Project to increase citizen participation and trust in Somali elections and political processes


May 5, 2016


WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new project will provide critical assistance to help build electoral systems, strengthen civil society and encourage civic participation in Somalia, Creative Associates International announced.

Called “Bringing Unity, Integrity, and Legitimacy to Democracy,” the five-year project was launched in Mogadishu and Hargeisa in April 2016.

“When citizens are more aware of their civic rights and responsibilities, their involvement in political processes increases, which is a crucial step to improving accountability, trust in political systems and ultimately stability,” says Denise Dauphinais, Chief of Party for the project.

The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development and implemented by Creative Associates International with its partners the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, Forcier Consulting and the International Republican Institute.

The United States Agency for International Development administers U.S. foreign assistance programs providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Daunting challenges

“While Somalia is moving towards more inclusive institutions and systems, most citizens are unaware of their rights and responsibilities in these new institutions and systems,” says Dauphinais. Without a strong foundation, building a culture of inclusive participation in the country is a daunting challenge.

“The need for more inclusive, peaceful and credible electoral and political processes is great in Somalia and this new program should simultaneously build the essential electoral systems and convince the population to trust them,” says Tihana Bartulac Blanc, Project Director.

The project aims to incrementally change regulatory frameworks for political processes and shift incentives so that political parties increasingly seek to earn a broad-based popular mandate from voters, rather than rely on traditional political alliances that are often based on clan structures.

Elite- and clan-based governance systems and civil war have kept most Somalis out of the political process for decades. Additionally, the participation and role of women in politics is extremely limited, perpetuating gender inequalities across society.

Increasing women’s meaningful involvement in political processes and in leadership roles is particularly important to Creative and central to its mission as a minority owned company founded by four women.

“Women have been at the core of Creative’s own success, from our founding to day-to-day management and work. I am proud that this is also reflected in our project team composition and hope it will have a positive impact on our Somali counterparts and their activities which are taking shape with our support,” says Jeffrey Carlson, who leads Creative’s team of electoral experts with in-depth experience working in conflict and post-conflict settings.

About Creative Associates International

Creative Associates International works with underserved communities by sharing expertise and experience in elections, education, economic growth, governance and transitions from conflict to peace.

Based in Washington, D.C., Creative has active projects in more than 25 countries. Since 1977, it has worked in nearly 90 countries and on almost every continent. Recognized for its ability to work rapidly, flexibly and effectively in conflict-affected environments, Creative is committed to generating long-term sustainable solutions to complex development problems.

Started by four enterprising women with diverse backgrounds, Creative has grown to become one of the leaders among the U.S. private sector implementers of global development projects. Creative is minority owned and operated.

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