Why some Somali women support Al-Shabaab
Al-Shabaab’s policies lead some Somali women to support the organisation politically and in some cases to play key military roles, a new study indicates. The group’s “brutal insurgency” is generally oppressive to women but can also provide them with important benefits, particularly by punishing gender-based violence and by upholding women’s rights under Islamic family law, says the analysis by the International Crisis Group (ICG). Women in turn play key roles in Shabaab’s armed campaign, the Brussels-based NGO notes.“Their roles range from simply marrying into the group, to actively recruiting and proselytising, gathering intelligence, smuggling weapons and raising funds,” the briefing states.Somali officials do not perceive women as potential threats and consequently do little to prevent female members of Shabaab from transporting explosives through checkpoints, ICG adds.
But Shabaab does not take advantage of such security lapses by using women as suicide bombers, nor does it allow females to participate directly in combat. Al-Shabaab’s policies in these regards contrast sharply with those of Boko Haram. That Islamist force in northeastern Nigeria regularly assigns women and girls to carry out suicide attacks, but in Shabaab’s case, females have accounted for less than five percent of such operations since 2006, the study says. In parts of Somalia it controls, Shabaab offers women and girls a “hardly complete, but still appreciable” degree of physical safety, ICG observes.
Decades of lawlessness in Somalia have made women highly vulnerable to sexual violence. In parts of the country where it can enforce its version of justice, Shabaab punishes rapists and sometimes intervenes on behalf of women in cases of domestic violence, the briefing says.“Through its courts,” ICG adds, “Al-Shabaab upholds tenets of Islamic family law that, to some degree, protect women’s rights in matters such as divorce and inheritance in a manner the official justice system does not.”Shabaab’s enforcement of these tenets ensures that women can receive a refund of the dowry in cases of divorce or shares of an inheritance, the study points out.“The even-handedness of Al-Shabaab’s judicial mechanisms should not be overstated, with women sometimes suffering cruel punishments on charges that reflect the group’s patriarchal ethos,” ICG cautions.
It cites reports of Shabaab’s stoning to death of women accused of adultery.“But with no state institution in many areas, Al-Shabaab’s courts offer women the sole means of getting their just due from ex-husbands or male relatives.”And while women and girls may be forced into marrying militants, “for some families marrying daughters into Al-Shabaab may bring a degree of financial stability,” ICG notes.Some of the women involved in Al-Shabaab recruit other women. Wives of senior Shabaab members go door-to-door in south-central Somali villages to cultivate support for the group’s values and aims. These female proselytisers also encourage women who have married fighters to become active in Shabaab’s campaign, the briefing states.
Source : www.nation.co.ke
Frontier Council To Address Water Challenges In Northern Kenya
Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) CEO Simba Guleid has called for better ways in dealing with drought and water challenges in the Northern region.
Speaking today during the inspection of a water project at Iftin in Garissa Township, Guleid said that while there have been perennial water challenges in the region, a lot of water has been lost through flooding and the rest flowing out through River Tana.
The project, which is an underground water borehole of about 35 meters deep was allocated about 7.5 million dollars and is expected to serve over 30,000 households in Garissa Township.
“We are undertaking an assessment for establishment of regional water master-plan entailing how we can tailor-make the water solutions in each county,” Guleid said
“We can have ways of harvesting the runaway water from rains and the flood water into a water reservoirs and dams or search for underground water,” he added
FCDC serves as a catalyst in promoting, integrating, sustaining peace and socio-economic development of Northern Kenya. The counties under FCDC are Garissa, Isiolo, Wajir, Mandera, Tana River, Lamu, Marsabit, West Pokot, Turkana and Samburu.
The counties have received an cumulative amount of 35 million dollars for the last 5 years from the Swiss government and other development partners to mitigate water and drought challenges.
The Swiss Ambassador to Kenya Valentin Zellweger said that his government was committed to coming up with viable projects that would bring solutions for water, drought and flooding challenges that have faced the northern region people for the past years.
“We do not only work together with the local authorities and FCDC but also with the private sector. We have companies that are working on these projects with us and that ensures that the project will remain sustainable even if the Swiss government decides to withdraw,” Zellweger said.
The inspection team included Garissa County water CEC Abdi Omar, Garissa Deputy County Commissioner James Ole Kipury among others.
The Northern counties have continuously been hit by natural disasters among them drought and floods. There have also been other challenges including boundary conflicts over scarce pastures and water for livestock and Al-Shabaab invasions.
Government Awards Scholarships To The Second Group Of 9,000 Applicants
The Government has today awarded the second cohort of 9,000 Elimu Scholarship beneficiaries, under the Kenya Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project.
The successful applicants emerged from a thorough selection process involving 54,000 applicants who sat the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education Examination (KCPE).
Speaking today during the launch of the Elimu Scholarship Programme at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha pointed out that more than 40,000 applicants who were not selected for this scholarship are also needy and require some form of sponsorship to meet the secondary school expenses such as boarding fee and cost of uniforms.
“I am therefore urging other partners to step in and borrow a leaf from the Elimu Scholarship Programme and assist the many needy and vulnerable learners out there who need support,” said Magoha
The CS thanked the Equity Foundation for their Wings to Fly Programme, the KCB Foundation, Jomo Kenyatta Foundation and other organisations that support the learning costs for needy and vulnerable learners.
He appreciated the Equity Foundation for helping the Government to select the 9,000 Elimu Scholarship beneficiaries using their already tested and proven criteria of identifying needy and vulnerable children.
However, Prof. Magoha said there is a need for a robust coordinated and regulated environment for effective direction of philanthropic efforts.
This, he said, should be done with a view to eliminate duplication of efforts and manage any challenges that may be impeding effective administration of scholarships and other social support initiatives by partners.
The CS pointed out that the Elimu Scholarship Programme targeted 110 Sub-Counties and 15 urban centres with informal settlements.
“This year we affirmatively increased the allocation of learners from urban centres with informal settlements from 25% to 33.3 % of the 9,000 slots to cushion the very vulnerable households and give hope to the less fortunate,” he added.
He said the award of scholarships under the Elimu Scholarship Programme is testimony to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s motto of leaving no child behind in the provision of basic education to all, adding that he witnessed the selection process and it was fair and it will change lives and families.
Prof. Magoha said the Government is committed to fast tracking reforms in education, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all learners in line with our Constitution.
Responding to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Magoha said his ministry recently reviewed (downwards) the fees for secondary schools and called upon all stakeholders to ensure that the guidelines are adhered to.
“My Ministry has prioritised quality based educational reforms, which include implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) with a focus on nurturing every learner’s potential,” said Magoha
The CS congratulated the beneficiaries, and urged them to take this opportunity seriously and above all focus on their studies in the various schools where they have been admitted to.
Prof. Magoha said the cohorts shall be monitored to ensure they complete a whole cycle of secondary education.