This report seeks to emphasize the status of Somali women throughout the various transformations of Somali society and culture. Through examining those factors that affect Somali statehood and state building, such as culture and tradition, as well as the impact of historical events from colonial to military rule and ongoing civil war, it is evident that Somali women have not been passive observers to these processes but are, in many cases, active participants and pioneers of change and revolution.
Within this context, the report documents, through numerous interviews with Somali women, the ways in which the civil war and subsequent peace processes have created opportunities for increased participation of Somali women in public spaces. Crucially, the report also assesses the significant challenges that peace processes have posed, and continue to pose, for Somali women, including a lack of visibility in official peace and governance processes, the threat of sexual violence, and limited educational and economic opportunities.
The cultural context and experiences of women in Somali land provide insight into both specific and universal challenges to the fulfillment of the human rights of all Somali women. For instance, the collapse of the central government eliminated legal protection of the human rights of women. In the same way, the prolonged war adversely affected their socioeconomic situation. As part of their survival strategies, women assumed heavier economic responsibilities for themselves, their children, their parents and in many instances for their spouses. This enhanced the responsibilities of women within families but did not necessarily translate into overall improvement in the realization of their rights.
The role of education has progressively been recognized in the international development lexicon not only because of its pivotal role in improving the well-being of households and individuals but also the positive externalities that it generates for society as a whole. There is overwhelming and convincing empirical evidence that consistently indicates the positive impact of education on improving the well-being and reducing poverty and vulnerability of the poor households in the rural and urban settings. Interestingly, the role of education has also been recognised in the discourse on the causation of civil wars. Some empirical evidence shows that civil wars are concentrated in countries with little education and importantly a country with higher percentage of its youth in schools reduces considerably its risk of conflict (Collier, 2000). This finding has undoubtedly underpinned the important externalities generated by education and particularly in Africa where civil wars have become pronounced and endemic.
Research also suggests education can entrench intolerance, create or perpetuate inequality and intensify social tensions that can lead to civil a key determinant of income, influence and power. Inequalities in educational access can lead to other inequalities – in income, employment, nutrition and health as well as political position, which can be an important source of conflict.
The newly-independent country of South Sudan is anchored to the bottom of the world league table for education. More than half of its primary school age children – over 1 million in total – are out of school. Young girls are more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than to graduate from primary school. South Sudan’s young people face restricted opportunities for the education they need to build a better future for themselves and their country. It is time for the world to come together and change this picture.
The authors hypothesize a relationship between household assets inequality, conflict and poor health outcomes in Sudan. Sudan’s 31 million people represent diverse cultures, both Arabic and African.Sudan is a poor country, with a Human Development index of 0.41, ranking 171st of 187 countries. The country has suffered political instability since independence from Britain in 1956,with two revolutions and a 40-year civil war. Armed conflict in western Sudan and states bordering South Sudan is ongoing (Central Intelligence Agency 2013).
During the first decade of democracy in South Africa, the economy has recorded one of its longest periods of positive economic growth in the country’s history. One of the more vexing issues within the economic policy terrain in post-apartheid South Africa though, has been the impact of this consistently positive growth performance on social welfare, specifically income poverty and inequality. Many observers have highlighted the potential harmful consequences of persistently high levels of poverty and, particularly economic inequality, on the quality and sustainability of democracy (See for example Bermeo, 2009; Kapstein & Converse, 2008 and Wells & Krieckhaus, 2006). High levels of inequality have been linked to behaviours such as decreased voter turnout, depressed political engagement and high crime rates – all of which can have a negative impact on the quality of democracy. Increasing levels of income inequality also have the potential to divide citizens and contribute to social conflict. In such a situation, the diverse pressures on a government can lead to politicians resorting to surreptitious tactics such as “playing some voters off against each other” (Bermeo, 2009).
Household expenditure surveys, like the Income and Expenditure Survey (IES) and Living Conditions Survey (LCS), are fundamental components to a survey programme of any statistical agency. They are an essential building block for the consumer price index (CPI) to stay current with the changing spending and consumption patterns of the country and are the best sources of data for the measurement of money-metric poverty and inequality. The consistent approach to the collection of expenditure data through these tools since the IES 2005/2006 allows us to measure trends in the poverty situation of the country between 2006 and 2011.
In South Africa with its high levels of racial inequality, inequality in income distribution is especially large and persistent. For an upper-middle income country (in terms of GDP per capita and economic structure), South African social indicators (e.g. life expectancy, infant mortality or quality of education) are closer to those of lower-middle income or even low income countries. This reflects the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities. A small group of highincome earners sharply increases average incomes, but has little impact on average social indicators, which are low because of this very same inequality. Even in 1995, before the full advent of AIDS, South African life expectancy at birth was only 63 – ten years less than that of Panama, a country of comparable income, and four years less than that of the Philippines, a country with one-third of South Africa‟s per capita income (World Bank 1997).
South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world. It is often said to be the most unequal, but that is incorrect. A number of countries, for example Namibia and Seychelles, have higher gini coefficients (the measure most often used to measure income distribution) than does South Africa. There are a number of other countries that are clearly very unequal – some major oil producers for example – but, for obvious reasons, choose not to measure the extent of their inequality.