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Improve health services for IDP women in Somalia by turning women who perform FGM into agents of change

Improve access to medical and sanitation facilities and turn IDP women, especially those who previously performed FGM, into agents of change

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What specific problem(s) are you trying to address?

One out of every 12 women in Somalia die due to pregnancy related causes. Female Genital Mutilation is done on girls between the ages 4 to 11 and the practice can be linked to the high numbers of Mother and Child death as the fetus is exposed to a range of infectious diseases and faces the risk of having its head crushed in the damaged birth canal. FGM has no foundation in religion, but is widely believed to be a religious obligation. It is therefore important to work with the religious community when raising awareness on the dangers of FGM. Another element to combatting FGM is to target the women who perform the procedure and steer them away and incentivize them to another type of livelihood

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address?

1) How to best mobilize the community so that we will be able to communicate the positive impact of having a midwifery training center/ How to be able to have a clear and frank conversation on taboo subjects without causing resentment, 2) How to best target those who depend on conducting FGM as a livelihood and incentivize them to change livelihood.

Explain Your Idea

In order to decrease the high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity caused by complications during pregnancy/ delivery in IDP camps in Kismayo, the capacity of IDP women needs to be improved so that they can steer away from traditional harmful practices that only act to exacerbate the current maternal death and morbidity rates. Accordingly, increasing the capacity of local IDP women is done by targeting women who previously conducted FGM and provide them with midwifery training, information on the health implications of FGM as well as what Islam states about FGM. The target group does not only have to be those who have conducted FGM but also other young women who want to learn how to become midwives. These women will be provided with resources and linkages to health care clinics so that they can conduct midwifery services to IDP women in need. Women who previously conducted FGM can become agents of change and spokespersons to eradicate FGM as a practice. The community also receive access to health and sanitation facilities leveraged through our already existing activities. This can improve Health services resilience and preparedness.

Name the three most important ways that your idea will address your identified problem(s).

1. By increasing access too medical and sanitation facilities as well as skilled staff in IDP camps, more displaced mothers can receive medical attention during delivery. 2. By targeting women who perform FGM, and provide them with resources to conduct another livelihood as well as make them into spokespersons against FGM, we provide an incentive to steer away from conducting FGM as a livelihood. 3. By economically empower 40 women, they will be able to take charge of their own situation as well as act as role models in the community.

How is your idea unique?

Our idea is unique in that it takes a multidimensional approach to manage the current situation, focusing on IDPs, linking capacity building with livelihood creation, constructing medical and sanitation facilities, thus reduce vulnerability, and improve access to midwifery services and by especially targeting those who previously depended on FGM for a livelihood. ARC as an organization has extensive experience working with IDP’s, livelihood creation, skills development and Health. We can create synergies between already existing activities in the target area in order to accomplish maximum impact. As we have been operating in Somalia since 2011, providing essential humanitarian assistance in areas where other international organisations cannot access, we believe that we are the most suitable to conduct this type of intervention.

What are some outstanding concerns or questions that you have regarding your idea?

There is risk that trained women leave the camps in order to pursue better employment opportunities elsewhere either in urban areas or abroad.

Who are your end users?

The target beneficiaries are first and foremost all those who live in the targeted IDP camp, especially IDP girls 0-18 who are at risk of FGM and IDP girls/women 18-65 who are interested in becoming midwifes. 40 Midwives to be trained and provided livelihood opportunities. Furthermore, 480 women to be reached through monthly information sessions. The community will thus benefit as the practice of FGM decreases and access to midwifery services increases. They will also receive access to health and sanitation facilities leveraged through our already existing activities.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Somalia

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement
  • Extreme drought
  • Epidemic
  • Community at risk of disaster

Tell us more about the emergency setting that you intend to implement in

The community suffers from a protracted humanitarian situation caused by conflict, poverty, lack of access to basic services as well as morbidity. Main challenges that exists in IDP camps in Kismayo, includes overcrowding, land tenure conflicts and forced evictions as well as seasonal droughts and floodings. Somalia is a patriarchical society where women have limited judicial rights and ability to conduct their own livelihoods.

What is your organization's name?

American Refugee Committee (ARC)

Tell us more about you.

American Refugee Committee (ARC) is an international nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, USA and active in 29 countries. ARC Somalia provides life-saving and self-reliance assistance to refugees, displaced persons and communities affected by natural and man-made disasters, including primary and curative health care, water and sanitation, protection services, restoration of strategic health and water infrastructure, sustainable use of natural resources, shelter/housing for returning refugees as well as sustainable livelihood projects including, microcredit/income generation, Women Economic Empowerment, Technical Vocational Training and formal education.

Organizational Characteristics

  • International/global organization

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • Community - 1+ communities within 1 country

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • Yes, for more than a year.

Organization Location

ARC Somalia has a registered office in Nairobi Kenya, as well as registered field offices in Mogadishu, Kismayo, Hargeisa, Garowe, Laascaanood, Afmadow, Dhobley and Balcad.

What is your organizational status?

  • Registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Roll-out/Ready to Scale: Completed a pilot and am ready / in process of expanding.



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Hi @Anges and Team!

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