Somalilandsun – A new study, Somaliland International Democratization Support Strategy, written by IRI, will help the international donor community to coordinate and plan future democracy-support programs to Somaliland.
The new strategy will be released at and event on Friday, February 28, 2014, featuring Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council and Ambassador Lange Schermerhorn, former U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti.
The strategy, commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), identifies opportunities for international support to Somaliland, and highlights areas where priorities of the international community and Somaliland stakeholders converge. Some opportunities from the strategy include:
• Somaliland needs more support to address structural issues, including voter registration and legal framework, related to the conduct of elections;
• There is a need for programs that provide technical assistance to political parties in creating clear and distinct national party identities and issue-based platforms;
• Support for programs that will increase the presence of political parties between elections, including promoting collaboration between political and development institutions;
• Support for local administrations in mobilizing resources, including opportunities to partner with the private sector, to finance government service delivery; and
• Programs that will strengthen the capacity of the Somaliland parliament to fulfill its oversight function.
IRI’s former Vice Chairman and former US Special Envoy to Sudan, the late Ambassador Rich Williamson said, “Somaliland is a shining light of the evolution of democracy in Eastern Africa, and something its neighbors can benefit from watching and learning from and…deserves international support.”
To develop the strategy, IRI employed a mixed-methods approach that included desk research, in-depth interviews and participatory workshops. Representatives of the international donor community, international implementers, subject matter experts and Somaliland stakeholders – including representatives of civil society, political parties, the media and elected officials – contributed to the development of the strategy.
The Somaliland International Democratization Support Strategy was a joint initiative of IRI’s Africa division and office of monitoring and evaluation. IRI has worked in Somaliland since 2002, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development, National Endowment for Democracy and DFID, to support the development of a robust civil society, well-organized and representative political parties and a modernized legislature that engages in issue-based policy making. In 2010, IRI fielded an international delegation to observe Somaliland’s presidential election.
New IRI Study will Help Coordinate Democracy-Support Programs in Somaliland