst the first to find his father’s body and severed head left close to their family home.

Recruitment and use of children in government forces in conflict must end
6 March 2014 – The UN Special Representative for Children and Armed conflict and UNICEF unveiled a new effort to end the recruitment and use of children in government forces in conflict by 2016.

Important Religious Ruling against all forms of female circumcision signed in Puntland, North Eastern Somalia
13 November 2013 - An important step forward towards eliminating all forms of female circumcision in Puntland, North East Somalia was taken when 18 prominent religious leaders officially signed a Fatwa or religious ruling against all forms of the practice

The United Nations working together with the African Union to protect children in armed conflict
19 September 2013 – In an effort to better protect African children affected by armed conflict, the Peace and Security Department of the AU Commission and the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict signed an agreement.

Religious leader’s battle to end female circumcision in Somalia
27 June 2013 – For the past ten years Sheikh Abdirizak Hussein Issa has been a key religious leaders in the campaign for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) abandonment in Somalia.

UNICEF support offers hope for children with disabilities in Somaliland
20 June 2013 - Children with disabilities in Somaliland often suffer discrimination and ill treatment mainly due to ignorance about their condition. One report suggested that nearly half of households surveyed had at least one member with a disability.

Towards abandoning female genital mutilation/ cutting in Somalia for once, and for all
27 February 2013 – Ten-year-old Kheiriya has a secret. The secret is that, unlike most girls her age in Boorama, she has not been circumcised. The soft-spoken girl is scared to let others know.

Somali teenager attends the Pan African Forum on Children to highlight the problems of children in her country
November 2012 - Thirteen year old Habibo Omar Jama, who lives in displaced person’s camp in Bossasso, North East Somalia, was one of 23 children representing African children at a high level Pan African Forum on Children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this week

Case stories: Youth for Change Programme
27 November 2012 - Hundreds of young Somalis, seen as being are at risk of becoming involved in violence, have learnt new skills and given renewed hope by a programme in Puntland and Somaliland.

In Somalia, UNICEF supports efforts to push back against a tide of violence against women and girls
20 November 2012 – Mayeda* was displaced in 1992 and again in 2011 because of famine in southern Somalia. She has lived in Tarabunka camp for a year.

Japan pledges renewed support to reintegrate criminal and at-risk Somali youth back into communities
30 August 2012 – Empowering Somali youth by providing opportunities for work and education was identified as a Government of Japan priority when it announced the renewal of its support to a UN-led programme steering “at-risk” youth away from violence.

“We’re starting from scratch”: Efforts to entrenching child protection in Somali communities
Conflict and a lack of strong central government means Somalia’s children are uniquely vulnerable to abuse and violence. But as parts of the country grow increasingly stable, there are calls for legislation to be enacted to protect children from harm.

Religious leaders join the fight to end female circumcision in Somalia
Religious leaders in Somaliland and Puntland declared that they are against FGM/C and call for its ban. Read more.

Grass-roots ‘social workers’ urge new attitudes to protecting Somali children
Read about UNICEF and partners' efforts on the ground to protect vulnerable Somali children from violence, exploitation and abuse.

Somali religious leaders and high-level officials join hands to put an end to all forms of FGM/C
Seventy religious leaders and some of Somaliland’s highest officials participated in a public gathering in Hargeisa to declare their support and commitment to the abandonment of all forms of the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).

Intensive efforts reap progress towards ending female genital mutilation in Somalia
Ubah Abdullahi is an advocate who speaks out in and outside of her village urging people not to subject their girls to FGM.

Child Protection Advocates provide safety nets for vulnerable Somali children
UNICEF's work with partners towards the creation of a protective environment for children, by increasing the community capacity to care for and protect their children.

Community, Puntland administration and UNICEF collaborate to provide health services
January 2011: Two health posts constructed in Girible ‘A’ and Yelho communities in Bossaso, Northeast Somalia (“Puntland”) are making a great difference in the lives of their communities. The health posts were constructed through community participation..

Despite challenges, UNICEF partners in Mogadishu strive to reach women and children
September 2010: It is hard to think of a place where children are more at risk than Somalia. As fighting continues in the capital, Mogadishu, and in other parts of the central southern regions of the country, violations of children’s rights go on...

Life skills-based education builds young Somalis' self-confidence
July 2010: To see and hear Muna Ali Hirsi, 24, a vibrant and motivated life-skills mentor lead a discussion with 20 youths on the challenges they face, it is hard to believe that Ms Hirsi used to be timid and retiring...

UNICEF Radio youth reporter interviews 16-year-old Hassan Abdi Elmi about life in a Somali refugee camp...
NEW YORK, USA, 18 December 2009: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In honour of the anniversary, UNICEF Radio youth reporter Mostafa Mohamed Abdurrahman spoke with Hassan Abdi Elmi, 16,...

Somali communities say ‘No’ to female genital cutting
NAIROBI, Kenya, 14 December 2009: Last month, hundreds of men, women and children gathered in a Somali stadium in the early morning heat to witness a historic declaration: the collective abandonment of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C)...

Somaliland launches new Juvenile law
October 2008: The administration of Somaliland (Northwest Somalia) officially launched the new Juvenile Justice Law at a national conference held from 28 to 31 August 2008. The primary aim of this Law is to provide fair justice to child offenders...

Training boosts girls' confidence
June 2008: 18-year-old Saida Noor Ahmed from Bossaso, Northeast Somalia (‘Puntland’) is a beneficiary of the girls’ leadership initiative (GLDI), a UNICEF-led process that has helped boost her confidence...

Community trainers to boost FGM/C fight
November 2006: Sacdiyo was one of 12 Somali Coordinators and Supervisors who traveled far across Africa to Senegal from three zones of Somalia: Northeast (Puntland), Northwest (Somaliland) and South Central, to take part in a one month seminar...

Swiss give support for FGM/C eradication
November 2006: UNICEF Somalia is working in partnership with the international NGO ‘Tostan’ to introduce an innovative approach to the abandonment of Female Genital Mutiliation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Somalia...

Youth review HIV/AIDS magazine
November 2005: Twenty-two young people from across Somalia recently met in Hargeisa, Northwest Somalia (‘Somaliland’) to discuss ways in which they could reach more Somali youth and educate them about HIV/AIDS prevention and control...

Youth - Girls' sports initiative picks up
August 2005: Girls in Hargeisa, capital of Northwest Somalia (‘Somaliland’), now have a rare chance to engage in sports activities courtesy of a unique partnership between UNICEF and the Somaliland Culture and Sports Association (SOCSA)...

Youth - Somali boys visit Spain
August 2004: Four Somali youth in mid-2004 participated in a summer football camp at Real Madrid FC, one of the world’s greatest football clubs...



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