Somalia/ Somaliland

Somaliland is a small autonomous region in northern Somalia, where the government’s decision to postpone the next election cycle has sparked political squabbling and created discontented opposition parties. IRI is working in Somaliland to support civil society organizations (CSOs) as they push for governance that is responsive to citizens’ priorities.

Women queue to vote for Somalilands elections

IRI is building nascent CSOs in Somaliland by investing in their capacity development, supporting their project implementation, and fostering links with parliament. As the backbone of a vibrant, representative democracy, civil society has the potential to be a transformative force in any society. By responding to the needs of some of Somaliland’s newest, most dynamic CSOs, IRI is reinforcing this pillar of democracy.

IRI is promoting citizen-centered governance in several ways. First, it is empowering CSOs to collect and present information on citizens’ priorities. Next, IRI is generating buy-in and building mutual trust between civil society and policymakers to allow the former to advocate successfully for the needs of citizens. Finally, IRI is working with parliamentarians to ensure that they have the knowledge, skills, and access to resources needed to best represent their constituents.

Political inclusion is a central theme of both the civil society and legislative strengthening components of IRI’s work in Somaliland. IRI is working specifically with CSOs that represent the needs of women, youth, and rural Somalilanders in order give these historically marginalized groups a more visible and influential presence in public life. In its work with parliament, IRI focuses on sensitizing lawmakers to the advantages of including diverse voices in policymaking. In combination, this work is designed to support a political and social environment in which all Somalilanders, regardless of background or identity, feel that they can make their voice heard.

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