RoL: Model Police Station and Community Policing Centre opens in Gardo

Gardo Police Commissioner, police staff and UNDP attending the opening. Credit: UN Photo.

Gardo Police Commissioner, police staff and UNDP attending the opening. Credit: UN Photo.

Yesterday marked the official opening of the model police station and community policing center in Gardo. Supported by UNDP’s Rule of Law project, the model police station was a reconstruction and add on from the previous station that was built in 1932. Both centers are running completely on solar energy.

In attendance were Vice President of Puntland Abdihakim Haji Abdullahi, UNDP Country Director George Conway, UNDP Head of Office Sayed Sahibzada, Police Commissioner Abdirizak, Mayor of Gardo Abdi Said, and Karkar Governor Abdi Quran. The opening of the ceremony included many community members, including Gardo’s community of Elders who appreciated the efforts made by UNDP.

Vice President Abdullahi thanked UNDP and recognized the collaborative efforts. “I am very happy and pleased with this new police station. UNDP has always been a partner with us and we hope this will continue over the years to come. A country cannot run without a proper functioning government and this is just another step for the Puntland State of Somalia to succeed,” he added.

Country Director George Conway was excited for his first trip to Gardo, and the progress being made with UNDP projects across Puntland. “I appreciate all the positive feedback of engagement and support in the community. I want to assure you we are committed to strengthen Gardo, as well as all across Puntland. We will continue to support the Government to ensure broader livelihoods support and environmental sustainability,” he said.

Fartun Ismail Mohamed is one of the two female legal aids in the center. “I am happy that I was trained and am able to do a job that will help my city. It is an exciting one and I hope more women will be open to this opportunity. We work well with the community members here, and I am excited about the work we will be doing to better the city of Gardo,” she said.

The Model Police Station in Gardo will be used to introduce key roles, functions, and procedures needed to create an accountable and transparent rights-oriented community based police service. The stations are designed to be easy to access for the community, and foster community engagement and specialist support for women, youth and vulnerable groups. In addition to the traditional police functions, the Model Police Stations are designed and adequately equipped to prioritise special attention to critical issues including Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

UNDP recognises the importance of the establishment of a well trained and equipped police force fully engaged with local communities in the protection of civilians and promotion of local peace. Concurrent to the police initiatives, UNDP also supports initiatives aimed at empowerment of local communities to facilitate their effective engagement and support for local security enhancement and democratic policing.

For more photos of the event: Yesterday marked the official opening of the model police station and community policing center in Gardo. Supported by UNDP’s Rule of Law project, the model police station was a reconstruction and add on from the previous station that was built in 1932. Both centers are running completely on solar energy.

In attendance were Vice President of Puntland Abdihakim Haji Abdullahi, UNDP Country Director George Conway, UNDP Head of Office Sayed Sahibzada, Police Commissioner Abdirizak, Mayor of Gardo Abdi Said, and Karkar Governor Abdi Quran. The opening of the ceremony included many community members, including Gardo’s community of Elders who appreciated the efforts made by UNDP.

Vice President Abdullahi thanked UNDP and recognized the collaborative efforts. “I am very happy and pleased with this new police station. UNDP has always been a partner with us and we hope this will continue over the years to come. A country cannot run without a proper functioning government and this is just another step for the Puntland State of Somalia to succeed,” he added.

Country Director George Conway was excited for his first trip to Gardo, and the progress being made with UNDP projects across Puntland. “I appreciate all the positive feedback of engagement and support in the community. I want to assure you we are committed to strengthen Gardo, as well as all across Puntland. We will continue to support the Government to ensure broader livelihoods support and environmental sustainability,” he said.

Fartun Ismail Mohamed is one of the two female legal aids in the center. “I am happy that I was trained and am able to do a job that will help my city. It is an exciting one and I hope more women will be open to this opportunity. We work well with the community members here, and I am excited about the work we will be doing to better the city of Gardo,” she said.

The Model Police Station in Gardo will be used to introduce key roles, functions, and procedures needed to create an accountable and transparent rights-oriented community based police service. The stations are designed to be easy to access for the community, and foster community engagement and specialist support for women, youth and vulnerable groups. In addition to the traditional police functions, the Model Police Stations are designed and adequately equipped to prioritise special attention to critical issues including Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

UNDP recognises the importance of the establishment of a well trained and equipped police force fully engaged with local communities in the protection of civilians and promotion of local peace. Concurrent to the police initiatives, UNDP also supports initiatives aimed at empowerment of local communities to facilitate their effective engagement and support for local security enhancement and democratic policing.


With support from the EU, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands, UNDP's, UNSOM's, UNICEF's, UNOD's and UNOPS' integrated Rule of Law Project (RoL) provides support to the justice and police in South Central: Mogadishu; Galmudug administration, Jubaland and South West Administration; In Puntland: Garowe, Bossaso and Gardo; and in Somaliland: All six regions (Hargeisa, Burao and Borama, Sanaag, Saahil Sool).

JPLG: Young Graduates support Capacity Development of Local Government

Abdirahman Dahir Abdi, Young Graduate, Garowe, Puntland. Credit: UN Photo.

Abdirahman Dahir Abdi, Young Graduate, Garowe, Puntland. Credit: UN Photo.

Over 70% of Somalia’s population is under the age of thirty, however, the unemployment rate for youth in Somalia is 67% — one of the highest in the world*. In Puntland, university graduates face limited job opportunities – and despite seeking practical work experience related to their field of study, are often overlooked for positions, in favour of older and more experienced candidates. The 2012 UNDP Human Development Report noted that over 60% of Somali youth have the intention to leave the country in search of better prospects.

To address this critical problem, a Young Graduate Program was developed in 2014, supported by JPLG/UNDP with the Ministries’ of Interior and Local Government Associations in Puntland. The Young Graduate Program aligns the institutional resources and capacity needs of the Ministries’ of Interior and Local Governments with the skills of new Young Graduates. The recruitment of these Graduates is done through a transparent and merit-based recruitment process, with all Young Graduate applicants subject to the same procedures.

In Puntland, there are 25 Young Graduates (including 7 women) placed in the 7 target districts.

Each Young Graduate has a workplan, in line with the Local Government priorities, the JPLG annual work plan and the capacity needs assessment of the institution they are attached to. The first year is focused on training where they are mentored and supervised, nurturing their growth and giving them a chance to acquire valuable work experience.

Young Graduates receive a monthly stipend through JPLG/UNDP. After a year, Young Graduates who receive a successful performance review are given the opportunity to apply for a “permanent staff” position in line with a transparent merit based recruitment process and as long as the district budget is sufficient.

In Puntland (August 2015), the Ministry of Interior, supported by JPLG/UNDP convened an induction training for the first Young Graduates. The purpose was to improve basic understanding on the roles and responsibilities of local government and increase understanding on how the Program links to the Puntland Government’s decentralization vision and decentralized service delivery. The training ensures efficient integration of Young Graduates into local government departments so they are able to contribute to improved service delivery from the early stages of their employment.

Shukri, a young woman in the programme, is 25 years old from Eyl district. She has a degree in Public Administration/Management. She saw the advert for the Young Graduates Program posted on the internet and advertised in public places. She has always been interested in government and politics from her school days and is keen to learn more. She also wants to work for the people of Puntland – and use her degree to develop her leadership skills and gain more management experience. Her friends are impressed that she has a good career ahead of her. She is excited about working on local service delivery as she feels that people living in rural towns deserve services - and it will be good for them to be a part of a participatory process that delivers more effective transparent and accountable governance. She also hopes the government understand that the youth want to participate in and contribute to their society, but they need the experience and the jobs –and more opportunities like the Young Graduate Program.

Faduma, is 29 years old and from Bosasso. She attended university in Garowe and obtained a degree in Information Technology.  She saw the Young Graduates Program advertised in a newspaper. She decided to apply as she was keen to learn more about local government – and pass on her knowledge acquired during her studies - to her contemporaries. She is looking forward to working for local government which has objectives and goals. From what she has learned, she believes that decentralized service delivery to districts is a good idea and will benefit all citizens of Puntland. She is happy to get this very valuable work experience. Faduma’s friends are immensely proud of her achievement.

Abdirahman is 21 years old and from Gardo. He went to university in Garowe and has a degree in Computer Science. A friend told him about the Young Graduate Program and he decided to apply. He wants to use what he has learned through his studies, to contribute to his community – and make use of his communication and team building skills. He also hopes to learn more about local government. He hopes that in the future the government will come up with projects for young people so donors are not left to implement them. He hopes that the government will take matters into their own hands and work to provide services and work to improve the lives of people in Puntland.

Abdirahman Mohamoud is 26 year s old and from Galkayo. He has a Masters in Administration and Finance. He saw an advert for the Young Graduate Program in the Puntland Post. He wants to use his skills, especially in financial reporting and proposal writing, to contribute to the development of the people, especially in his district.  He wants to acquire more knowledge – not just in his field but related to governance and hopes to build relationships with stakeholders in his district and learn about their functions and how he can work with them to improve lives.

In 2014, the State Government of Puntland approved legislation passed by both the Parliaments’ and Presidents’ endorsing a Decentralization Policy . This provides the political, administrative and financial scope to decentralize service delivery, to districts with sufficient capacity, in prioritized sectors which are health, education, water and sanitation and roads.

Support to the evolving process of decentralization in Puntland has been provided through the UN Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralized Services (JPLG). Through a Local Government Young Graduate Program in selected districts the Ministries of Interior and Local Governments, supported by JPLG/UNDP, is working to develop and safeguard human resources capacity, strengthen institutional capacity and further promote gender equity at the local level.


With the generous support of the EU, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the UK, JPLG works closely with local counterparts in promoting improvements in the ability of local governments to provide equitable services to communities. In 2016, JPLG continues to strengthen district capacity in support of improved public service delivery to citizens. JPLG/UNDP support to the State Government of Puntland helps create policies, regulations, manuals and guidelines which contribute to strengthening capacity and which are relevant to all districts. The momentum towards improved systems and processes is encouraging the rehabilitation of vital community infrastructure, creating economic opportunity and strengthening livelihoods.

 

* According to the 2012 UNDP Somalia Human Development Report

RoL: Access to Justice for vulnerable Women

A photo of Fatuma (name changed) from the meeting. Credit: UN Photo.

A photo of Fatuma (name changed) from the meeting. Credit: UN Photo.

In 2010, when she was just 21, Fatuma (name changed) was raped by seven men from her neighborhood in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. When her family found her, she was rushed to the Hargeisa Group Hospital “Bahikoob Centre” which specializes in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases.

The Bahikoob Centre helped Fatuma access support networks and legal aid to ensure that her attackers were prosecuted. “I didn’t want my case negotiated. Even my family wanted me to take a settlement and drop the case.  I didn’t want money. I wanted justice,” said Fatuma.

Established in 2008 with support from UNDP, the Bahikoob Centre helps survivors of sexual violence like Fatuma access medical, psychosocial and legal services. In Hargeisa alone, the Bahikoob Centre deals with about 25 cases per month.

Asha Roobleh, a social worker at the Bahikoob Centre, worked closely with Fatuma to get her case to court. “We’ve seen a huge increase in these kinds of cases over the last few years,” says Asha. “The officials didn’t know how to handle these kinds of cases. That’s when we stepped in to help.”

In addition to their work with victims and raising awareness in the community, they also train police to better protect victims of SGBV. Now there are Bahikoob facilities in Boroma and Burao Hospitals as well.

The Bahikoob Centre has seen a significant increase in the number of cases going to court in Somaliland, as well as survivors coming forward for treatment at the Hargeisa Group Hospital. From 2012 to 2014, the caseload nearly doubled – and in 2014 399 SGBV cases were reported. Out of these, 191 were prosecuted with 47 convictions.  

Fatuma’s case was transferred to the prosecutors and a judge assigned to the case. Her rapists were convicted and sentenced to jail terms. Despite her own personal trauma, Fatuma remains resilient. “What happened to me was so bad, and I want to make sure that other victims can access justice,” she said. Her story has gained publicity in the Somaliland media and helped raise awareness for gender-based and sexual violence. Fatuma has met other victims of SGBV and helps them gain the confidence to seek justice.


With funding from the EU, the UK and Norway, the Bahikoob Centres are part of an overall package of the UNDP’s Access to Justice Project, which is itself part of the joint UNDP/UNSOM/UNICEF/UNODC/UNOPS programme on Rule of Law, to ensure more Somalis have access to fair and affordable justice (with a focus on vulnerable groups such as women and internally displaced people). This includes long-term education and training for lawyers, judges and paralegals as well as support to civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and service providers to effectively respond to and report crimes. By the end of 2014, 14,950 people (including 6,529 women) accessed UNDP-supported legal aid services to resolve disputes across Somalia.

JPLG: Creating Real Solutions for Communities through District Planning and Improved Basic Services

Gacanlibax Cloth Market, Gardo. Credit: UN Photo.

Gacanlibax Cloth Market, Gardo. Credit: UN Photo.

Gardo district’s economy is largely based on pastoralism and small business, similar to many districts throughout Puntland – and an estimated 80 per cent of Gardo district’s 85,000 people lives below the poverty line. In 2010, the Gardo District Council and Administration were looking for ways to boost the economy and improve the lives of their residents. With the support of the UN Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery (JPLG), UNDP worked with the District Council and Administration to develop a District Development Framework. This District Development Framework defines investments and projects necessary to move the district towards its development vision.

As part of JPLG with UN-Habitat, UNICEF, UNCDF and ILO, UNDP helps address fundamental challenges faced by local governments and builds their capacity to deliver public services effectively. By strengthening the local government to provide basic services, JPLG/UNDP supports sustainable and effective development. The key initiatives identified by the District Council and Administration included improving the local market, building new roads to boost business, and bringing safe healthcare to the area.

The District Development Framework identified that the Gardo population wanted modern and clean markets, to boost business and the local economy.  Markets also stimulate social interaction and facilitate connections between people helping to create cohesion, unity and stability.

“In the past, there were many times when we had to evacuate our market due to flooding, even when there was just a small amount of rain,” said one woman with a stall in the local market. “We use to lose two thousand dollars a year in business because the market was flooded. After the rehabilitation of the market, we do our business in a convenient, clean and dry environment.”

Improved road networks and transport links encourage business growth – by increasing access for buyers as well as allowing more and better products into local markets. The Gardo road network was extremely poor and consultations with communities to produce the District Development Framework identified an urgent need to improve roads within the district.To address this issue, UNDP/JPLG supported the construction of Shimbirale concrete road and Gacan Libaax tarmac road in Gardo.  Further, the Puntland Highway Authority, implemented a major upgrade and repair project on the main road linking Gardo with Bosasso. The construction and rehabilitation of this road is improving human safety and security and improving transport routes and trade.

One local shop owner, Halim Ali, saw improvements in his business. “Since the construction of the Gacan Libaax tarmac road, business in the area has improved – and transport,” he said. “Previously my little shop was small but as you see today it has grown.”

“This newly constructed road has improved the movement of people in Gardo,” said a local taxi driver. “We no longer get stuck in the mud on the Shimbirale road. We extend our gratitude and appreciation to Gardo local government and the Puntland Government.”

In 2013, JPLG provided support to the District Council and Administration on effective resource forecasting and budgeting through training on Public Expenditure Management which is designed to standardize training in the functions of (i) planning(ii) budgeting (iii) financial management (iv) implementation, and (v) monitoring and evaluation.  This facilitates the District Council and Administration to draw up an annual WorkPlan and Budget and lays the groundwork for the effective implementation of projects.

This systemized planning has contributed to streamlined investment into the area, from the Puntland Government, District Government, Diaspora, NGOs, United Nations and other organizations and promotes the delivery of basic services in a transparent and accountable manner.

JPLG has also supported the sensitization of Gardo local government officers on gender, including a participatory Integrated Community Development training. Over time, this has led to a subsequent change in attitude towards women’s participation in Gardo district affairs, with four women District Councilors’ out of twenty seven members.  Within the District Administration, three women head up a Departmental Unit. There has also been a significant increase in the selection of women as Village Leaders, seven of eight of Gardo’s villages are now headed by women.

Improved planning systems and processes strengthen the local government and their ability to deliver services while simultaneously increasing the participation of community leaders, village leaders, marginal groups, business people and civil society organizations leading to increased accountability and the building of incremental trust between citizens and local government.


With the generous support of the European Commission, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and UK, JPLG works closely with local counterparts in promoting improvements in the ability of local governments to provide equitable services to communities. In 2016, JPLG continues to strengthen district capacity in support of improved public service delivery to citizens in seven districts in Puntland - Gardo, Bosaso, Eyl, Jariiban, Banderbeyla, Garowe, Galkayo. JPLG/UNDP support to the Puntland government helps them create policies, regulations, manuals and guidelines. The momentum towards improved systems and processes is encouraging the rehabilitation of vital community infrastructure, creating economic opportunity and employment for young people as skilled labourers.