December 2018: Employee Spotlight
Rukiya Abdulrahman is a Program Officer in the Conflict Dynamics International Somali program.
Growing up between Nairobi and Mombasa, Rukiya was exposed early on in life, to Kenya’s amazing multiculturalism, its different forms of dress, its wide range of culinary traditions and its different religious practices. She learnt to cherish diversity and to be sensitive to and tolerant of different ways of living. She came to see the world through the eyes of others, and in doing so gained a better understanding of herself and the world around her.
It was an experience that was reinforced by her parents, whose love, support and encouragement added ambition to her world view “My dad was such a force, so supportive, he taught me to be confident, a fighter, a go getter – he lived by this mantra…”anything boys can do, girls can do better.” My Mum empowered and educated, she was amongst the first women in her village to go to university and was passionate about girls education.” Together they instilled in her the values of the Muslim faith; “service to humankind, equality, justice, tolerance and forgiveness.”
Not everything that she saw growing was so hopeful. Rukiya was privileged to live in the city but many of the people she knew were pastoralists, living in rural areas. Their lands were arid, their lives difficult, full of struggle and conflict. She saw her family and community working hard to offer help, sending money, food and medical supplies and promised herself that when the time came she too would do something to ease their suffering.
Inspired by her parents, committed to serving her community and convinced that people could live peacefully together despite their differences, Rukiya decided that she wanted to work in the world of peacebuilding and development. With this idea clear in her mind she took a degree in Gender and Development and then went on to acquire a Masters in Peace and Conflict Management. Later she completed a graduate certificate in Peacebuilding Leadership in Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia.
Her first job out of University was as an assistant country coordinator at the CEWARN IGAD for the Somali cluster of Kenya (North Eastern Kenya, Upper Eastern Kenya and parts of the Coastal regions). It was whilst working for CEWARN that she heard of a job at Conflict Dynamics International. Excited by the promise of the organisations mission to resolve violent conflict and alleviate human suffering, she applied and to her great joy got the job of Program Officer, Somali Program.
At CDI Rukiya works closely with her team mates and partner organisations to design and implement program activities that support dialogue and build peace as well as writing reports and meeting with donors and supports.
What she loves most about her job is the opportunity to work with “amazing people who have contributed so much to society… who have gone through so much, but still stand tall and are ready to break down obstacles to pave the way for the next generation.”
Sometimes the work can be difficult. When there is a lack of political will to bring about change it can be hard to keep going and there are times when being a young women can be a disadvantage when working in the field “sometimes men do not acknowledge your presence, or make sexist remarks.” But Rukiya keeps going because as she explains she is passionate about what she does “and if you are passionate about something you give it your all.”
Today Rukiya remains as ambitious as ever, her goal is become better at what she does, to be a leader in the field of peacebuilding and one day she hopes to see a Somalia able to accommodate its different interests, a country that is stable, peaceful and prosperous. “Then I think that I will take a holiday, I will visit Somalia’s beautiful beaches, her towns, with so much history and culture and I will know that I am safe.”
September to October 2017: Establishment of District Peace Committees
In South West State, Berdale and ElBerde District Peace Committees (DPCs) were been established and trained on the use of Peace Diaries and DPC terms of reference, and on conflict prevention, management, and resolution. District Peace Committees serve as an important means of local conflict mediation. Conflict Dynamics and its partner organization SOYDEN support over 30 DPCs across Somalia.
May 2017: Workshop on Somalia’s Federal Structure
Conflict Dynamics International, the Forum of Federations, and Somali Youth Development Network (SOYDEN) convened a workshop with 31 Somali thought leaders and political influencers in Mogadishu, Somalia, under the title: “Envisioning Somalia’s Federal Structure.” Participants included former Prime Minister Gedi as well as several former ministers, senior civil servants, civil society leaders, leading journalists, academics, activists, and entrepreneurs.
The participants were taken through basic concepts of federalism (principles, practices and challenges of federalism), while also being given a platform to identify key issues and interests related to distribution of powers (DOP) and inter-governmental relations (IGR) relevant to Somalia.
May 2016: Research Sharing Events
Conflict Dynamics, SOYDEN and Interpeace with the Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs conducted a series of research sharing events in Mogadishu to share the findings of initial research on different configurations for capital cities in Federal States. The findings were presented to members of Parliament, traditional elders, civil society and opinion leaders, and senior government officials from the Federal Government and the Banadir Regional Administration. Following the presentation, participants engaged in a discussion. The research had previously been presented to representatives from Federal Member State governments. The findings from these events will be used to further tailor the research to ensure its relevance to Somalia.
April 2016: Ministers’ Consultation
Conflict Dynamics supported a consultative conference of Ministers of Interior from the Federal Government and all Federal Member States in Kismayo, the capital of Jubbaland State. The conference opened with a warm welcome to Jubbaland by HE Sheekh Axmed Maxamed Islaam Madobe, President of Jubbaland State. Over three days, the ministers and their colleagues explained the roles and responsibilities of each ministry and identified areas of overlap and opportunities for collaboration. They considered various international examples for the distribution of powers in federal countries and assessed the merits of different approaches to assigning roles and responsibilities to levels of government. At the closing of the meeting HE Abdirashid Mohamed Hiddig, Minister of State at the Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs, led colleagues in signing a communique and agreement to enhance their collaboration.
November 2015: Division of Powers Workshop
Conflict Dynamics organized a workshop for the Ministries of Interior from the Somali Federal Government and the Federal Member States. Also in attendance were representatives from Hiraan, Middle Shebelle, Banadir, the Office of the President, Office of the Prime Minister, and Office of the Speaker. Case studies were presented on the themes of Security/Policing and Service Delivery (Education and Health). The workshop on division of powers was designed to support Somali leaders in deciding how to achieve inclusion and accommodation as they allocate powers and responsibilities between the federal government and federal member states. The workshop shared technical knowledge and experience from around the world on how powers and responsibilities have been divided in federal states.
October 2015: Division of Powers Workshop
Conflict Dynamics helped convene for the first time Ministers of Constitutional Affairs from the federal and state governments in Mogadishu. Also present in the workshop were members of the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission (ICRIC) and the parliamentary oversight committee. Conflict Dynamics provided an introduction to political accommodation and the concept of federalism with an emphasis on designing mechanisms relevant to the Somali context. The workshop focused on how the federal government, federal member states, parliament, and the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission can work together to address pressing questions.