Somalia has one of the highest rape and child marriage rates in the world, where violence against women and girls is common. The Gender Inequality Index for Somalia is 0.776 (a maximum of 1 denotes complete inequality). At CTG we believe that empowering women will help create stronger and more peaceful societies; so today on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we’d like to announce our support for the Elman Peace and Human Rights Foundation, a foundation that aligns strongly with CTG’s social good vision and the benefactor of our first CTG Giving donation. This donation came about thanks to a small team of CTG staff who raised $4 625 through initiatives, donations, auctions and events.
Alice Laugher hands over the CTG Giving donation to Ilwad Elman, Iman Elman and Fartuun Adan
In May of this year, our CEO Alice Laugher journeyed to Mogadishu, Somalia, to deliver the generous donation made by CTG Giving and meet the inspiring women behind Elman Peace. Elman Peace is a foundation committed to providing innovative, life-saving support to those in need, particularly victims of gender-based violence. The foundation established the first rape crisis centre in Somalia, called Sister Somalia, which provides psychosocial counselling, trauma healing and emergency medical care to survivors. The foundation also launched an initiative called Drop The Gun, Pick Up The Pen, which focusses on reinstating children and young adults from armed groups and militias back into their societies, as well as preventing the use and recruitment of children into armed forces.
Aged between 12 and 60 (and sometimes as young as infants), the survivors who attend the centre are all victims of gender-based violence. Elman Peace gives these women a place to stay during the day, decreasing the frequency and threat of violence, while providing them with group counselling and therapy sessions.
Ilwad Elman, Faartun Adan and Alice Laugher with Elman Peace and Human Rights Foundation students who are learning computer literacy at one of their victim support centres.
While a select few of these women are educated, many are illiterate; enrolled in the programme as students, the women journey to the centre every morning and are offered free skills training in marketable and profitable fields in Somalia, based on annual market and labour force studies. The women are taught how to sew, make bags, basic literacy, henna painting, office skills like answering the phone and how to present oneself, and even computer technology.
“We believe skills development to be a fundamental prerequisite for vulnerable community members to become economically empowered,” the Elman Peace and Human Rights Foundation.
Ilwad Elman, Alice Laugher and Fartuun Adan outside of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Foundation
Elman Peace will use CTG’s donation to setup a one-month entrepreneurship training programme at a victim support centre, ending in a business pitch and investment opportunity. In keeping with the organisation’s vision to cultivate leadership and empower the marginalised brackets of society, each of the women under the programme will have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas, with a winning idea receiving a $4000 investment to kickstart the business. The remaining donation will be given as a stipend for basic life support to the women running the business for the first month.
Alice Laugher, CEO, CTG
“Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman dedicate their lives to supporting women’s basic human rights in Somalia, and it was inspiring to see the incredible support they give to the extremely courageous and strong women who endure in the face of towering adversity. I look forward to seeing the entrepreneurship training programme unfold as well as the opportunity to work with the women selected. I am so proud to have been able to contribute CTG Giving’s grant to this foundation, one that aligns so strongly with CTG’s social good vision”.
The concept allows for a ripple effect for community, particularly female empowerment and upliftment – and complements our goals and objectives aligned with SDGs 5, 8 and 16. The women who become benefactors of the CTG Giving grant are not only able to give back to the community, but train other women in the centre.
At CTG, we believe that the communities that we work in will be profoundly improved by aligning our strategy with the Sustainable Development Goals. We’re extremely proud to be supporting Elman Peace.
Ilwad Elman, Director of Programmes and Development at the Elman Peace and Human Rights Foundation
Listen to this Guardian Podcast with Ilwad Elman, Director of Programmes and Development at Elman Peace, and find out how the organisation is contributing to the brighter future of Somalia.