FCA supports fostering inclusive governance in Jowhar, Somalia

The Jowhar district in Somalia recently celebrated the launch of its district council formation process. It marked a significant step toward establishing inclusive local governance and advancing peace and development in the region.

REPRESENTATIVES FROM Jowhar district gathered to commemorate the initiation of the council. Community leaders and distinguished guests, including members of the State Parliament, local authorities, and international actors. Their presence at the event underscored the importance of the initiative in enhancing local governance.

Local governance is the most visible form of government to people. Establishing community-owned, functional local governments responsible for delivering services to their population supports the legitimacy of government. It also fosters trust and relations between government and local communities.

Elders play a crucial role

“The creation of the Jowhar district council formation process has been a significant achievement, considering the challenges we faced along the way,” said Mohamud Osman, a local leader. “The role we played as elders in the mediation and negotiation process cannot be overstated. We were instrumental in ensuring that the concerns and opinions of all stakeholders were considered. And that the process was fair and transparent.”

Another community leader, Ahmed Olow Beerrey, echoed the sentiment, emphasising the significance of fair representation and addressing community concerns.

“The elders are the custodians of tradition and culture in Somalia. We appreciate the support of international actors and Hirshabelle state leaders,” he said.

A man and a woman sit together in a room with IDs around their necks. Both wear serious expressions
Yasin Mohamed Ali (R) won the second seat in the Jowhar district council elections, defeating Duniyo Yusuf Ali (L).

Empowering women and youth in the political process

One of the newly elected women to the district council formation process, Faadumo Farah Jima’le, expressed her commitment to inclusive governance.

“Women’s participation in politics and district council formation is essential for building a more inclusive and democratic society. As one of the elected women on the new district council, I am confident that we will work hard to represent the interests of all women in Jowhar.”

A large number of men and women sit in a room. A table with water bottles is in the foreground
Community members met to learn about delegate training sessions and the overall election procedure.

Mohamed Ali Ahmed, 25, serving as the second Deputy Mayor, conveyed his vision for the youth’s role. “As the youngest council member of the Jowhar district, I will fully represent the district’s future and its youth. I am confident that the youth representatives on the new district council will work hard to have necessary public services and represent the interests of all youth in Jowhar. “

Economic growth

The formation of the council will also have a positive effect on economic growth and community development. Local businessman Haji Hunsheeye Ahmed Arraale recognised the impact of the Jowhar District Council.

“It is a positive step towards improving the business sector and the infrastructure of several markets in the district. I am excited to see how this new district council will work towards building a brighter future for the community and increasing the per capita income of those living in the district,” he said.

Between 24-27 October 2023, 26 district councilors were elected to their positions. Out of those, three are women were elected, most notably Madina Addow Ali, a renowned women’s rights activist. Moreover, ten candidates represent the youth of the district in the newly elected district council.

Two men shake hands standing in front of a banner bearing the logos of FCA, the Federal Republic of Somalia and the European Union. One of the men is holding a certificate
Isma’il Warsame Farah (L) was succeeded to the 25th seat of Jowhar district elections. The minister who is in the right side of the picture handed over the certificate of district council membership.

Strengthening local governance

The Jowhar District Council formation represents a milestone in enhancing local governance and addressing the pressing needs of the community. The elected council members, representing different community interests and wards, work diligently to improve the well-being of the residents.

The election process, which involves registered delegates selected by clan elders, is designed to ensure the council’s accountability to the people it serves. Council members are dedicated to their mission and are known for advocating for the community’s interests at higher levels of government.

Two men and a woman sit in a room with more men and women in the background
Seynab Siidow (R), Abdi Aadan (C), and Ibrahim Ali Muhumed (L) competed for the fifth seat in the Jowhar DC elections with Abdi Aadan winning the race.

EU Funding

This significant development is part of the EU funded local governance project that is aimed at strengthening governance structures and systems for more accountable and inclusive Federal Member States. The project promotes inclusive participation of all community groups, including women, youth, and minority groups, in the district council formation process.

The path to inclusive local governance, supported by the EU-funded project, fosters stability in Somalia and aligns with the broader objectives of building a more inclusive and democratic society.

Since 2016 FCA has been implementing various Right to Peace programmes, including promoting inclusive local governance through district council formation (DCF) following the Wadajir National Framework for Local Governance and increasing women’s political participation.

Text and photos: FCA Somalia